Steve Cropley
23 January 2013

What is it?

This is a two-pedal UP. On the face of it, the VW Up’s five-speed automated manual gearbox – labelled ASG, the German initials for ‘single-clutch automatic’ – seems a very enticing choice for the acclaimed city car.

According to VW, it improves combined fuel mileage of the 74bhp model by better than four per cent and shaves three per cent off the already low CO2 output, while damaging neither acceleration nor top speed. It carries a reasonable-sounding premium of £595.

What is it like?

Sadly, the figures don’t tell the story. Although the ASG ’box is just about tolerable for the kind of driver who will only ever drive the Up very slowly and avoids the worst excesses of a ‘nodding dog’ gearchange action, it simply is not a sensible choice for anyone who wants to take advantage of the Up’s main dynamic assets – its excellent engine, chassis and steering.

Upchanges are tolerable if your acceleration is steady, but as speed declines, the car hardly ever changes down as you would like and thus isn’t in the right gear for accelerating from the next bend.

After an hour in the ASG, I was seriously contemplating parting with £595 just to have the conventional manual gearbox back.

Should I buy one?

You can reduce the problems by selecting manual mode and moving the light, short-throw lever between gears yourself, without any need to dip a clutch, but this facility is not worth paying extra for.

So unless there’s a physical reason why you need a car with no clutch pedal, stick to the conventional manual and put £595 towards your next holiday.

Volkswagen Up 1.0 ASG

Price £9,795; 0-62mph 13.2sec; Top speed 106mph; Economy 64.2mpg (combined); CO2 105g/km; Kerb weight 960kg; Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, petrol; Power 74bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 66lb ft at 3000rpm; Gearbox 5-spd automated manual

Join the debate

Comments
59

Sorry but

1 year 36 weeks ago

as a disabled driver who needs an Auto box, I find this a very negative review indeed.

owenmahamilton wrote:as a

1 year 36 weeks ago

owenmahamilton wrote:

as a disabled driver who needs an Auto box, I find this a very negative review indeed.

Yes, it is a negative review - but for a reason.  The review is not negative because it is an auto but more for the poor installation of the equipment.

Personally, this review just pours cold water on Steve Sutcliffes recent blog about auto's being the future of driving.  It shows that certain vehicles are just better in manual and the so called gods of automatic transmissions (VAG group) do still get it wrong.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

owenmahamilton wrote: as a

1 year 36 weeks ago

owenmahamilton wrote:

as a disabled driver who needs an Auto box, I find this a very negative review indeed.

It is a negative review, because it is a poorly implemented solution, and there are lots of better options out there.  That, surely, is the point of reviews, to help you realise what is good and what is bad.

Having said that, I drove a Smart Roadster for a year or so, that too had a diabolical autobox, universally panned, but I loved the car and learnt to work with the box, in the end it didn't really bother me.

A VW Up is unlikely to be bought for it's handling and sportiness, and as such I reckon despite Steve's comments it will sell well.  Hopefully there will be a sporty one soon...

owenmahamilton wrote: as a

1 year 36 weeks ago

owenmahamilton wrote:

as a disabled driver who needs an Auto box, I find this a very negative review indeed.

 

"So unless there’s a physical reason why you need a car with no clutch pedal, stick to the conventional manual and put £595 towards your next holiday"

 

Dont see the problem???

owenmahamilton wrote:as a

1 year 36 weeks ago

double post

ASG

1 year 36 weeks ago

I think you'll find that ASG stands for  "Automatikshaltgetriebe" (automatically shifting gearbox) and not "Single Clutch Gearbox." 

"Single Clutch Gearbox" would be EKG (Einzelkupplunggetriebe)

Anyway, ASG or EKG it sounds prestty dreadful. I have never driven an automated manual that I liked - the Citroën one came the closet to being OK.

...the band was playing Dixie: double-four time...

Also being disabled and

1 year 36 weeks ago

Also being disabled and requiring an auto, I hate these types of boxes. My wife had an old easytronic Corsa and I really can't describe how much i hated it

benjamino wrote:   Having

1 year 36 weeks ago

benjamino wrote:

 

Having said that, I drove a Smart Roadster for a year or so, that too had a diabolical autobox, universally panned, but I loved the car and learnt to work with the box, in the end it didn't really bother me.

I'm on my 8th Smart (3 roadsters and 5 fortwos) and it is certainly an aquired taste. I personally love them, but that is because I am used to driving cars with them, and I know how to get the best from the gearbox. In my current smart (CDi) the gearbox is much smoother than the roadster's, and it suits the power delivery of the car, especially compared to the petrol version (I've had that too)

I suspect it will be the same with this car. Probably much more enjoyable once you have got your head around how the gearbox works, and allow you to get the most from the car. I'd probably get the manual though, despite all of the above.

-----

10 years of Smart ownership over, sensible car mode activated

Why no DSG?

1 year 36 weeks ago

Why do manufacturers persist with these horrible gearboxes?   I would much rather pay another £500-£600 for the vehicle and have a proper Automatic / DSG gearbox.  Is there some technical reason why VW cannot install a DSG gearbox other than cost?

The sad truth is this would

1 year 36 weeks ago

The sad truth is this would be much better with a torque converter auto, or even a DSG, but that cost a lot more than automating the clutch, even if they work much better. And the traditional auto usually makes a hash or the EU test unless its got 6 or more gears. The cheap ones usually fitted to cheap cars tend to only have 4.

Its particularly harsh on those who have to drive auto as all the decent small cars no longer come with decent autos. Is that progress?

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Our Verdict

The Volkswagen Up city car isn't revolutionary, it's just quantifiably better than the opposition

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