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Volkswagen Up (2012): first photos of VW's mini

Published: 21 August 2011

Almost four years to the day after we first saw the VW Up concept car, Volkswagen is unveiling the real thing: this is the new VW Up city car, on sale in UK dealers in spring 2012.

Forget the official, trendily informal name 'up!'. I'm afraid CAR's going to overrule the grammatical violations and call it the good old Volkswagen Up.

It certainly looks very similar to the VW Up concept car

Indeed it does. The exterior style of Volkswagen's baby, which replaces the Fox, remains intact. Just this three-door will be launched next spring, probably in time for the new '12' reg in March.

Prices in Germany will start at €8950, pointing to a UK cost around £8000.

A five-door will follow, and the flow of concept cars – such as the Space Up – points to future derivatives. Not for nothing is this new range called the New Small Family; the Up will indeed form the basis of a suite of small Volkswagens for global sale.

Volkswagen Up: in detail

The Up is well packaged: at just 3540mm long and 1640mm wide, it's short, yet this is a full four-seater, thanks to a wheelbase as near as damn it identical to the Polo's, at 2420mm between the axles.

Just look at the minimal overhangs to understand the packaging. And VW engineers are proud of the boot space on board: at 251 litres with the seats up, it's usefully larger than the Aygo/C1/107 competition – and swells to 951 litres with the back seats folded.

So the Up is a rear-engined, rear-drive engineering beaut, right?

Er no. The genesis of the Up has swung like a pendulum. At first, Wolfsburg planned a rear-engined, RWD baby but realised the bespoke architecture was too expensive. Then they looked at using old-school Polo parts, but that was deemed too simple. So the NSF (New Small Family) project then became part of the contemporary MQB package, preferring simple front-mounted engines and front-wheel drive.

That's why Volkswagen will offer a host of goodies on the Up. Even base models gets stability control, six airbags, power steering and more. City braking auto-stop will be an option and a new, more affordable multimedia/sat-nav system will be offered 'for just a few hundred pounds,' according to insiders.

Engines at launch include a brace of three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrols, offering 59bhp or 74bhp. The Continental CNG autogas version won't be offered in right-hand drive, but we will be offered the electric version – the e-Up – coming in 2013.

The basic petrols are damn clean, though. In BlueMotion Technology spec with start-stop, they promise 67mpg and sub 100g/km of CO2.

Uh-oh. Pun alert! Up yours, etc

Yes, Volkswagen is letting its hair down with the Up. Three model trims will be available at launch: the Take Up entry model, the Move Up mid-ranger and the High Up top spec.

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know your Up-related puns. And what you think of VW's new city car

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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