Small But Spacious
Apparently, at Volkswagen Communications, staff managed to cram 15 women and one man into the new Volkswagen UP! Quite why they would want to do that – although I expect the chap may have enjoyed it – is not clear. I mean, can you imagine the noise? However, it does show that manufacturers are taking the design of modern cars seriously, given the general state of the planet. The UP! (I’m not responsible for the exclamation mark – it’s their idea) is Volkswagen’s answer to the growing demand for stylish city cars that are compact on the outside yet roomy on the inside. Small does not mean that these cars are poorly featured. In the case of the UP! for example you can specify air-con, electric windows and the usual toys, making this a serious contender in the supermini sector.
The choice of small cars has never been greater. All strive to provide economy by meagrely sipping fuel whilst keeping emissions to very low levels. So much so that some models will actually not incur any road tax or, where appropriate, congestion charges. Just the other day I had the opportunity to drive a Hyundai i10 and, coming from a much bigger car, I was mightily impressed. Around town the peppy little 1.2 litre engine easily kept pace with traffic thanks to a crisp five speed gearshift and it didn’t let itself down on an A road either, maintaining 70mph without problem. The seat are comfortable and there’s room for four adults. OK, it’s fair to say that the rear seats are a bit compromised for space but on short trips it would not be a problem given that these cars are not designed for long distance travel. In any event, it is remarkable how so much space has been created in a car barely 12ft long. Reviewers of the UP! are saying much the same thing.
This is all good news for the motorist as more and more of these mini-marvels come on stream. Chevrolet has the Aveo and the Spark, Vauxhall offers the Agila and so on. In fact, on a quick count, I reckon you have a choice of some 50 small cars to choose from. This must, of course, include the slightly larger superminis, such as Audi’s excellent A1, the Skoda Fabia and Ford’s Fiesta, as examples. If you’re feeling flush you might even like to go for Aston Martin’s £31k Cygnet! Or you could always just buy the Toyota iQ on which it’s based and save a fortune.
Manufacturers understand their customers. They have seen that many people are concerned about global warming and attendant issues and have acted to meet the demand for cleaner motoring. To be fair they have had to occasionally be poked with a big stick by the EU but the result is an outcome we can all live with. The small green car sits comfortably alongside the larger but increasingly more efficient big saloons and sports cars to everyone’s benefit.
So functional, economic and right on trend, these baby cars offer considerably more than you would give them credit for; but room for a pony? Whatever gave you that idea?