"The Fox is the cheapest car in VW's range. It's great around town, but lacks the quality of the firm's other models."
The Fox is a great city car, with light, accurate steering and a smooth gear change. It's easy to manoeuvre and park, and is compact enough to squeeze through the narrowest gaps in traffic. Just two trim levels are available - the standard car, called simply Fox, and the more luxurious Urban Fox model. Both offer less equipment than rivals like the Citroen C1 and Ford Ka. On the plus side, the Fox is relatively cheap to buy, although the quality of the cabin is below that of other Volkswagens. The VW Fox's main strength is cabin space, particularly headroom, of which there is lots.
The Fox is at its best around town, with accurate steering and a slick gear change complementing supple suspension. It's easy to manoeuvre and park. On city streets, the two petrol engines feel quick, and even the basic 1.2-litre petrol is nippy. The engine is noisy at high speeds, though, and there's a lot of wind noise in the cabin. Despite its tall bodywork, there's very little roll around corners, so the car always feels sure-footed and safe.
The amount of cabin space that Volkswagen has squeezed from the Fox's compact design is surprising. It's roomier than rivals such as the Citroen C1. The rear seats are set low and the roof is high, so there's plenty of space for heads and legs - front and back. However, entry-level cars don’t get front seats that slide forward for easier access to the rear.
The Brazilian-made Fox was introduced in 2006 and hasn’t been subject to any UK recalls to date. Despite the low-cost appearance of the cabin, it feels robustly built and there have been no major buyer complaints. Many of the Fox's parts and electrical components are based on the larger Volkswagen Polo's, and are proving reliable.
Accessing the rear seats is tricky, as the three-door Fox's front chairs get in the way. Split-folding rear seats that slide back and forth are fitted to top models, but you have to pay extra to get them on the entry-level car. The Fox has a relatively big boot though, and the rear bench seat folds down easily. Combined with the hatchback and the Fox's tall, square body, it has good carrying capacity for such a small car. It's not available as a five-door, however, which blunts its appeal.
Value for money
The purchase price of the Fox is on a par with, or cheaper than, other new city cars. However it's sorely lacking in equipment. Even basic features like opening rear windows are either cost options or available only in the more expensive Urban Fox. Air-conditioning costs over £1,000 and safety equipment such as side airbags and traction control cost extra too. It's a well built car, but the Fox is far from luxurious.
Most city cars don’t do mileages that are high enough to justify paying extra for a diesel, so VW doesn’t offer one for the Fox. The 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engines return 46.3mpg and 42.2mpg respectively, and they’re in very low insurance groups, so are cheap to run. Volkswagen also offers a £250, fixed-price servicing package that covers three years/30,000 miles of maintenance.