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Tuesday, 9 December 2008

VW plans to put Chico into production to beat smart fortwo

Last November, AutoCar released the information Volkswagen intends to have a very fuel efficient car. This car would be based on the future Lupo platform, nowadays known as the up! concept, and would be called Chico, after a small hybrid concept presented back in 1991. Chico, in Spanish, means "small, tiny".

Besides having a product on a market segment that promises to grow rapidly, as the presentation of Toyota iQ states, Volkswagen aims to lower its emission and fuel consumption rates. The goal established for Chico is 50 km/l and 60 g/km of CO2, according to AutoCar.

If the first Chico was to be taken into consideration, this number would be easily reached, since the small car was able to reach 71.43 km/l with its hybrid powertrain. If its only propulsion system was its 636 cm³ two-cylindre petrol engine, able to generate 34 bhp at 6,000 rpm and only 45 Nm at 3,000 rpm, it would spend 23.36 km/l at a constant speed of 90 km/h.

The problem is Volkswagen intends to use a larger engine with no hybrid help to accomplish its targets. There are two options: a 1.2-litre four-cylinder direct-injection engine with cylindre deactivation (up to two of them can be deactivated) and a 1.2-litre three-litre turbodiesel engine. Start-stop system, regenerative brakes and low-rolling-resistance tyres will be standard for the new Chico.

The previous Chico was 3.15 m long, 1.60 m wide, 1.48 m tall, with a 2.05 m wheelbase. Since it was very frugal, its fuel tank did not need to be larger than 20 l. Chico was considerably heavy, with an unladen weight of 785 kg. Aerodynamics are also something to be improved: it had a cx of 0.32. As well as iQ, it was a 2+2 vehicle, with a 60 l luggage compartment. The top speed of 131 km/h was a clear sign performance was not to be cherished. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h took as much as 30 s. Let's hope the production series car improves all these numbers.

Source: AutoCar

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