Volkswagen’s Up! city car has been around as a concept since 2007 and has already spawned several related concepts, including the amusingly named E Up! electric version.
Much has changed since that initial concept, not least the shift from a rear-engined design to a more conventional front-engined layout. However, the overall look and tiny dimensions remain true to the original vision for a minimalist, affordable and green compact VW for city drivers on a budget.
Want to read reviews of more city cars? Read our supermini reviews now to see what the VW Up! will be up against.
VW Up!: 59bhp and 74bhp 1.0-litre petrol engines
Just 3.5m long, the production Up! is a few centimetres bigger than the original concept but still commendably small and based on an all-new platform that will underpin a wave of new compact VWs, Seats and Skodas.
At its core is a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. Two power levels – 59bhp and 74bhp – will be offered in eco-friendly BlueMotion form with stop-start, VW is boasting of 67mpg and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions. As such, the Up! is geared up to be wallet- as well as eco-friendly as more and more cities adopt CO2-based parking and other charges.
VW Up!: Three trim levels
VW is even having a bit of fun with the trim levels, naming them take Up!, move Up! and high Up! according to the equipment levels and price. One neat feature is the ‘maps + more’ removable satellite navigation, phone and infotainment module that sits in a dock in the dashboard, combining all the features modern drivers require in an affordable yet still totally integrated system.
And, perhaps anticipating the fear some have of safety levels in small cars, VW has also confirmed a City Emergency Braking system similar in function to those found in Volvos and other premium models. Automatic braking helps mitigate or even avoid collisions and gives the Up! an additional ‘digital crumple zone’ to offset the perceived lack of protection its small size brings.
The VW Up! debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
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