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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 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.

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