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Volkswagen Fox 1.2 Urban

Date: 26 August 2006


Volkswagen is trying to be clever with the launch of its new car, the Fox, which replaces the Lupo as its entry level city car.

The German firm is billing the car as a rival to the recently introduced brigade of tiny cars such as the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1, and the Peugeot 107. This also distances the Fox from the next rung up the VW ladder - the Polo.

VW Fox 1.2 Urban spec.gif

However, the second line of VW's spiel for the Fox is that you get a larger car than the outgoing Lupo for less money. What VW is being careful about revealing is how much larger the Fox is.

The Fox is 301mm (a foot for those who don't do metric) longer than the Lupo but just 88mm shorter than a Polo. In fact, the Fox is 10mm wider than a Polo and 77mm higher.

As a result, the Fox is more a rival to smaller superminis and larger city cars such as the Ford Ka, Citroen C2 and even three-door versions of Mitsubishi's Colt.

Inside, the car is surprisingly roomy. The three-door-only Fox is a four seater - missing out on the fifth mid-rear seat - but will happily accommodate four adults. Access to the rear is good, but the front seats miss out on a memory function which means the driver, or front passenger, will have to re-adjust his seat each time a passenger gets in the back. The rear seats slide back and forth to maximise either legroom or boot space, but even on maximum legroom the boot is still a healthy 256 litres. The rear seats can also be individually, and simply, folded and then tilted up to give a maximum load area of more than 1000 litres.

The advantage to fleet managers of VW's positioning of the Fox is that it's priced to compete at the tiny-car level. Prices start at £6590 for the entry level 1.2-litre standard car, and VW has kept engines and trims ultra-simple with only one other trim, dubbed Urban, and one other engine, a 1.4 petrol. This means prices only go as high as £7995 for the Urban spec 1.4 model. VW claims there are no plans to introduce a diesel in the UK, although one is available on the Continent.

Neither petrol engine makes the Fox a rapid car, but both are nippy enough around town. However, the fun but buzzy nature of the 55PS 1.2 means motorway work is best left to the 75PS 1.4.

The area where you can see VW has saved money is in the interior materials. The Fox feels cheap in comparison to the rest of the brand's cars with hard dash plastics which vary in shade of dark-grey from panel to panel. That said, the Fox Urban does include larger-car features such as three-tick indicators, remote central locking, powered windows, CD player and Isofix child seat points. However, aircon remains an option on both trims.

The Fox may not be clever in its own right it, but buying one could show how clever the fleet manager is being.