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VW defends Up styling

Big Up: Clever design gives the new Volkswagen Up best-in-class interior space, including total luggage capacity of more than 950 litres.

In contrast to its rivals, VW says it kept the design of its Up deliberately simple

24 Oct 2011

VOLKSWAGEN has defended the mini-Polo styling of its all-new Up hatchback, saying it kept the exterior design of its first global A-segment model simple to appeal to the widest possible audience.

“The aim with Up was the longest possible wheelbase in the shortest possible overall length,” said the Up’s exterior designer Marco Pavone at the car’s global launch last week in Rome.

“The three-cylinder engine allowed a very short bonnet, while the short rear overhang is a piece of art unlike any other.”

Based on an all-new platform dubbed New Small Family, the Up’s three-door body is more than half a metre shorter than the Polo’s at 3540mm, yet its wheelbase is just 36mm shorter at 2420mm.

Combined with a 20mm higher (1480mm) roofline, the result is best-in-class interior space and total luggage capacity of more than 950 litres, or more than 250 litres behind the rear seat – just 10 litres less than the Polo.

However, the four-seat Up wears far less adventurous sheetmetal than its chief European supermini rivals, including the Renault Twingo, Ford Ka, Kia Picanto, Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107, Fiat 500 and, almost certainly, Opel’s upcoming ‘Junior’.

“Volkswagen stands for simple, unique, timeless design,” said Mr Pavone.

“The Up has solid surface treatment despite its small size. It has perfect proportions, like the Beetle. It has a shape everyone – even a kid – can draw. That was the aim.

“There’s this iconic parallelogram window graphic with clean line dialogue, including an A-pillar that matches the rear window and C-pillar line, making it simple but charismatic.

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“Up is really clean and pure, but there’s something iconic on the side, front and rear.” Mr Pavone said the Up remained true to the rear-engined concept that debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show and followed the lead of VW’s larger Polo and Golf hatchbacks by featuring a narrow upper grille.

The grille is punctuated by a large VW badge and connects the headlights, which are some of smallest ever seen on a VW but are familiarly shaped and incorporate daytime-running lights.

Below the super-narrow grille – VW says the Up’s small-capacity petrol and CNG engines, and an electric motor due to be offered in 2013, do not require larger air intakes – has a ‘smiley’ lower grille line encompassing outboard foglights, while the rear features a large unique all-glass tailgate.

“My favourite part of the Up is its front end, its face,” said VW development chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg.

“It is unmistakably a genuine Volkswagen, yet it has a very independent personality. More than any other models, the Up reveals a smile. The Up is simply appealing and its appeal is simple.”

Continuing the simplistic theme, Up is available in two special editions in Germany – Up White and Up Black – both based on the flagship High Up specification and featuring unique design elements such as chrome wing mirror scalps and door sills, and body-coloured dash and door inserts.

The Up, which has a relatively slippery aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.32Cd, will be available four monochrome paint colours (white, pure white, light blue and red), three metallic colours (light silver, dark silver and dark blue) and one pearl-effect colour (black pearl).

Inside, two interior trims will be available – Anthracite and, for mid-range Move Up and flagship High Up variants, beige.

Entry-level Take Up versions will ride on 14-inch steel wheels with covers and 165-section tyres, while 15-inch alloys in ‘spoke’ or ‘waffle’ designs with 185-section tyres will also be available, along with 16-inch alloys in ‘classic’ and ‘triangle’ styles with 185 tyres.

“The Up embodies a culture in which stature is not simply measured in terms of physical dimensions or power,” said Volkswagen AG head of design Walter de Silva.

“The stature of the Up lies in its character – sustainability and authenticity, combined with a very appealing design.”

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