Lifestyle

Tiddler genre goes upmarket with Volkswagen's contribution

Volkswagen is set to cause a stir with its new Up starting from under $14,000 plus on-roads.
Volkswagen is set to cause a stir with its new Up starting from under $14,000 plus on-roads.

THE city runabout is about to go upmarket. Volkswagen has dropped a bombshell on the emerging ''tiddler" segment by introducing a small car with a starting price of just $13,990, plus on-road costs.

The Up will be the cheapest Volkswagen offered in Australia since the 1980s and will go head-to-head with Korean and Japanese brands at the most price-sensitive end of the new car market.

Volkswagen also expects the car to entice buyers who may otherwise have bought a second-hand car.

It's a radical departure for a brand that has successfully pitched itself as an upmarket alternative to mainstream Japanese small cars.

But the managing director of Volkswagen Australia, Anke Koeckler, said the car is important because it will introduce new buyers to the brand, competing against cheap runabouts, including the Suzuki Alto, Holden Barina and Nissan Micra.

"It will be interesting to see whether we can create another segment," Koeckler said.

"I think there is a tendency of consumers to go for downsizing. More and more people know they can get the assets of a big car in a small car, and small is beautiful."

Koeckler predicts the price will tempt buyers who previously considered a European badge out of their price bracket.

"I think that we will get much more from the competitors," she said.

"In previous times, they (buyers) were looking at driving a Volkswagen, but it was not affordable for them."

Koeckler is not willing to make a short-term prediction on sales but said the car was not a niche offering.

She predicted that within three years the tiddler segment will have established itself as an important part of the overall car market.

The Up will be available as a three or five-door hatchback (which starts at $14,990 plus on-roads), and is powered by a tiny 1.0-litre engine putting out just 55kW of power and 95Nm of torque.

It is only available with a five-speed manual transmission, limiting its showroom appeal in a segment traditionally dominated by automatics.

A self-shifting gearbox is offered overseas but was not available for the local launch.

The car will introduce a new level of technology to the city runabout segment, including an advanced crash-avoidance system that, until now, has been reserved for luxury cars or more expensive models.

The City Emergency Braking system uses lasers to detect an imminent rear-end collision and can automatically apply the brakes. T

he system is claimed to potentially avoid crashes at speeds slower than 30kmh and minimise the impact at higher speeds.

But the Up also misses out on some features taken for granted in its competitors.

It has only four airbags, with no head-protecting airbags for back seat passengers, even though other cars of similar size and price come with six airbags.

However, it still achieves the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Bluetooth connectivity, which is also common in the segment, is optional.

The rear windows only pop out rather than wind up and down and there are only four seats.

Prestige paint adds $500 to the price, while cruise control and rear parking sensors cost $600, and a sunroof costs $1400.

To get Bluetooth connectivity, buyers will have to pay another $500 to get a clip-in sat nav unit that also incorporates media streaming, a detailed trip computer and a series of read-outs designed to help the owner drive more economically.

A "Comfort Style" pack - with 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, leather-trimmed steering wheel, handbrake lever and gear shifter, leatherette interior, heated front seats and floor mats - adds $2500.

The Up is more than half a metre shorter than the Polo and its tiny three-cylinder engine takes 13.2 seconds to reach 100kmh from standstill.

Despite this, Koeckler expects the new Volkswagen Up to take sales away from slightly larger mainstream offerings including the Toyota Yaris, Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta.

Traditionally, Australian buyers have baulked at the mini cars that are common sights on Europe's congested streets.

Ford tried and failed with the Ka three-door, while Toyota's Daihatsu subsidiary, which specialised in micro cars, also came and went without making a sizeable impact on the local market.

But downsizing has begun to take hold as fuel prices rise, with three-cylinder cars becoming more commonplace, particularly among the Japanese brands.

Ford is also planning to introduce a three-cylinder turbo engine on its smallest car, the Fiesta.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Model: VW Up

On sale: October

Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder generating 55kW and 95Nm

Transmission: Five-speed manual only

Consumption: 4.9litres/100km (average)

CO2: 114g/km

Bottom line: From $13,990 (3-door), $14,990 (5-door)

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  cars drive lifestyle motoring vehicles volkswagen



Your newspaper just took out three global gongs!

News Corp's Hey Mumma named best in the world!

Hostage accused to face court tomorrow

Eyewitnesses huddle together outside the scene of a hostage situation at the Hotel Cecil in Casino.

50-year-old man remains in custody

Man charged with online grooming, procuring child for sex

A man was arrested in the Coffs Harbour area on Tuesday by Strike Force Trawler detectives.

Coffs Coast arrest after investigation by Sex Crimes Squad.

Local Partners

Servant Or Slave to screen in Grafton on Sorry Day

Movie screening for National Sorry Day this week at the Saraton Theatre


Hemingway unearth another dimension to Yamba stage

UNIQUE SOUND: Hemingway will be at Yamba's Pacific Hotel next Saturday night.

Brothers' "do or die” pact to make a career out of the music

Father Riley's message for Reconciliation Week

A supplied photo made available Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009 of Bill Onus, President of the Victorian Aborigines' Advancement League (right), participating as the only Aboriginal in the march for Aboriginal Rights referendum on May 29, 1967. The photo is part of 'From Little Things Big Things Grow', an exhibition on indigenous rights which opens at the National Gallery of Australia today. (AAP Image/National Library of Australia) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

National Reconciliation Week to be held from May 27 to June 3

Love, lies and leading ladies in extraordinary free concert

DOUBLE ACT: Catherine Britt and Amber Lawrence are touring together.

Award-winning female country artists team up to tour latest music

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

I’M not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar: that’s the message from Rebel Wilson on her second day in the witness box.

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

Kim Kardashian's tribute to Manchester didn't go down well

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

Boyfriend loses it over sex lie

Stacey Louise’s sex lie destroys her relationship.

SEVEN Year Switch’s Stacey told a fib about her sex life.

Why Crowe’s thankful for those ‘bulls**t’ rumours

Russell Crowe and Terri Irwin in 2007.

Crowe and Terri Irwin have been dodging dating rumours for years now

Stars line up for writers festival

POPULAR: Byron Writers Festival 2016 recorded the biggest crowds in 20 years of the event.

John Safran, Deng Thiak Adut and Dava Sobel among others

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!