The Volkswagen Fox was, at least for us here in Blighty, never the success it really deserved to be, despite being Lauded by Top Gear as being a good car to play football with, as you can see at the top of this page. Who could have known that a car’s footballing prowess would fail to translate to sales?
The Fox was penned and built by Volkswagen Brazil, and as such, they got it in 2003, some three years before we did. But even with the delay, Volkswagen was confident we would buy it. After all, we loved the cheeky little Lupo, so why would we not like the Fox?
Well, here’s the thing. The Fox wasn’t cheeky. In fact, it really did take the injection of vehicular football to give the small ‘dub any character at all. The Lupo had a giddy cheek to it, it was feisty and fun. The Fox, not so much. Make no mistake, it was a good car. And had the Lupo never existed, we may have liked it a little bit more, but the Lupo did exist, so we didn’t.
Then you’ve got the likes of the Fiat Panda, the Renault Twingo and others. They were all small, and in being so, their respective manufacturers made them fun. Why? Because small cars have to be fun. That’s just the law. Trust us. Do you think the Mini would have sold millions if it was as exciting as listening to your mum tell you about her sale bargains from Dorothy Perkins? No.
So if it’s a wheeled history teacher in terms of thrills, why are we touting it here? Well, quite simply because it fits the Not 2 Grand ethos perfectly. Ever since we started out we have been saying that you don’t need to go out and buy a car on finance in order to have something modern, well equipped and safe. The Fox is all of those things. Plus, while it’s not the life and soul of the automotive party, it is a good car. And this is where people get mixed up. Good and fun are not the same thing. Some nice underpants are good, but they are not fun.
The Fox was engineered by Volkswagen, and despite being done so to a costing, the resulting car was still great. Okay, so in terms of build and fit, it didn’t compare to a Golf or a Passat, but against a Peugeot or Fiat of the same age, it was leaps and bounds ahead. And because it was built by VW, it was built well, so it’s aged well and without its wheels falling off. When you’re buying on a budget, that’s a very good thing.
On the road, the Fox wasn’t a dazzling drive, but then it was built to take on cities. And it did that very well indeed. The speed-sensitive power steering made things light, the sharp gear-change offered a bit of precision and the suspension could soak up all the bumps without making your teeth fall out.
Power-wise, we got two engines, both petrol. There was a 55bhp 1.2 and a 75bhp 1.4. Honestly, the former is the one you want to go for. Okay, it’s a bit rubbish on the motorway, but this is a tiny car, not a lane three bruiser. Plus, the 1.2 gets around 45mpg, which is nice. And it’s cheap to tax. It’s not fast, mind. 0-60 comes in at a glacial 17.5s. You can walk faster. But if you walk in a road you’ll get knocked over, so use a Fox instead.
It was also wonderfully practical, too. Rather than try and squish three seats into the back, VW decided two would be enough. As such, you can get two actual adult human beings in there. And if you buy an Urban model they can slide the rear bench backwards to get a bit more room.
If you don’t want adults in the back, you can put lots of other things in there. The rear seats fold 50/50 and when they’re both down you can get a cubic meter of crap in there. Handy if, like our Mrs, you like buying crap.
For you, the driver, the front seats were designed to be very comfortable indeed. You get a height and reach adjustable steering wheel, which is unusual for a car of this size, but means you can get comfy no matter your dimensions. You get cupholders, a CD player, and if you got for Urban trim you get electric windows and remote central locking.
The Fox is also safe, too. EuroNCAP fired one at a wall and gave its mangled face four out of five stars as a thank you. You get front driver and passenger airbags, ABS, traction control on some Urban models and Isofix points for your small people.
And here’s the best bit: your £2,000 will get you a low mileage, 2010 1.2 Fox Urban. That’s an eight year-old car, from Volkswagen, for two grand. Not got two grand? Older models can be had for as little as £700. And that’s good. Not fun, but good.