Autocar has learned that Volkswagen is fast-tracking development of an affordable new two-seat city car.
In its most economical form, the new VW will return a class-leading 141mpg and emit less than 60g/km of CO2 – all without hybrid drive.
The three-door hatchback is set to go head-to-head with the Smart and Toyota iQ. It is strongly tipped by VW insiders to be called Chico after a VW concept car from 1991, and will become the entry-level VW, below the Up!.
It could cost as little as £6000 when it goes on sale in the UK in 2011.
The new VW will be based on a modified version of the chassis from the Up! The car has a comparatively low roofline and narrow track aimed at providing it with class-leading aerodynamics.
VW chairman Martin Winterkorn says this is vital to achieving the fuel consumption and emission targets planned for the car: “The Up! has a tall design and as a result there are limits to its overall aerodynamic performance,” said Winterkorn. “Our newest car is a good deal lower and because of this it carries a lot less drag.”
Inside, there is space for two adults and a limited amount of luggage in a layout not dissimilar to the Smart city car.
The new Volkswagen will use a new 1.2-litre four-cylinder direct-injection petrol unit with a cylinder shutdown device that allows it to run on just two cylinders. It will be joined by a 1.2-litre three-cylinder common-rail diesel, which will be introduced in next year’s new Polo.
Stop-start technology, regenerative braking and low rolling resistance tyres will be standard features.