VW Up and friends gain doors but keep their charm

31 January 2012

VW Up 5-door from the side-rear

Pictures haven’t been released yet, but it won’t take a creative genius to imagine what the upcoming Seat Mii five-door will look like, now that we’ve seen its two litter-mates showing off their extra entry points. Pictures of the new five-door versions of the Skoda Citigo and VW Up have been released ahead of the Geneva Motor Show in March, where presumably a more accessible Mii will make up the full trio.

These cute little city cars have lost none of their charm in the transition to a more practical format, although the Volkswagen hast surrendered a little of its uniqueness. In three-door form, the Up was a kinked rear window-line where its Seat and Skoda counterparts have a ruler-straight shoulder. In five door form, both Skoda and VW have the same sheet metal and glass and presumably the Seat will too.

Skoda Citigo front view

Doors aside, the cars remain virtually identical to the three-door hatches we’ve already seen and admired. The 251-litre boot has the same capacity, the wheelbase has not been stretched, and there’s the same headroom front and rear. Engines and exterior dimensions remain unchanged, as should their exceptionally low car insurance ratings – group 1E for the base and middle trim versions rising only slightly to 2E for the plushest High Up edition of the VW.

If similar city cars like the Toyota Aygo are any guide, there shouldn’t be any weight penalty for adding the extra pair of doors, so performance and emissions ought to remain unchanged as well. The photos reveal that the glass in the rear doors doesn’t wind down but pops out on a front hinge. This keeps the rear doors as simple and light as possible, and is a tactic successfully employed by the five-door Aygo and its Peugeot and Citroen cousins.

VW Up with passenger doors open

Given the above similarities, all three brands should be able to offer a five-door variant that sneaks under the 100g/km cut-off point, allowing them to flit in and out of the London Congestion Zone without the troublesome business of paying a fee.

Three-door versions of the Volkswagen are already on sale and will be delivered in the spring, with the five-door lagging behind by three months or so. Skoda has indicated that both five-door and three-door variants of its Citigo will reach the UK at the same time, launching in mid-May. Seat will no doubt adopt Skoda’s timetable with the Mii. All of the cars, irrespective of badge or body style, will be built in the same Slovakian factory.

Prices have yet to be announced, but the going rate for an extra pair of doors in this part of the market is around £350 to £400, meaning entry level prices around £8,395 for the VW and under £8,000 for the other two brands.

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