City car to compete with Smart and Toyota iQ
Insiders report that Volkswagen doesn't plan to be left out of the growing city-car market. The brand
that practically invented the "people's car" is fast-tracking a
shortened production version of the Up concept to compete with the
Toyota iQ and Smart fortwo. The new entry-level car is expected to be
called "Chico," using the name of a 1991 Volkswagen concept car.
The two-seat, three-door subcompact will be laid out similarly to
the Smart fortwo, and shares underpinnings with the Up but is shorter
and lower to reduce drag and improve fuel economy. Design cues will be
similar. Projected powertrains include a 1.2 liter four-cylinder
gasoline engine with cylinder deactivation, a 1.2 liter three-cylinder
common-rail diesel shared with the next-generation Polo, and Volkswagen
is considering the possibility of an electric Chico as well. Fuel
economy projections range from 117 to 141 mpg for the diesel.
Efficiency will be further improved with regenerative braking,
stop-start fuel shutoff systems, and low rolling resistance tires.
The frugal Chico could be on sale in the UK as early as 2011, with a
£6000 starting price. If there are plans to sell the car in the U.S.,
Volkswagen hasn't revealed them yet.
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