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Car and Driver: Jump Up, Jump Up, and Get Down: VW Debuts Second-Gen Up! Minicar


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Volkswagen-Up-Euro-spec-PLACEMENT

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What’s up!? We’ll tell you. Up!—VW insists we include the exclamation point, but we going to go against their convention and capitalize the “U”—is a city car launched by Volkswagen in 2013 that isn’t sold in the U.S. VW’s current thinking is that anything smaller than the Golf would be of little interest to buyers here in the land of cheap gas, and it’s probably right. So while the recently updated Smart remains the only true city car available stateside, VW is about to present the second-generation Up! and its new turbocharged three-cylinder engine to rest of the world at the 2016 Geneva auto show.

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The changes kick off with the customary exterior tweaks, the second-gen Up! getting new bumpers, new head- and tailamps with standard LED daytime running lights, a rear diffuser, and a set of new exterior mirror housings with integrated turn indicators. Capitalizing on the trend of customization, the second-gen Up! offers thirteen body colors including seven new choices (Teal Blue, Coral Red, Costa Azul, Honey Yellow, Edelweiss, Blueberry, and Savanna Gold), three roof colors, and nine exterior decal options. Expanding the palette even further are new seat designs and ten dashpad designs that are synced with the exterior body color. The two basic interior trim colors are Titanium Black and Ceramique; color ambient interior lighting and colored aluminum alloy wheels are available on top-of-the-range models.

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The top engine is a turbocharged, direct-injected 1.0-liter three-cylinder—a first-ever turbo for the Up!—that offers up 90 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque, the latter coming on board at a low 1500 rpm. VW is claiming a top speed of 155 mph and a 10-second 0-to-62-mph time. While that may sound disappointing, the first-gen Up! we tested took 11.8 seconds to reach 60 mph, with just 74 horses doing the pulling. The previously offered 60- and 70-hp three-cylinder engines remain in the lineup.

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Available for the first time in the Up!’s brief existence are VW’s Light and Sight Package (with additional lighting functions as well as rain-sensing wipers), a multi-function steering wheel, and air conditioning with an active biogenic filter designed to keep airborne bogosity at bay. Bluetooth smartphone integration is available with the top-of-the-line Composition Phone System (the basic Composition System uses a 3.1-inch monochrome screen), and when combined with a VW app it allows the phone to become an infotainment system with navigation and on-board computer functions.

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A new Up! Beats version is, according to VW, “a car whose overall concept is defined by sound, because it comes with a 300-watt sound system from the American audio specialists BeatsAudio as standard.” (How long before Euro hooligans begin referring to this as the “Beat ‘em Up!” system?)

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In all, the second-generation Up! offers seven trim levels. Available in either two-or four-door body styles are the Take Up!, a base model; the Move Up!, which includes the new Composition radio; the High Up!, which includes ambient interior lighting, heated seats, and other niceties; and the Eco Up!. Available as a four-door only are the Load Up!; the Cross Up!, an pseudo-off-road version; and the E-Up!, which gets a new “shark skin” dashpad, ambient lighting, and the new smartphone integration.

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2016 Geneva Auto Show Full Coverage

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