On its release in 2006, the Volkswagen Fox represented an attempt to develop a cheap city car to add diversity to the manufacturer's top heavy range. Although Volkswagen already had the Lupo and stable mates SEAT had the Arosa, it was felt that there was a gap in the market for an ultra-affordable urban driver. With the Lupo, Volkswagen had really pulled out the stops and this 'no expense spared' approach yielded a popular car. However, the Lupo was a little too expensive for its place on the market; developing the Fox would see Volkswagen change tactics completely, creating a cheap car whilst maintaining the famous VW build quality and refinements. They chose to source cheaper manufacturing, locating assembly in Brazilian factories, which even when shipped to European forecourts made the Fox a very cheap car.
By the time outlets took delivery of the Fox, The Lupo and the SEAT Arosa
had ceased production leaving the Fox as Volkswagen's default city-car. Unfortunately, on release, sales of the Fox were hampered by the Citroën/Toyota/Peugeot collaboration which had produced the C1
range and spawned a direct competitor to the Fox. Sales were slow, even after Volkswagen began to offer massive savings via special deals to motorists. All this was very bad news for VW, but excellent news for used car buyers.
Bang for your buck
As the result of a money saving exercise for Volkswagen, the Fox is never going to offer the same kind of luxury that the Lupo offered. It does not even compare well to its rivals the C1 or Aygo! However, it does do what a budget Volkswagen should, which is offer versatility, solid build quality and bags of space. This is achieved with a clever range of appointments including an innovative convertible seating arrangement. Almost MPV in style, the seats fold 50/50 and slide back and forward to create either extended legroom or enlarge the luggage space.
All models come with a full range of safety features including twin airbags, four spoke steering wheel and basic yet functional instruments which are housed in a rudimentary centre console. However, there are two options to choose between in trim level. The 'urban' option adds a few more creature comforts to the basic model including; electric windows, colour coded bumpers and remote central locking.
What you'll pay
The used VW Fox was already a cheap car before its dismal performance on the forecourt. The upshot is that depreciation is taking chunks out of its value; great news if you're in the market for one. A 2006 1.2 litre fox will cost less than £5000 and offers cheap group 1 insurance. Even a more recent 1.4 litre model can be bought for little over £6000 and attracts good value group 2 insurance.
What to check
The Volkswagen Fox for sale is a stripped back economy conscious car and as such is so basic that there is very little to go wrong. However, as it is a city car and will have done lots of stop start driving, early models should be checked for clutch problems.
Parts for the Fox are easy to find and equally reasonable. A clutch kit can be found for £110, a set of brake pads are around £35 a pair, A new radiator is £90. Service intervals are every 10,000 miles, but with simple engine configurations and a streamlined construction servicing is relatively simple and therefore cheap.
How it drives
Drivers can choose from three different engines. The petrol range begins with a1.2 litre engine that offers 55bhp, which may sound small but on such a compact car has enough power to cope with motorway driving and will easily cruise at 70-80mph. In addition, it offers excellent fuel efficiency averaging more than 46mpg combined with low carbon emissions of just 246g/kg allowing you to take advantage of cheap running costs and cut price road tax. At the top end of the range the 1.4 litre petrol unit outputs 74bhp, can hit 60mph in 12 seconds, offers a top speed of 100mph and yet still manages excellent fuel economy averaging 42mpg.
The Volkswagen Fox offers the famous build quality of the Volkswagen mark at ultra-low cost. It may be a plain car, but its economy is its strength. It will cope with anything that the city has to challenge it with and much more, accomplishing all this at the same time as providing excellent fuel efficiency and cheap road tax.