The Swiss Army car and three other new concepts from Volkswagen
By C.C. Weiss
March 5, 2012
Volkswagen will be adding to its Up! concept line in a big way this month. The German automaker has built four special-edition Up! vehicles that it will unveil at the Geneva Motor Show this week. Each vehicle is built to reflect a certain theme, inspiring both its look and hardware.
Volkswagen will offer up the proverbial bottle of wine to its hosts with a little car it calls the Swiss Up!, and that we call the Swiss Army Up!. Unlike the Magna Steyr MILA Coupic, Swiss Army is about design, not multifunction. The car bears the red and white of the Swiss flag (and Swiss Army knife) on both the exterior and interior. The most interesting little feature is a series of interior pockets purpose-built to store Victorinox knives (sorry Wenger fans).
The Winter Up! was designed with skiers and snowboarders in mind. It's based on the Cross Up! concept that VW showed at last fall's Frankfurt Motor Show. It gets a ski/snowboard rack mounted to the roof rails. While it doesn't feature an all-wheel-drive system, common on good ski cars, Volkswagen claims it handles resort roads well, thanks to electronic stability control (ESP) with differential locks (EDS). It gets a wintery color scheme - "pure white" and "Malibu blue" outside, and "peak white" and "glacier blue" on the seats inside.
"The globetrotter among Ups" is the simply named X Up!. Volkswagen describes this one as a small car that can conquer the world. Of course, no one conquers the world without a few tools, and the X Up! brings a roof utility box outfitted with spotlights. It also has an underbody guard down below to protect from the hazards of world conquest. The color scheme on this one is "burned metal orange" and "anthracite," and the search light and fog light surrounds are done in chrome. Inside, accents like hand-knit Up! logos, two-tone door inserts, X Up! door sills and a special gear shift knob round out the package.
The final Up! concept that VW will show in Geneva is all business. It's called the Cargo Up!, and as that name implies, it's designed for hauling. VW rips the rear and passenger seats out of the city car, upping the interior cargo space from 951 to 1,400 liters (33.6 to 49.4 cu ft). While a city car won't be up to the task of many major delivery jobs, VW envisions it for smaller packages like pizzas and pharmaceuticals. Drivers can keep things organized with help from a large, flat floor, along with fastening systems and several storage bins. The rear windows are painted over in the "tornado red" body color.
The Up! series was originally born as the 2007 Up! concept, unveiled at that year's Frankfurt Motor Show. Since then, it has gone through a variety of other concepts. The first production Up! - a three door city car - hit the market last year in Europe and was awarded a What Car? "Car of the Year" award. Volkswagen plans to add a five-door Up!, an electric Up! and other models in the future. The family is growing fast.