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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Logistical luck means I can spend New Years at my folks and drop the 190 into the family run garage local to them for its annual service (oil/oil filter, air filter). But, because I have left it to the last minute, the garage is busy with pre-booked work and can only do it 'sometime this week'. Given the family are my parents' neighbours and I'm in no rush to get the car back, I make my dad 190 Service Project Manager, while my mum lets me borrow her rarely-used VW Up for the week.

Saturday:
It’s a vile night. The rain has not stopped, nor has the ferocity of the wind, and whatever moon variety is out tonight is concealed by thick clouds. This is either a very good night to get to know a car, or a very bad one. Best to accept the latter. I’ve got to do 55 miles across dual carriage way, A-road, B-road, back road and Surrey’s seemingly war-torn roads, most of which will be unlit. I’ve also got a headache which, of course, has nothing to do with over indulging over the New Year. And I’ve got an Up city car to take me home. Great. Mum’s not kidding when she says ‘take it, I never use it’; since she bought it new in May 2015, it’s done 600 miles. Given its mileage, I wonder whether she’d have been better off investing in some good walking boots, instead.

I don’t do anything with the Up rather than drive. I just want to get home. The headlights are OK (a bulb upgrade may make them better) and the steering is precise and the car is very stable on the m-way. The ride is OK for a tidler. But while the engine is quiet, there’s a lot of noise. You can hear a fair amount of tyre slosh through the rain, a lot of tyre noise and more noise in the cabin. It’s not engine noise; maybe the Up’s not that well insulated from noises outside. Maybe, in 1982 with the new Vauxhall Nova, this level of noise (or quietness?) was considered acceptable and set a new standard for refinement. That was then. It’s not that impressive now. But while the Up wasn’t out of its depth on the murderous drive home, when I got home, my headache was even worse.

Sunday:
My head hurts. Leave me alone :biglaugh:

Monday:
The engine is quite sweet and quiet. It makes a cheeky grrrr noise when accelerating hard and has a fair amount of shove to it at lower speeds. Speed caught me out a few times; I’d look down at the speedo to see the Up was bombing along a good 10-15mph faster than I thought it was going. Often you can use engine noise and other noises as an indicator of speed. But I got it wrong almost every time with the Up. Either this is a quick little car, or the speedo is lying. As if VW would lie. :teacher:

Tuesday:
The Up is an automatic. Except it isn’t. It’s a manual that changes gear for you automatically. It is a bit eerie at first. It’s not shifting like a ‘proper’ auto, but shifting like a manual all by itself. You could, if you were both bored and a big weirdo with no friends, make pretend gear changes with your left hand in harmony with the car going up and down the ‘box. But your time would be better spent working with the ‘box - backing off the throttle a little as it makes its change, then gently applying it again once it’s changed. It seems to change much smoother that way. In the end I settle for acting like a big weirdo, instead. No point changing the habits of a lifetime. :thumbup:

Wednesday:
This is such a ‘Mum’ car. The Up is covered in ice this morning and my ice-scraper is in... the Taxi. In the quest to find a substitute, a dig around the Up uncovers my mum’s driving priorities; there are two sunglasses cases, a pen cap, a dog lead and a receipt from Holland & Barrett. All of which are useful in their own way, but not for the task of scraping off ice. Looking for the least-used piece of plastic in my wallet, I muttered an apology to my Waterstones Loyalty card and got scraping. Meanwhile, the heater is doing an admirable job of demisting a pretty large windscreen. Made a note to buy mum an ice-scraper in case I need to use her car again.

Thursday:
It’s been years since I used my car as a mobile boom box (just as well given my taste in music has deteriorated). The Up’s radio volume is, as usual, set to mellow. And here’s a thing. Even on mellow, you can feel the Up’s door panels zing and tizz along with the radio; maybe they’re just chuckling along to the DJ's jokes. Or maybe they’re just a bit *cough* cheap.

Friday:
Stuck in horrible traffic, I think about what I’ve missed about the Taxi this week. Given that the Up is much better suited to my daily pottering about locally from one village to the next than the Merc is, the only thing I’ve missed has been the Merc’s centre arm-rest. This makes me chuckle for a bit until a far more serious realisation slowly sinks in. If the only thing I’ve missed day to day is the 190’s sodding arm rest, then I’ve been driving the wrong car for the last four years.

Saturday:
The car’s going home today. It had 3/4s of a tank when I collected it. Initially, the fuel gauge barely moved. I wondered whether it was calibrated, like all the VWs I’ve had, to be one of those that take ages to get to half a tank, then, once there, sinks faster than an Alfa dealer’s motivation when he learns that the Giulia’s been delayed again. You can guess which it is. When I get back to my parents’ after a 1.5hr drive, it’s showing less than half full. At the petrol station around the corner from my folks, it costs me £27 to fill it from less than half a tank to full. I’m happy with that. Even the flowers I picked up for my mum as a Thank You for borrowing her car look happy with that.

Would I buy an Up? I remember how much my Mum paid for it because when she told me, the squealing noise I made was the thing memories are made of. If I wanted an Up - and for my daily commute, it confirmed what I knew already, that I do indeed need a supermini - then, assuming the kit level were similar, I would be much more inclined to look at its cheaper Skoda or Seat cousins, instead. I don’t know why you would want to pay a premium for this version of the Up. But I wouldn’t look at an Up, first. It is, on most levels, a very, very competent city car. But - and this isn’t a criticism, but a general observation - it lacks that sort of sparky, pesky fizz and charm that makes small cars good fun. It’s a tad too sterile (which for many people down-sizing won’t be a problem, but an asset - and I get that, too). Instead, I’d be interested to see how the Renault Twingo compares.

And the post service Taxi? I maintain that no matter how much cooler, better, faster or newer other cars are, no car is ever better than your own car :thumbup:
 

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Mercedes Benz 190E
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Discussion Starter #3
:) that made me chuckle, boss :)
 

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We have the Seat Mii, the same car essentially.

It's very rare I drive it but it is a zippy little bugger, and gets up a fair bit of speed.

I agree with you about the noisey cabin, I would guess a few quids worth of noise cancelling foam in strategic places would cure that.

I like it because it's a hatchback and can get bigger stuff in the Mii than I can get in my Lexus.

We first saw the Skoda version in Spain a few years ago which the wife loved, but when home the Seat won the day due to the extras that came with our model.

It's a town car and does its job admirably.:thumbup:
 

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Good review G, thanks. Engaging and as considered as ever. :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
cheers gang :) I don't often get to drive moderns, but I think for a city car, the Up made a pretty good fist for itself in vile weather conditions along arduous roads on a rotten journey that took it well out of its citi-car comfort zone.

Respect for to it for that.
 

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Nice write up .
Did you sense the hand of Italian design in the Up!?
Exclusive: interview with Flavio Manzoni - Car Body Design
You can certainly realise that some of the designers were drivers/designers of the Lancia Y10 for example. The interior design theme of the concept owed a lot to the Lancia and Manzoni ,who is now boss of Ferrari Design would certainly be pretty familiar with Lancia having worked there.
 

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Had a Twingo as a hire car in Tenerife in December....but it was the older version, with around 100K on the clock, not the new rear engined one. It was competent, nippy enough if a bit gutless on the climbs into the mountains (2-up) - I surmise it might struggle with four aboard.

Just checked and it averaged around 46 mpg - collected it half-full, and returned it probably slightly more full, so 46 might be a little pessimistic.

Not unduly noisy, and hummed along on the autopista, tho needed to drop to 4th on the long uphills to maintain the 120kph limit.

I could live with it, tho......but my 150K mile 147 JTDm felt very pokey when I got home....;) Rattled a lot from the suspension as compensation ;)
 
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