VW: Golf ready to tee off

By Liz Dobson

Volkswagen's new models on the Up and up Downunder.

VW's 2013 Golf will be previewed at this weekend's Paris motor show.
VW's 2013 Golf will be previewed at this weekend's Paris motor show.

As Volkswagen New Zealand prepares for a busy 2013 with the launch of the new-look Beetle and seventh generation Golf, the company is considering whether it should add the five-door Up hatchback to its lineup.

With a 1-litre engine, the city runabout sits below the VW Polo and goes on sale in Australia next week.

But if VW New Zealand opts for the car, we won't see it until late next year.

"We are in the thick of evaluations at the moment and are looking at pricing and timing," said general manager Tom Ruddenklau.

"There is no word yet ... and we are waiting to have it confirmed by Germany."

Australia will pick up the three- and five-door variants, both powered by the 55kW/95Nm, three-cylinder petrol engine and come with a five-speed manual transmission only, with no plans for the auto. It will be priced from A$13,990 ($17,609).

But VW New Zealand is also only evaluating the five-door model.

"The three-door doesn't work here," said Ruddenklau.

The Up would compete against superminis such as the Nissan Micra, Holden's Barina Spark and the Suzuki Alto.

The Up's 2420mm wheelbase is just 36mm shorter than the Polo's but tiny overhangs mean the Up is 524mm shorter overall at 3540mm long, plus a 20mm-higher roof provided a large interior space - although unlike the Polo, the Up is a four-seater.

Cargo capacity with the split-folding rear seats up is 10 litres less than the Polo at 251 litres, expanding to a class-leading 951L with them folded down.

VW claims items up to 2mlong can be loaded with the front passenger seat folded out of the way.

The 1-litre engine delivers 0-100km/h in 13.2 seconds and has a 173km/h top speed, with official combined fuel consumption of 4.9 litres per 100km.

In January VW Zealand will launch the iconic Beetle. Already for sale in Europe and America - and with the convertible version set to be previewed at the Los Angeles motor show in November - the Beetle has had a design revamp.

It has more creases and edges than the previous model, launched in 1998, to give it a more aggressive stance. The 2013 Beetle will be 8543mm wider, 127mm shorter and 1524mm longer than its predecessor. The roofline no longer carries a semi-circular shape; it it is more of a flat-top design.

And sad news for some owners of the previous model - the vase on the dash has gone.

Ruddenklau said Beetle fans have been contacting dealerships about the car's arrival though he has "struggled to get supply because it's so popular around the world".

A few months after the Beetle arrives here, the Golf will go on sale.

Previewing at this weekend's Paris motor show, the hatchback is lighter than the previous model but is 5588mm longer.

The front wheels are 4318mm further forward, giving the car overall sportier proportions with more rear leg room.

The driver has a newly designed interior with the centre stack controls tilted towards the driver and including a touch screen. These systems feature swipe and pinch gestures as well as a proximity sensor that detects when the hand is coming near the screen and changes the interface graphics in anticipation of where you plan to touch the screen.

VW offers an impressive array of safety and convenience systems including a new multi-collision braking system, proactive occupant protection system, standard XDS electronic differential lock, ACC adaptive cruise control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking function, Lane Assist lane-keeping assistant, fatigue detection, traffic sign detection and automatic Park Assist including 360 display and automated Light Assist and Dynamic Light Assist (steerable headlamps).

Standard hill hold control means an electronic parking brake is standard and a new sport seat has been developed.

- NZ Herald

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