Matthew Jones22 August 2011

2012 Volkswagen Up revealed

Small, frugal, cool looking – is this the Beetle’s spiritual successor?

You'd be forgiven for assuming that the both the new Beetle and the new new Beetle descend from the original, err, Beetle. But let's face, their kettle of fish is a very different one. They are fashion-conscious styling exercises. They are resolutely not tiny, cheap people's cars.

But the new Up, which was unveiled today four years after the concept landed, could be (though it's officially called the up! [sic], but we won't tolerate such grammatical trespasses). Built to replace the Fox, it is small (3540mm long and 1640mm wide), it is cheap (around £8000) and it is pleasant to look at (the styling's not changed massively from the concept we saw back in 2007).

See more pics of the VW Up here


So, is it rear engine'd/rear drive like the Bug? No. But rumblings around Wolfsburg suggested it was tantalizingly close to being so - the Germans decided that all-new architecture was too pricey so settled on trad front-engine/drive underwear. 

You'll get to choose between two three-pot engines at launch, which make 59bhp or 74bhp, and there's an electric e-Up coming in 2013. Both the petrols are very very clean, though - in BlueMotion flavour with stop-start tech they'll return 67mpg and emit less than 100g/km of CO2.

Despite the absence of an engine mounted in its derriere, the Up looks like it'll be pretty dynamic. There's chuff-all body overhang and each wheel sits right out in each corner.

The packaging also means it gets more boot space than the 107/Aygo/C1-shaped competition. 951 litres with the back seats folded down, to be precise.

Vee Dub's also tipping an inordinate amount of kit into its little three-door (a five-door model's coming later). Even the poverty-spec Take Up gets stuff like stability control, six airbags and power steering as standard. There's also a comfort-focused Move Up and range-topping High Up. Oh, Volkswagen, you punsmiths...

So, is this the new Beetle, internet? And can you think of any better Up puns?

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