By on December 2, 2009


VW’s biggest news from LA today is the Up! Lite, no doubt designed by some uptight Germans intent on bring a strange looking, Germanically efficient vehicle to the shores of America (or Poland). Obviously a result of VW’s development of a 100+MPG 1+1 seater car, the 70 mpg Up! Lite makes up for its homely looks with in-town efficiency. But then its main competition, the Toyota iQ and Smart FortTwo aren’t exactly lookers themselves. Under the hood lurks a 0.8L TDI engine and a 10kw electric motor making for leisurely acceleration despite the featherweight kerb figures.

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16 Comments on “LA Auto Show: VW Up! Lite...”

  • avatar

    Official photos here.

  • avatar

    terrible pictures TTAC, how can i see if it’s homely if you don’t show a photo of it?  If the US had more small car choices, some of them might work and maybe we wouldn’t use as much oil and maybe wouldn’t have to go to war everytime a US friendly turns into a stand alone nation as against being a puppet to the US needs.

  • avatar

    They should have called it Up! Yours.

  • avatar

    At around 1500 lbs, its an impressive effort. I wonder how much of that carbon fiber, and aluminum magic will make it into production.

  • avatar

    So the Germans have decided to create a spiritual successor to the Messerschmidt!  Wunderbar!

  • avatar

    Will it run on home-brew, or are they still using the “late post injection” system to regenerate the particle filter like on the 2.0 Liter TDI?

  • avatar

    I think there is a market for such a car. but 70mpg highway doesn’t seem that good compared to a prius already at 50mpg.

    • 0 avatar

      “Well there should be no market for the Prius then, since 50 MPG doesn’t seem all that good compared to the 33 MPG you can get with a Honda Civic.”

    • 0 avatar

      Most people don’t (or can’t) think quantitatively. They are mistakenly impressed by big mpg numbers. I wish we would switch to the European method for rating fuel consumption, which is volume divided by distance. That way, simple subtraction would be sufficient to compare different cars.

    • 0 avatar

      Kendahl, yes indeed. The jump from 50 to 70 MPG is astounding, and the original comment blew my mind.

    • 0 avatar
      Mirko Reinhardt

      70 mpg? Volkswagen’s own press release says 2.44 L/100km for the combined figure. That’s 96.4 mpg for the math challenged.
      Unless the 70 mpg figure is for the EPA cycle. Then maybe. But I’d suspect better.

  • avatar

    1500 lbs, great aero, and enough room to jam a big ‘Busa engine in.

    I’d rather have an Aptera since it might be made here, but the VW looks pretty slick.

  • avatar

    city mileage?  I only drive 10 miles to work and back each day…wonder how long I could go on a single tank of fuel, given my 100 miles a week driving?

  • avatar

    After the $4.00 fuel fiasco car shoppers with economy on the mind are making purchasing  decisions over 1-2 mpg.   This is almost a 50% improvment!  That is huge.
    How could someone discount that achaivment?  This is like saying “well the difference in the 1/4 mile between a corvette and a civic si is only 4 seconds, thats not very long.”

  • avatar

    Chuck and Saponetta:
    Please remember that the fuel used over an arbitrary distance is inversely proportional to mpg. This makes comparisons very unintuitive. People think linearly and mpg is nonlinear. To compare two cars, you have to take the inverse of each one’s mpg rating and then subtract. That difference tells you how much you can save with one versus the other.
    Consider driving a thousand miles, which is somewhat less than than the national average for a month. A 15 mpg truck will burn 66.7 gallons. A truck that gets 20 mpg will use 50.0 gallons for a savings of 16.7 gallons. Over the same distance, a 33 mpg Civic will use 30.3 gallons and the 70 mpg VW will use 14.3 gallons. Compared to the Civic, the VW saves 16.0 gallons. To put it another way, a 33% improvement in truck mpg saves slightly more fuel than does the 112% improvement from the Civic to the VW.
    This isn’t magic or sleight of hand. It’s a direct consequence of the fact that mpg is a shit stupid way to measure fuel consumption. It misleads in two directions.  At the low end, it understates substantial reductions in consumption. At the high end, it exaggerates marginal differences between highly economical vehicles.
    I don’t doubt that some people are making buying decisions over a couple of mpg. They are the same ones who threw away thousands of dollars when they dumped nearly new trucks and SUVs in an attempt to save a few hundred dollars on gas. They do this because they don’t (or can’t) properly analyze their options.
    Two years ago, I was shopping for an automotive toy to enjoy through retirement. Fuel consumption was enough of a consideration that I invested several hours in building a spreadsheet that compared a broad range of candidates from a Civic to a Pontiac GTO. My analysis showed that the difference between the high and low ends was less than many people spend on cable TV or cell phones. At that point, I deleted the spreadsheet and stopped worrying.
    I agree that the Prius was a major accomplishment and that this VW is an engineering tour de force. However, it will do more good to replace Ford Explorers with Ford Escapes (I mean conventional Escapes, not the hybrid).

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    70 mpg? The Euro press release says 2.44 L/100km, which is 96.4 mpg. For the combined figure, not for highway.
    Math fail?

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