2012 Volkswagen Up! Unveiling Shows Off Company’s Small-Car Future Today

By Jacob Brown | August 22, 2011
Both taking the small car forward and simultaneously taking it back to the basics, Volkswagen is moving up in the world of subcompacts with the introduction of its new 2012 Volkswagen Up! hatchback. At 11.6 feet long — about a half-foot shorter than a 2011 Mini Cooper — the Up! (yes, the exclamation point is part of the name) may seem compromised. But with a choice of two compact engines that cut into a minimum of the car’s total length, the Up! has almost as much room between the front and rear wheels as the Mini.  Paired to an upright, boxy shape, the Up! is said to be “compact but not cramped” for passengers traveling in the rear seats. For Volkswagen, the Up! was designed to be the ultimate fun, affordable city car, taking price and fuel economy to the extreme. For the Up!, VW is introducing a new line of 1.0-liter three-cylinder gasoline engines. Making either 60 or 75 horsepower depending on the model, it may not sound like a lot, but then again, the Up! isn’t exactly a heavyweight. Paired with the BlueMotion package that includes start-stop technology that shuts off its engine at idle, the Up! is good for 56 mpg. Future models, which include an all-electric version, should achieve even greater fuel economy. Unique to the Up! is the first use of laser-guided braking technology in an entry-level vehicle. Activated automatically at speeds under 19 mph, the system scans for obstacles in front of the car and can automatically activate the brakes to prevent collision. The Up! will also have an available infotainment system that will be able to take customized apps like a smartphone. Trim levels for the car will be Take Up! for the basic level, the Move Up! midlevel model, and the High Up! top model. Black and White editions will also be available, a la the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. Currently, VW has no plans to sell the Up! in the U.S., but the city car will go on sale throughout Europe in December. First, though, it will be sent to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month for its public introduction. Source: Volkswagen