At just over 11 feet long, the Up is the smallest car that Volkswagen produces. It's part of a trio of city cars in the group along with the Skoda Citigo and the Seat Mii.

For a brand better known for substantial and refined cars, creating a small, light city car could have been a challenge. But on first impressions it's made an excellent attempt.

Inside, the Volkswagen Up is pretty much what you'd expect from a city car: it's a simple design that's intended to maximise space and room, but it's well made and from decent materials. If you avoid the entry level TakeUp model, the cars are well equipped with air conditioning, a portable sat-nav and electric front windows.

You might not expect much from a city car when it comes to driving manners, but the Up will surprise you: It's excellent around tight city streets but the Up makes good sense out on the open road too. But then it should; with the wheels out far into the corners and no overhangs it's like an old-school hot hatch. The ride is good most of the time, but as it's a small, light car with very small wheels, you'll want to avoid big potholes. We'd also avoid the automatic ASG gearbox unless you have to have one – it's extremely sluggish and off-putting. 

The tiny size of the Up might worry you, but there's enough space for four adults. A 251 litre boot is a decent size, but the big lip between the boot floor and the seatbacks makes it a less practical space.

The Up is a return to Volkswagen's routes; it's an affordable small car with low running costs and enough room for most purposes. It's obviously very much at home in the city, but it'll fit in pretty much anywhere.

The Up's biggest problem is its sister cars, which are broadly the same but cheaper to buy. The Up is likely to retain its value better though, so it may all boil down to which car you prefer the look of.