Volkswagen Up!

With more and more regulations on fuel economy and C02 emissions, more manufacturers are building smaller models with better economy, lighter materials and surprisingly with decent power.  With technology evolving faster, smaller and cheaper they are loading them with lots of cool tech too.  Smaller cars with better economy and less emissions help offset penalties the manufacturer pays for not meeting minimum standards set by the EPA, CARB and the EEA on other models in the line.  Small cars are good!  They help us get the fast, fun, less fuel efficient cars!

The smart, built by Daimler-Benz in France, has been sold in Europe since 1998 and comes in a diesel variant and of course sees top fuel economy.  In 2008 Daimler tried to make a go of it here in the US through Penske Automotive Group but in my opinion it got here too little too late as most other manufacturers had already gained ground in the 30+ mpg range.  The smart barely achieves milage with most other small cars that are not in the Sub Compact segment.  So you can get more car with the about the same fuel milage for about the same money.  Another draw back when it came to the US was they had to use Mitsubishi engines because the Mercedes diesel and gas engines used in Europe did not meet EPA regulations.  So you aren’t really getting complete Mercedes quality in the US.  The smart is considered a city car in Europe and with the smaller streets and less space for parking, the smart has been a huge seller through the years.  Something you can’t say it’s been in the US.

Well, just as the hybrid, plug-in electric market is screaming, VW (unlike smart) is in the thick of it with the Up! line.  VW announced it’s going to build the Up!  and the US will see the electric version, the E-Up!, in select markets. Unfortunately it may be the only version we get.  The US version is said to likely be a little larger than it’s European counterpart and won’t go on sale for a few more years. VW has announced they will also build the Up! GT, but only for Europe.  Although the Up! is small!  At 139-inches long and 65-inches wide, it’s 6-inches shorter and nearly 2-inches narrower than a Mini Cooper hardtop.  Having a 95-inch wheelbase (nearly 2-inches shorter than the Mini’s) pushes the wheels way out the corners, making for interior room that comfortably accommodates four passengers.  Folding the rear seats gets you 34 cubic feet of cargo volume.  The gas version of the Euro Up! will come with a choice of two variants of a 1.0 liter at 56hp and 74hp for a turbo model with 56 and 55 mpg respectively.  The interior will also share components with other VW’s in the family so it’s likely to be typical VW quality with great fuel economy as a plus.  I hope they bring the full Up! line to the US, but I’m not holding my breath.  Although, VW wants to be the largest auto manufacturer in the world and has a goal of 500,000 sales in 2012 and 10 million worldwide by 2018.  The Up! could certainly help reach that goal and deliver a fast, fun AND very fuel efficient car.

I would buy the Up! GT if it ever makes our shores.  Could be a fun and sporty daily driver for little fuel cost.

See The Volkswagen Up! Here

The VW E-Up!

The VW Up! GT

The VW Cross Up!

Auto Repair

As a former auto technician and generally very picky about my cars, it drives me nuts to have my cars in someone else’s hands. Not having the tools, the facility and just plain not wanting to do it anymore, I have to rely on a shop to do the work. I’ve found that it just seems like none of them care to do it right. I can mention numerous times I have gotten home from a trip to the dealer (or before I even leave the shop!) or a service center only to find the job was not finished, parts not completely put back where they should be or the work was just flat out not done.

I used to get SO frustrated when it happened, but the older I get and the more it happens I’ve come to the realization to save myself from being ticked off and stressing about it, from now on I’ll just have to pay for auto service and repairs to get the major big part of the job done, then once I get home, finish the job.

Sad but true…