Volkswagen is reportedly kicking production of an all-new low-cost two-seat microcar into high gear in an attempt to get the Smart-fighting vehicle onto market before 2011.
Designed to compete directly with the Smart Fortwo and Toyota's iQ, the sub-sub-compact VeeDub will be based on a modified version of the upcoming Up! city car's platform (above), with a shorter wheelbase, narrower track and a lower roofline helping cut drag and improve fuel economy.
Like the Smart, the VW microcar will be strictly a two-seater affair, with limited luggage space behind the seats.
Power will come from a new 1.2 litre direct-injection petrol engine, with a 1.2 litre three-banger diesel also on the cards. Cylinder deactivation on the petrol motor, stop-start technology, regenerative braking and low-resistance tyres will help save fuel, and all will be standard features. An electric-only version is also said to be under consideration.
The end result is a car that'll return a hyper-thrifty 1.67 l/100km while emitting just 60 grams of CO2 per kilometre - all without a hybrid badge in sight.
Sure, you won't be able to cram your labrador in the back and it'll probably make a lousy tow vehicle, but with low emissions, low consumption and a tiny footprint, VW's new bottom-feeder could be just what the world's growing urban centres need.