What is it?
The Volkswagen Up is a brilliant city car but until now it’s had some pretty weedy engine options. The 59bhp and 74bhp 1.0-litre variants are economical enough, but take the former out of the city and it's like a fish out of water, being too weak to cope comfortably either with regular motorway drives or B-road overtakes. Even the higher-powered version struggles over hilly terrain. The Up is a fun little car to drive, though, and has been crying out for a more powerful engine, so VW has obliged with the car’s facelift.
With a hot Up GTI in the pipeline, VW has whetted our appetites by introducing a turbocharged 1.0-litre unit, raising its power output to 89bhp and, maybe more significantly, boosting peak torque by 48lb ft to 118lb ft. More power on this lightweight city car means its 0-62mph time is now 9.9sec - more than three whole seconds faster than the 74bhp version.
The engine is available with a manual or automatic transmission, with the car in either three or five-door form and in High Up or Beats trim, and although the powerplant sits at the top of the range, it doesn’t command much of a premium over the 74bhp unit.
We have previously driven it abroad, but here we're in the UK, sampling a five-door High Up fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox to see if this combination can improve on a winning formula.