The Volkswagen up! began production for the 2011 model year and is a relative unknown in North America. This micro super-euro car has been fairly successful on this continent as an affordable and very trendy way to get around tight and crowded European cities.
For this year’s edition of the Geneva show, VW introduces a revised and updated up!. One of the key elements to cars sold in Europe is choice, as in the ability to select a powertrain among four or even five. In the up!’s case, a variety of 3-cylinder engines are available including a newly added 90hp version. The others include 59hp, 74hp and 101hp iterations of the 1.0L 3-pot, with or without turbocharging. Also on the menu are natural gas and electric options.
The e-up! features an 82hp electric motor that, along with its battery, will endow the car with a 160 km range. An 80% charge can be achieved in 30 minutes at a quick-charge charging point.
A number of new lines will be making an appearance including an insanely cool cross up! version à la cross-polo or even Sportwagen Alltrack. Other new elements for the up! are exterior colors, decals, and revised interior trim.
On the topic of cabin, seat fabric and interior trims are updated as well. New technologies include smartphone integration, which allows access to navigation and music and vehicle data when used with the Volkswagen app.
Volkswagen is including for the first time an "up! beats", prepared by US audio specialists BeatsAudio. This little car is packed with a 300-watt sound system and an 8-channel amplifier with a digital signal processor (DSP). The Dr. Dre inspired audio system has seven high-end speakers throughout the cabin. The up! beats can be recognized thanks to its new 15” “Radial” alloy wheels, “beats” design decals and contrasting colour mirror caps. The interior also gets some other unique tidbits including dashpad, multifunction steering wheel, a special doorsill plate and colour-coordinated seat belts.
Looking up! and ahead
Now, although Volkswagen Canada says there are no plans to bring the up! to North America or Canada, I think that a limited offering of up! for specific target markets could be a good idea. Remember, Volkswagen has been “asked” to build electric cars by the EPA in order to make up for #dieselgate and I’m wondering if the EV version might not help VW’s image.
From a purely business standpoint, this would make sense. Sure, they’ll sell very little (I spotted a gallon of gas at $1,24 in San Antonio, TX recently) this would probably help get the EPA of VW’s back so that they can get back to selling other cars, once the TDI fix has been implemented.