Volkswagen Space Up concept

Published: 24 October 2007

Up, up, and away…

Yes, the Volkswagen Up is back. The Tokyo Motor Show today saw VW unveil a second iteration of their new small family car – a third model will be shown at the LA Auto Show in November 2007. Called the Space Up!, the rear-engined car is a stretched version of the three-door we saw at the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier in the year. It’s still rear-engined, but now there’s even more space, and Mini Clubman-esque doors.

So what’s new?

The 2560mm wheelbase is now only 18mm shorter than the Audi A3's, thanks in part to the 18-inch wheels being pushed out to each corner. Overall the Space Up is 230mm longer, and 40mm higher than the three-door Up. But VW still reckons it’s 150mm shorter than their current smallest model, the Fox. The Space Up is all about versatility. All the seats bar the drivers can be folded or completely removed, which means up to 1005 litres of space, which is only 75 litres short of the A3. And that is before you put anything under the bonnet. There’s even a door that can be opened in the passenger footwell to allow for long loads. This is all made possible by the rear-engined layout, and the VW press release teasingly says the car could be petrol, diesel, or electric powered. Expect three-cylinder power for European models, which should start at £4000 for the three-door.

Now what about these Mini Clubman doors?

Oh, yes. The rear now has a pair of side-hinging doors, just like on a Clubman. But unlike the Clubman, whose doors open around the lights, the doors on the Space Up are translucent panels into which LED tail lights are set. And thanks to the stretched wheelbase access to the rear is better thanks to two new butterfly doors, or suicide doors, or whatever the marketing speak is these days.

What about the inside?

We’ll already mentioned the seats and the space, but the driver gets a touchscreen to control functions like the air-con and entertainment system. The screen also tells you how much CO2 you’re emitting. Volkswagen are currently developing the Up range to appear in production form before the end of the decade.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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