VW Up: Was That The Polo Mule We Spotted Testing?

2012 Volkswagen Up mule

2012 Volkswagen Up mule

Yesterday we posted some pictures of what we claimed was the 2014 Volswagen Polo testing under the mule body of the last generation Polo.  Well, now we’re thinking what we saw was actually the VW Up, the replacement for the Lupo/Fox.

We had ruled that out at first, because we’ve seen test cars carrying the real Up’s bodyword under heavy disguise.  And because a new Polo is due in 2014, now would seem the right time to start running up very early prototypes.

But in forums across the web people disagreed with us.  Then our reader ‘lmarsh’ pointed out something we missed — the car on test had four stud wheel hubs.  The Polo has five stud wheels and we can’t see VW going backwards.  This cars looks like something to slot in beneath the current Polo.

So we now think it is an Up prototype, wearing the previous generation’s Polo body (which is smaller than the current gen).

So let’s talk about the Up.  It started out as a concept at the Frankfurt motor show in 2007, promising a Smart rival with a rear-mounted boxer engine with rear wheel drive.  Cost constraints — as well as Volkswagen’s famous conservatism — has brought the engine under the bonnet to drive the front wheels, but it’s just possible VW may have found some balls when it comes to powertrains; as well as providing an entry into the VW range, the company is keen for the Up to showcase its environmental credentials.

So rumoured is a version of the engine that appeared in the XL1 concept, a two cylinder 800cc diesel with 47bhp, coupled with a 27bhp electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries.  In combination, the two systems would drive the hybrid to a fuel consumption of 95mpg and CO2 levels of around 80g/km.  Due to packaging constraints the hybrid would not be able to travel on electricity alone — if that’s what you need then watch out for the E-Up (we cannot wait for this car to go on sale in Yorkshire!) EV down the line.

A 1.0 litre three cylinder petrol engine and a 1.2 litre Bluemotion diesel, both producing 74 bhp, plus a 1.2 litre TSI petrol with 84 bhp are also likely to sit in the range.

Expect the production Up to be revealed at this year’s Frankfurt show in September.  The name may not stay; Chico and Lupo have been suggested as alternatives.  But we can be certain than the car will also underpin sister city/economy cars from VW brands Skoda and Seat.


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