The cabin is not adventurous but with Volkswagen’s seemingly effortless amalgamation of premium finish and ergonomic accuracy firmly front and centre, it hardly needs to be. Some of the switchgear layout feels like it might have originated in the latest VW Beetle – especially set against the reflective background afforded by the glossy surround of the top-spec High Up – but, if anything, the effect feels neater and better reconciled to a scaled-down city car size.

The same goes for the sat-nav (standard on top-spec models), which is supplied as a third-party Maps & More portable device. The Volkswagen Group has perched such items in the centre of dashboards before, but rarely with such harmonious success. 

Nic Cackett

Road tester
There’s no driver’s side control for the passenger’s window. Couldn’t VW have found a better way of economising?

The net result (at the expensive end of the line-up) is an upscale interior ambience that sets many of its rivals’ inferior offerings in stark contrast. Its conscious simplicity can’t compete with the aesthetic flair of the Fiat 500, but for prospective buyers sampling Korean and Japanese opposition it will feel like a cut above. 

Most will not feel short-changed by the car’s spaciousness. There is more legroom than one would guess at when presented with the car’s physical dimensions (it’s marginally shorter than the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto). Taller occupants might struggle in the back, but two average-sized adults can be accommodated well enough for a short sprint across town. There’s even space for a smattering of luggage; the petite but surprisingly deep boot has a class-leading 251-litre capacity.

Top 5 City cars

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

    Volkswagen Up

  • Hyundai i10
    The Hyundai i10 is offered with either a 1.0-litre petrol engine or a 1.2-litre petrol engine

    Hyundai i10

  • The Celerio is an all-new city car from Suzuki

    Suzuki Celerio

  • Panda’s 4 star EuroNCAP crash score falls short of some rivals

    Fiat Panda

  • Vauxhall Viva 1.0 SE is priced from £7995

    Vauxhall Viva


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