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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 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.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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