Watchdog: Volkswagen up! owner down on his luck

Reader contacts us regarding “characteristic” steering fault on the Volkswagen up!

Car makers often refer to unwanted design or driving features as “characteristics”. That’s what reader Chris Evans was told when he contacted Volkswagen regarding a steering fault in his Volkswagen up!, which meant it could pull left or right at low speeds.

Chris’ son Luke was unnerved by the errant steering, which he’d had to correct while navigating a roundabout. “I thought he must have pranged the car and affected the tracking,” Chris explained.

However, he soon discovered similar complaints on owners’ forums, which revealed that base up! models sometimes pull left or right, depending on the direction the wheels were left facing when last parked.

VW confirmed that all Take up! models produced before May 2014 could display the same symptoms, as they don’t have ESC as standard and therefore have no absolute steering angle.

This also applies to entry-level versions of the up!’s SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo sister cars of the same vintage, built in the same factory in Bratislava, Slovakia.

But VW is sticking to its stance that there’s “no fault”. Its spokeswoman explained: “At speeds of less than 18mph the steering angle may be slightly off-centre and will need ‘correcting’ by the driver. This is a characteristic, but it’s apparent only at low speeds so we don’t believe this is a safety issue.”

What should you do if it happens to you?

The DVSA can insist that affected models are recalled and fixed at the maker’s expense if it discovers an inherent fault (or characteristic) affects the car’s safety. So if yours is affected by this problem, log on to www.gov.uk/report-vehicle-safety-defect to report it. The more complaints it receives, the more likely it is to take action.

Most Popular

UK road tax 2022: VED tax rates and bands explained
2021 Road Tax explained
Car tax
20 Jan 2022

UK road tax 2022: VED tax rates and bands explained

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
17 Jan 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

Top 10 best economical 4x4s, SUVs and crossovers 2022
Peugeot 3008 SUV front cornering
Best cars
6 Jan 2022

Top 10 best economical 4x4s, SUVs and crossovers 2022

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
21 Jan 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
19 Jan 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
17 Jan 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
21 Jan 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022