The Volkswagen up!, the car with arguably the most unique name in automotive history and a vehicle not expected to be available in the United States, has won World Car of the Year honors as selected by international auto journalists at the New York International Auto Show.
The minicar defeated 33 other nominees in the competition judged on merit, value, safety, environmental impact, significance and emotional appeal.
"This award shows once again that in the up! our designers and engineers have created a vehicle that has been thought through in minute detail, said Volkswagen Chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn.
The Volkswagen, up!, also called the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo in various markets, is a 3-door and 5-door hatchback "city car." It's assembled in Bratislava, Slovakia.
It has a one-liter engine with a five-speed manual transmission and available with either 60 or 75 horsepower. It's 139.4 inches long and 64.6 inches wide. A plug-in electric up! is also expected to be launched in 2013 as is a turbo-charged version with 110 horsepower.
The current up! has a top speed of 99 mph and accelerates from 0-62 mph between 13.2 an 14.4 seconds depending upon model. Its gas mileage is rated between 50-52 mpg.
Article Last Updated: April 10, 2012.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.