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VW Up! Concept  (Source: Autoblog Green)

  (Source: Autoblog Green)
Volkswagen's tiny Up! to get a hybrid powertrain

Volkswagen (VW) is no stranger to fuel efficiency in the United States. While the company may currently known for its 200HP GTI pocket rocket and Eos retractable hardtop-chick mobile, the company also has deep roots in diesel motors.

The company is famous for its TDI engines which in recent years have been available in a number of vehicles including the New Beetle, Jetta, Passat and Touareg. TDI engines are currently on hiatus in the United States due to more stringent emissions requirements, but VW will bring to market a new Tier 2 Bin 5 TDI engine for the Jetta next year (and likely also for the Passat, New Beetle and Rabbit).

If VW has its way, consumers may have an alternative method for achieving high fuel economy with its vehicles.

VW is looking to introduce two variants of its recently introduced Up! rear-engined concept car. The tiny Up! measures just 135.8 inches from nose to tail and is only 64.2 inches wide.

The first variant of the Up! would be a small minivan aimed at families who clearly don't need all of the space afforded in today's super-sized minivans from Chrysler, Honda and Toyota. The second variant on tap is a plug-in hybrid model.

The plug-in variant would ditch the concept Up!'s hatchback profile for a more traditional sedan configuration (which is more in tune with American buying tastes). According to Auto News and Autoblog, the plug-in hybrid Up! would achieve close to 100 MPG.

The Up! minivan is scheduled to be unveiled shortly in Tokyo while the Up! plug-in hybrid will bow in Los Angeles.



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RE: Safety...
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/2/2007 2:23:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that sucks for you :-)

I personally love smaller cars. I drive a Mazda 3s Hatchback and have no problems fitting in my car or in the back seat. My GF has a 2004 Civic EX Sedan and I also don't have an issue with it (comfort wise).

I've also driven smaller vehicles like the previous generation Echo and the Mini. Again, I felt entirely comfortable in all. Then again, I'm 5'10" and pretty thin.

I'm of the opinion that you should have just enough vehicle to suit your needs. I bought a hatchback b/c a sedan would never meet my cargo requirements.


RE: Safety...
By clovell on 10/2/2007 2:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
My last car was an ECHO, and I loved it - that thing was so nimble. I'm 6'2". Different strokes.


RE: Safety...
By jskirwin on 10/2/2007 3:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
I sympathize.
I have a soft-spot for the Honda Civic 4 door. It's a great little car with lots of OOMPH when you need it - at least the 5 speed comes with OOMPH standard (dunno about the automatic).

However try owning a home and relying upon a tiny car like this to do anything other than commute. No hauling drywall, a bathtub, studs, plywood, or even more than a bag or two of mulch. Forget shopping if you have kids, because there won't be anyplace to stash the groceries.

People don't buy minivans because they are cool; they buy them because they are useful. Ditto SUVs and pickups. Personally I'd like to have a small car to commute in, a larger sedan to go shopping/traveling in, and a pickup to use to buy stuff at Lowes. However I can't afford to have 4 cars, so I make do with a cute-ute and a slightly bigger SUV.

My carbon footprint? Still smaller than Al Gores.


RE: Safety...
By Ringold on 10/2/2007 3:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
To each their own; I test drove an Civic a couple years ago. Tried merging on to Interstate 4 here in Sanford.

Thank god that particular on-ramp was a little lengthy; I was flooring it and it was still accelerating much slower than I'd of liked. Also good that I was getting right back off without actually merging with traffic -- I did eventually get to 75 (the prevailing speed in the right lane), but only after I'd got past the point where I'd of needed to merge. It'd be a death trap, or at least a huge pain, at some of the shorter on-ramp and merging lanes, like the OBT one in Orlando.

To be fair, it was an automatic, but it was so vastly underpowered I don't know that it'd of made a difference. Also thought it was overpriced, but thats even more subjective.


RE: Safety...
By Spivonious on 10/2/2007 3:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that Lowes/Home Depot/etc usually offer delivery services for a small extra charge. I own a home and get along just fine with my hatchback. I would never even think of trying to haul a bathtub home. And if I fold the seats down I could fit roughly 25 bags of mulch.

And I'm not going to look up the numbers again, but for a previous article I compared cabin space between my Ford Focus ZX3 hatchback and the Ford Escape SUV. I had something like 150 more cubic feet.

People buy minivans because they have lots of kids to truck around. People buy SUVs because they think driving a big hunk of steel makes them better than me. Or maybe those 5'2" power suit-wearing 40-something women in the Suburban is just hiding her kids and drywall in the back. :P

Note: this is not a personal attack; it's an opinion, just like your post was.


RE: Safety...
By weskurtz0081 on 10/2/2007 4:00:54 PM , Rating: 2
When you live more than 1 hour away from Lowes or Homedepot, you do much of your shopping in the local towns and most of those places don't offer delivery for a lot of items.

When you have a lawn to mow, need to move a riding lawn mower, if you ever want to own a boat, or any number of different things. A car just won't cut it.


RE: Safety...
By FITCamaro on 10/2/2007 3:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
Thats fine. I agree with you as well. Buy what you need. I drive a Cobalt. I don't need a truck. But if I could afford a GTO, I'd be driving one of them. ;)

I've sat in a Mini. I wouldn't own one though. I had enough room for myself but beyond that, theres absolutely no room in them.


RE: Safety...
By mindless1 on 10/3/2007 4:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
Another perspective. I'm 5'11", not fat nor thin but built brick-house muscular. I feel constrained in even a Ford Explorer SUV, it is too cramped. I don't meant to be offensive, only an opinion, but a fat person brings along their own padding, needs less in the seating design to feel comfortable.

Honestly, the most comfortable ride I ever had was a '76 oldsmobile with thick padded bench seat. I hate thinner padded bench seats but if the padding is thick enough to contours to your shape, it can be better than a fixed-sized bucket or other contoured individual seating arrangement unless you like taking curves really fast. At that point it is just a matter of training oneself that their abdomen instead of the seat sides is keeping them upright.

On the other hand, total car size doesn't necessarily correspond to driver capsule space. On certain midsize and almost large sized cars like a Ford Taurus or Buick Centry, I find myself backing the seat up as far as it will go. granted, part of the reason is I don't sit slanted backwards like I'm in a recliner, but nevertheless I would never own a car that didn't have that level seat adjustment and as such, find most midsized cars constraining even being only of medium height.

A Civic makes me feel like tuna in a can. Maybe I just travel in cars too much, if my commute were only a few minutes it would matter less.


RE: Safety...
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/3/2007 9:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
Second that about hatchbacks.
It's been more than 10 years since I last had a sedan, and now the sole idea of driving a sedan again seems creepy to me.
95% of the time it's just me and my wife into the car (now I have a 5dr, but I like 3dr versions even better), and we rarely need to carry anything more than 2 bags.
Then again, when I need to carry a big TV or furniture, I find hatchbacks so much more suitable than sedans.
What's a huge boot capacity worthy of if the opening is not big enough to make really big things pass through it? :D

If ever a "1+1" car configuration becomes available, I'm surely going to look at it with a lot of interest :D


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