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Volkswagen Fox hatchback (2006 – 2011) expert review

By Alex Eckford, 19th August 2006

The verdict

The Volkswagen Fox is a direct competitor of the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 in the battle for the city streets. It’s got bags of space, a great ride, and some stylish tricks up its sleeve.

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Expert rating:

3.3

Pros

  • Typical Volkswagen reliability
  • Roomy interior
  • Low running costs

Cons

  • Poor kit levels
  • Lacking character
  • No rear centre seat

Full Review

1. Exterior

Despite our test car’s bright yellow paint, this 3.83 metre-long three-door hathcback doesn’t stand out from its closest rivals; but looks like a neat, nippy city car. Nonetheless, think of it as the Polo’s younger cousin, but without the presence – it has far less character than the Lupo it replaces. The interior is a different matter…
Our rating: 4

2. Interior

Roomy, but stripey. Buyers of this edition of the Fox have the option of a Paul Smith-designed striped upholstery. Looks are deceptive from the outside – the Fox has a surprisingly spacious interior. Crucially for some there is no central rear seat, so think twice before piling five people into it. The fittings have a slightly plasticy feel, but you wouldn’t expect hand-stitched leather upholstery in a car of this price.
Our rating: 3

3. Practicality

The lack of a central rear seat provides space for a small storage area and a couple of cup holders. A worthy trade-off if you’re a couple of drink-carrying passengers, but not if you’re trying to fit a family inside. Overall there’s plenty of space, and the boot is generous for a car of this size.
Our rating: 3

4. Ride and handling

The Fox’s suspension is as comfortable as you’d expect from a VW, and the overall ride feels very secure. Cornering is , OK and the steering is far from heavy, but not so light as to be completely aritificial feeling.
Our rating: 3

5. Performance

The 1.4-litres four cylinder engine generates 74bhp, and will get the Fox from 0 to 60mph in 13 seconds – the emphasis is more on economy than straight line speed. The top speed is 104mph. It can be a fairly loud engine when it’s worked hard.
Our rating: 3

6. Running costs

Volkswagen claim 32.1mpg  for urban driving, and 49.6mpg for extra-urban, so an average of 41.5mpg. In our experience it came in at just under the 40mpg mark (from mostly urban driving). Insurance is very low, and servicing costs should be minimal, making the Fox a cheap car to run.
Our rating: 4

7. Reliability

The Fox’s engine is also used in the Polo, so has an excellent track record. And the lack of extras (which we mean in the nicest possible way) means there’s less to go wrong.
Our rating: 4

8. Safety

Curtain airbags and stability control are nowhere to be seen, but driver and passenger side airbags are standard. Side airbags will cost you extra. The Fox has a four star EuroNCAP crash-test rating, and the rear seats both have ISOFIX child seat mountings.
Our rating: 2

9. Equipment

CD player, electric windows and ABS as standard make this model a cut above its non-Urban counterpart. In addition the Fox boasts remote central-locking, speed-sensitive power-steering and plenty of cup holders.
Our rating: 3

10. Why buy?

The Fox’s main selling point is its spacious interior. No doubt some sales will come from the limited edition interior and styling, but it’s also a great drive, and having a Volkswagen badge won’t harm your image or the car’s resale value.
Our rating: 4

Expert review 3.3stars

  • Exterior4
  • Interior3
  • Practicality3
  • Ride and handling3
  • Performance3
  • Running costs4
  • Reliability4
  • Safety2
  • Equipment3
  • Why buy?4

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:
Fox 1.2
Budget Fox offers low running costs all round.
Best-seller:
Fox 1.2 Urban
Best-selling Fox combines frugality with decent kit.
Blow the budget:
Fox 1.4 Urban
Blow the budget for the extra power and kit.

The Fox’s main selling point is its spacious interior