The undoubted star of the show won’t be on sale for a year or two yet.
The Up Lite may be the fifth variant of the Up concept shown by Volkswagen, but the genre shows no sign of losing its relevance to or resonance in the modern age.
Suave and slippery, the Up Lite looked more like a car you’d buy through choice rather than circumstance and it came with the stats to back it up. True, it only achieves its 695kg kerb weight through extensive use of carbonfibre and aluminium, which are unlikely to play a significant part in any production version, but with a 50bhp two-cylinder diesel engine with supplementary 13bhp electric motor, VW is showing one more possible path to the future, and with claimed emissions of just 65g/km and fuel consumption nudging 100mpg, its one that’s worthy of attention.
Running the Up Lite a close second was Honda’s outlandish P-NUT concept, an acronym arrived at by the rather tortuous contrivance of Personal-Neo Urban Transport.
Like many concept cars, it provides no clues to any product due in the near future, but the way it packages such smart, sleek looks into such an abbreviated shape drew wide praise and shows that genuine design innovation remains alive and well, at least in Honda’s Los Angeles R&D department.
Porsche launched the Boxster Spyder here partly because California is perhaps its single most important territory on the planet, but also because it’s not going to the Detroit show in the New Year which most other manufacturers are waiting for.