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The 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year short list has just been announced, and women motoring writers from around the world will begin voting for their top picks.
Cutting a list of contenders from 300 down to 32, judges will now allocate points to the nominated cars that fall into four categories: Family Car, Luxury Car, Sports Car and Economy Car. Just one of the 10 criteria that cars are allotting points for is Child Friendliness, which is something vehicles aren’t usually judged on in a competition.
Winners of the 2012 Women’s World Car of the Year will be announced before the end of March, and awards will be presented at the Paris Motor Show in September. You can check out the complete short list after below.
A showcase of compact, economic, and intelligent cabin design and ergonomics, Volkswagen reveals the 5-door version of its Up! city-car. Other than the addition of two extra doors for easier accessibility and a more conservative side profile that will further enhance rear visibility, the 5-door version is identical in wheelbase and interior dimensions. Power is available either via a 60-horsepower, 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine or a 75 horsepower version. Cargo space within the Up! is nearly 9 cubic feet and can be expanded to 33.6 cubic feet once the rear bench is folded down. Volkswagen expects to see nearly half of total Up! sales made up of the five-door.
Options, trims, and configurations will be similar to those available for the 3-door hatchback. Pricing for the 5-door Up! begins at 10,325 euro in Germany, a 475 euro premium over the standard 3-door model.
First available in the European market later this year, Volkswagen has no intention of introducing the new Up! city cars in North America.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Up! 4-door Hatchback
The highlight of Volkswagen‘s press conference at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Up! was designed as a spiritual successor to the original Beetle. Priced at 9,850 Euros (roughly $13,500) it is intended to be the new “people’s car”.
That is, if the people you’re referring to are numbered four or less. You see, the diminutive new Up! seats four and is intended as form of urban transportation, measuring just 11.6 feet in length (roughly three feet longer than a Smart Fortwo) and 5.4 feet wide.
Two gas engines are offered, both being tiny 1.0-liter 3-cylinder mills. The entry-level one makes just 59-hp, but get an impressive 56-mpg (on the Euro test cycle). The “more powerful” 74-hp model gives up little in terms of fuel economy, managing 55-mpg. VW is also offering a 67-hp natural gas version with 73-mpg!
Already available to order, deliveries will begin in December, with a possible Up! electric car available in 2013.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Up!
Set to launch in December in the European market, Volkswagen‘s up! looks to be the next great small car in the segment, especially since it’s the first with City Emergency Braking. The up! features a 1.0L three-cylinder gasoline engine with BlueMotion Technology and a Stop/Start system, allowing the powerplants to get 56-mpg from its 59-hp variant and 55-mpg from its 74-hp version. There is also a natural gas engine version with 67-hp and gets a combined fuel consumption of 73-mpg. Volkswagen also announced that they’re considering an electric up! for 2013.
The City Emergency Braking feature uses a laser sensor to detect the risk of an imminent collision and initiating automatic brake interventions. The up! is the only vehicle in the segment to offer this technology, which becomes active automatically anytime the vehicle is going slower than 18-mph.
Much like other vehicles in the class, the up! has ample interior and cargo room despite looking so small from the outside. The unique design is further played on with the option of up! boxes such as the “kid box”, “city box” or “travel box” – each have their own functionality. The “kid box” for example was designed for parents and children and includes a bag for the small items essential to small children and a lunch box for snacks.
For the first time in a VW, the up! will also feature a maps + more system, essentially a mobile Portable Information Device. It works with the Navigation in order to provide navigation to up! drivers and simple puts all of the infotainment into one central location.
Three trim levels will be made available to the European market this December with the basic Take Up!, the mid-level Move Up! and the top-spec High Up!. These three are joined by the Up! Black and Up! White launch models. No pricing was announced for any of the up! models.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen Up!
VW’s plan originally was to focus on hybrids, and they’re still sticking with it: they will introduce five new hybrid versions of the Touareg, Golf, Jetta, and the Audi Q5 and A8. But they will also start building the Up! concept from Geneva in 2013, and an electric Golf a year afterwards. “Volkswagen will also be the first automaker,” said VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, “to launch a mass-produced electric car for everyone.”
Uh oh, don’t tell them about the Nissan Leaf. But VW plans to build their electric cars in far greater volumes than the current Leaf is selling, especially considering the latter’s recent delays. To accomplish this VW has invested $122 million in a new research facility at its Wolfsburg headquarters, where it will hire 1,000 researchers and engineers to figure out this whole electric boogaloo.
“A new technology era is dawning and we must make new drive systems ready for production,” said Winterkorn. “New solutions are needed for mobility in the world’s mega-cities. We already have solutions in every vehicle class.”
VW plans to make electric vehicles mainstream, and lucky for them, they have the additional money to do so.
[Source: Auto Observer]
At the recent Qatar Motor Show, Volkswagen proudly showed off the XL1 Prototype, which according to its maker can manage 260-mpg. While the XL1 might not be headed to production per say, VW is working on a more conventional car that will cost only pennies to run.
The Up mini-car concept has been around for a few years already and it seems that a production version is about to get launched. According to reports, the Up e-motion will get the same powertrain as the XL1 Prototype, but since it is a bigger vehicle, will manage a much more modest 95-mpg. The powertrain in question is a 0.8-liter, two-cylinder diesel motor which produces just 47-hp. However, a 26-hp electric motor will also kick in to give the car extra performance while also allowing it to give better mileage. While most hybrids make use of a CVT gearbox, the Up will get a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The exact specifications are being kept under wraps by VW, but expect to see this model get the official unveiling at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.