VW up! wins WCOTY

5 Apr, 2012 4:53pm Jack Rix

The VW up! has been handed the prestigious World Car of the Year gong at the New York Motor Show

The Volkswagen up! city car has been named World Car of the Year (WCOTY) 2012. The prestigious accolade – which has been awarded to the Nissan Leaf, VW Polo and Golf in the last three years – was presented at a special ceremony at the New York Motor Show.

The World Performance Car award went to the Porsche 911, while the Range Rover Evoque picked up the World Car Design of the Year crown. World Green Car is the Mercedes-Benz 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY.

The vehicles were selected and voted on by an international jury comprising 64 motoring journalists, including Auto Express’s Mike Rutherford.

The jurors said: “The little Volkswagen up! has altered what we have come to expect from the city car segment. Of note are the responsive steering, sophisticated suspension set-up, new efficient engines and the quality of materials and finish.

“Never before in this economy segment have owners felt so premium. Look for every builder of city cars to up its game just to compete with the new VW”.

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The jurors said: “The little Volkswagen Up! has altered what we have come to expect from the citycar segment. Of note are the responsive steering, sophisticated suspension setup, new efficient engines and the quality of materials and finish.

Its not changed anything!

It hasn't changed what people expect!

Its not unique or groundbreaking in any respect.

Its just a small car

Exactly, what astounding revelations does this VW city car bring us the old VW Lupo did not over 10 years ago.

Rather less I feel. Petrol engined Lupos did at least have four cylinders and seemed less aimed at "cardigan man" than the present product.

However, as said previously, this vehicle will probably sell very well simply because it is dull. VW are a huge presence and have a large, loyal, if rather undercritical, following. At least the latter is a club where membership is not compulsory.

Seriously guys, its a small city car, what are you really expecting from a city car that is going to be different from the other cars in this sector?!?

Get over it, it has won awards and is going to be very popular because of that and the badge.

Just wondering if people criticising this car have actually driven one yet - the motoring press seem to think this car HAS moved the game on in the way it drives and feels. Its also very relevant in the current economic climate (if you can afford to spend between 8 and 11K on a new car anyway). So I can see why it won the award.

I've sat in one and whilst it's nowhere near as roomy inside as some sensationalist journalists would have you believe, its still adequate for a car this big and the boot is impressive when compared to rivals.

Probably one area open for genuine criticism based on just looking at the car on websites / magazines is the looks but I still think it looks ok - although the Skoda Citigo is the best looking of the trio in my opinion.

If Skoda follow VW in offering a GT (or vRS) version of the Citigo and I like the way it drives, on top of all the other good qualities these cars already have, I'd buy one - and I've never owned a cardigan either!

I've just bought an Up and can certainly tell you that this little car raises the standard for the city car sector. It's 100 times better than the Peugeot 107 and Fiat 500 I've owned in the past - it's well built, responsive, roomy inside (well, ok it's not colossal but it easily accommodates my 6ft frame), comfortable, has a good sized boot and, most importantly, it's really economical to run.

I can see why people have reacted negatively to this article - it does make the Up! sound world-changing - but I think you're missing the point. VW have simply given the market a competitively priced car which sets a new precedent for quality and build.

VW have changed their city car image with this car - it's so long to Grandmothers (target buyers of the Fox) and hello to trendy cardigan wearers!

Oddly enough I do not disagree too much with tloomesy. Very likely the Up is a better thing than the Peugeot 107 and Fiat 500 but then it should be as it is a much newer design.

I retain doubts, on refinement grounds, about three cylinder power plants outside purely urban use and I was interested to see these doubts confirmed by a rather less starry eyed motoring journalist on another website. For similar reasons of refinement he preferred the Fiat Panda with the four cylinder engine as opposed to the much vaunted TwinAir power unit.

A good diesel power unit endows a small car with greater versatility (I have one such) as well as using an inherently less dangerous fuel. Hopefully VW will realise this but will give it more than three cylinders. The last such diesel they made rattled like the proverbial lavatory door!

As for VW quality and reliability, they have their ups(sorry) and downs, like every other maker. I have two relatives who are very satisfied with their vehicles but two colleagues who spit pins at the mention of VW.

Quite simply this issue is whether you want steadiness or flair. The latter is unpredictable but if your vehicle has it, even driving in heavy traffic can be pleasing. Cardigans are a flair free zone and never trendy!

I agree with the first three comments above. I can't understand the hype surrounding this little box. A thought that was re-affirmed when I saw one on the road this week. Its totally unremarkable. I actually think the PSA/Toyota city cars look sharper and they debuted seven years ago! Not to mention the smart Kia Picanto and trendy Fiat 500.
As 'Richard H' points out its not ground breaking or unique especially when compared with an IQ which does have an interesting design and layout.
It may just be a small cheap car but for me this is a new car that just blends into the background.

Postings on another website refer to problems with defective gearboxes on the Up! There is also a dedicated website for owners of these vehicles and a number of instances of such troubles are cited there. The most extreme was one where the vehicle developed gearbox problems and was promptly replaced by VW with a higher specification one which also developed the same fault!

Now such things are far from unknown with all manufacturers, especially with a new design. However it shows that VW are not immune from mechanical issues.

VW as usual. Nothing to see here, please move on.