10,000 euro small car: does the VW Up have what it takes to be a new Beetle?

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Does the VW Up have what it takes to be a new Beetle?

It is 3.54 meters short, weighs around 900 kilos and costs around 10,000 euros: VW’s Up small car is intended to inspire people who actually no longer want to own a car.

M.you are tempted to believe that everything you touch in Wolfsburg will turn into gold. Volkswagen has been in a brilliant position for several years, the products are good, they fetch high prices and are selling in ever increasing numbers: currently plus 12.5 percent for the VW brand, plus 14.4 percent for the Group. There is only one problem: The very small cars of the brand are not real Volkswagens, they disappear in the gray middle field of the registration statistics.

The new Up, which comes on the market in December, is said to have been after two failed attempts with the models Lupo (1998 to 2005) and Fox (since 2005) finally also an irresistible offer in the class below the Polo. After all, Volkswagen wants to become the world market leader by 2018. To do this, you have to play a successful role where it will be important in the next few years: with small city cars, which can also be equipped with electric drives in the near future. The current VW Fox, on the other hand, is a kind of ghost car: it has just sold 5248 times in Germany this year and is on par with a Citroën C1.

Success with a smile

If you look at the new Up (the VW officially "up!" writes), but there are some indications that the numbers will get better. On the one hand, the car follows the current VW design line: it is clearly drawn, does not reveal too many lines and does not have decorative elements. Only the radiator grille is interpreted differently than in all other VW models: there is only a narrow gap between the headlights, the up-engine also breathes through a larger air inlet that wraps around the bumper like a mouth. "More than any other model, the Up shows a smile", says VW head of design Klaus Bischoff.

It is interesting that this front design has not been a secret for four years: In September 2007, VW exhibited at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt presented the first study of the Up. Back then with the engine in the rear and rear-wheel drive, which left a lot of freedom in the interior design, but quickly turned out to be too expensive to implement. The design, however, was apparently already determined, and apart from the interior of the headlights and the shape of the rear-view mirror, not much has changed at first glance. Only if you take a closer look will you discover more carefully modeled details such as the slightly detached license plate holder on the front bumper and small tear-off edges on its lower edge. "Our lines always have a reason", designer Bischoff just got the Swiss "Automobilrevue" said. And also: "The really new designs are only just coming."

The Up was conceived as a Beetle 2.0

Everything from the Polo to the Phaeton is therefore – despite a certain uniform look – only an intermediate step towards the future VW design language, and so far the designers have only started on the white paper with the new Beetle . But this car is a solitaire that doesn’t have to be part of the family. Due to its visual reference to the Beetle, it is recognizable as a VW anyway. The Up, on the other hand, is intended as a Beetle 2.0: at 3.54 meters, it is short enough to stand out from the Polo (3.97 meters) and exude something like sublime simplicity. In a modern guise, the Up is supposed to symbolize the sustainability in design typical of VW (some say: boredom) and, like the Beetle once, set off a wave.

Of course, the 21st century is no longer just about mobility. It’s more about making an offer again to those people who turn away from the idea of ​​owning a private car. To do this, the car has to meet three conditions: low price, low consumption, and good image. VW is depressing the price, among other things, by the fact that the car is not built in Germany, but in Bratislava, Slovakia. "Around 10,000 euros" is the information that VW spokespersons are currently eliciting. This means that the Up is by no means the cheapest offer in its class, a Kia Picanto, for example, is available from 8990 euros. The low consumption of the Up is due to its small size and weight. There is talk of around 900 kilograms, which VW has not yet confirmed. In any case, that would only be easy in relation to today’s cars – in the 1980s you got full-size sedans weighing under 1000 kilos.

Better than the competition in terms of consumption

The newly developed three-cylinder of the Up has a cubic capacity of one liter and is initially available in two expansion stages: with 60 and with 75 hp. VW gives the EU standard consumption at 4.2 and 4.3 l / 100 km – not fabulous values, but they are just below those of the direct competition and can be achieved with conventional, i.e. affordable, engine technology. VW, on the other hand, does not have an even more economical diesel drive in its range, but it is almost certain that it will be delivered later.

The diesel would then be more interesting for further expansion stages of the Up – VW does not see the car as a one-off, but as the central star of the so-called New Small Family. In addition to the three-door, which already offers space for four people and has a trunk of 251 to 951 liters, a slightly more spacious five-door variant is planned, and a small van is also to come. This concept, combined with up-offsets of the group brands Seat and Skoda , This is what distinguishes VW from the competition. Nevertheless, the success of the Basis-Up is not a sure-fire success: From the Ford Ka to the Toyota Aygo, there is a very large range of very small cars.

High tech for orientation

But VW seems to have a head start when it comes to focusing on the urban lifestyle of the present and the near future. The Up not only looks really cool, it can also be customized in a very interesting way (at an additional cost). So there is the idea of ​​the Up-Boxes: If necessary, a small box can be ordered that has a permanent place in the car and contains important things. Who about the "Kid box" orders can, according to VW "those thousand little things" Do the math without which small children cannot be in the car: A cuddly toy and a box for sweets are definitely included. For other interests they are "City Box" and the "Travel box" on offer.

Most important, however, is the system "Maps + More" with which VW offers something to people whose everyday life is no longer conceivable without electronic devices. Together with the Navigon company, VW has developed a removable screen that can be attached to the dashboard and which can then be used to control the navigation, telephone and music system – at the touch of a finger on the display, as is the case with iPhones and other cell phones. According to VW, the screen merges with the car’s electronics network, and it is therefore also possible to display the information from the parking sensor here. With apps specially developed for the Up, the driver should be able to further customize the operation and equipment of his car.

A financing model is also offered

Anyone who uses all of this and possibly also orders the environmentally friendly natural gas drive (68 hp, not before 2012) or the emergency braking function (active up to 30 km / h) will certainly move away from the idea of ​​buying a particularly inexpensive car with the Up. But this is no different with the future BMW i3 with its carbon body: The German manufacturers do not want to be primarily perceived as low-cost providers, even with small city cars. In order to keep the Up affordable, VW has come up with a new financing model. "Auto-Credit²" especially target novice drivers and second car owners and be very flexible. Details are not to be announced until the IAA in mid-September

And yes: The Up also comes with an electric motor. The E-Up was presented as a concept car in 2009, and the production model has now been announced for 2013. This means that VW will by no means be the first manufacturer to have an electrically powered small car. But maybe in two years we will be able to offer the E-Up a little cheaper than Mitsubishi does today with the i-MiEV. The car costs just under 35,000 euros and sells rather measured. And VW no longer wanted to offer small cars that were difficult to sell.

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