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



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Casuarina tops Tweed house market at $870,000

Casuarina recorded the region's top median prices for both houses ($870,000) and units ($435,000).

Buyers jumping at chance to get into Tweed property market

On the Mat:Underdogs come up trumps

WINNERS: Tweed Heads chief Paul Girdler. The Ospreys are undefeated in this year's Premier League.

Premier League Round Two

Suzi Quatro returns with live supergroup launch

DEVIL GATE: Suzi Quatro will reignite her love affair with Australia in February for the Leather Forever Encore tour.

"It's always been a special place for me”

Local Partners

Community called on to celebrate life of Paul Barrett

CALLS are going out for the community to join and celebrate the life of colourful musician and much-loved Tweed identity Paul Barrett.


Suzi Quatro returns with live supergroup launch

DEVIL GATE: Suzi Quatro will reignite her love affair with Australia in February for the Leather Forever Encore tour.

"It's always been a special place for me”

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Become a 'picker' at Byron with vintage fair

Who knows what you could find at this weekend's vintage fair?

THOUSANDS of collectors and sellers will converge on Byron Bay

Jennifer Aniston wants to return to TV

Jennifer Aniston is desperate to make a return to TV

Madonna hopes for election unity

Madonna hopes Donald Trump's election will "bring people together"

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Casuarina tops Tweed house market at $870,000

Casuarina recorded the region's top median prices for both houses ($870,000) and units ($435,000).

Buyers jumping at chance to get into Tweed property market

Beautiful Terranora acreage

77 Mahers Lane, Terranora.

Check out this week's feature property.

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

'Difficult times': Rental prices tipped to increase in 2017

GREAT BUYS: There are some great rentals and houses to buy in South Gladstone. Head to gladstoneobserver.com.au for the top 10 homes under $100 to rent right now in the Gladstone region.

Investors may soon see a "profitable return” on properties.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!