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The improved Volkswagen up! is a presentable citycar with few frills. June Neary assesses its credentials.
Added 8th July, 2016
Ultimately, the B8-series MK8 Passat is, in every sense, a car that knows its market, for five decades the quality choice in the medium range Mondeo segment. It's a model that for many, bridges the gap between the type of company or family car they have to drive - something like a Mondeo, an Insignia or a Peugeot 508 - and the BMW 3 Series-style compact executive saloon they'd really rather have.
Certainly, this eighth generation version kept to much the same script as its predecessors, but in the process, it delivered even more effectively on Volkswagen's promises of greater comfort, lower running costs and a more up-market feel. There are, it's true, more affordable, sharper handling choices in this class. But there are none that leave you with a nicer feeling when you wake up in the morning, pull the curtains and see one of these in your driveway. It's a feeling that's very Volkswagen. And perfectly Passat.
This eighth generation Volkswagen Golf might just be all the car you'll ever need. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
With this revised post-2014 version of the MK6 Jetta model, Volkswagen kept all the practical elements people always liked about this compact saloon, while effectively addressing the aspects that weren't quite so good - things like the downmarket cabin and the lack of the kind of high tech options buyers now expect at this level. The result was a much more competitive product. And for the right kind of buyer, perhaps even quite a tempting one.
After all, for much the same as you'd pay for a used Golf from this era, you get a car that's eight-tenths of what you'd get in the pricier Passat - so great rear seat room, a huge boot and a classy ride are all provided, as are a range of efficient engines. Viewed in this light, you can see why the Americans like it so much. Find a well looked after Jetta from this period and you might too.
It's certainly true that for the asking price, the Scirocco R counts some pretty exotic machinery amongst its rivals. Plus cost-wise, it's quite a step up from the 2.0-litre TSI GT version. Volkswagen, always asserted that this performance coupe was also quite a step up in terms of its driving experience and buyers who set that as their main priority will certainly appreciate what this R can do.
No, it doesn't have quite the kind of track-car feel you'd find in hairier-chested rivals and some of them of course can offer you more power and four wheel drive for this kind of money. Even so, on a challenging road in dry conditions, we'd wager that this car's 265PS or 280PS output will be quite enough to give any sportscar in the world a run for its money. It's fast, it's classy and it feels right. Plus it has the edge over every direct rival in terms of its long term ownership proposition. You can't ask for much more than that.
Overall, it's true that there are certainly trendier choices you could make in this segment. And cars that offer up a more dynamic drive. But if you're a typical Polo person, we reckon you might quickly tire of their charms. At the end of the day, there's much to be said for an extra touch of quality and class. Seek those as your priorities and you'll find the improved MK5 version of this little supermini more than happy to oblige.
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