Volkswagen's diminutive Up! Has become a huge hit in countries where it is sold, winning plaudits from customers and critics alike. In fact, earlier this year, it was voted World Car of the Year by a jury of more than 60 international journalists, against such tough competition as the BMW 3-Seres and the Porsche 911.
Smaller even than the sub-Golf-sized Polo that we don't get in North America, it seems that VW has no plans to sell the Up! on these shores either.
Pity, for it just might be able to catch on with the anti-car youth culture of today in the same way the original Beetle did fifty years ago. And more effectively than some of the overtly youth-focused offerings out there that just seem to be trying too hard.
While the New Beetle may be the visual successor to the original Bug, it's the Up! that seems more in tune as its spiritual successor.
Like the original Beetle, it's an effective, efficient and economical transportation device that gets the job done without pretension.
But for those who do want to put their own marks on the cars, there are plenty of ways to do so, short of festooning them with bumper stickers and peace signs. VW demonstrated that point with a whole host of Up! variants at the Geneva auto show in March.
Now a German newspaper reports that Volkswagen is planning a whole family of vehicles based on the Up!, including a small – make that very small – SUV. If MINI can do it, why not VW?
Volswagen did show both dune-buggy – Buggy Up! – and SUV – Cross Up! – concepts based on the Up! at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show last fall. And a VW executive has been quoted as saying the Up! was always intended to be a vehicle family and not just a single model.
The smallest CUV/SUV VW now offers in North America is the Tiguan.
Ford recently released an Up!-sized CUV called the EcoSport, but it too is destined for markets outside North America.