How does VW plan to stretch the four-cycle internal combustion engine to heretofore unimaginable heights of efficiency? Small engines (both gas and diesel are reported to displace 1.2 liters), excellent aerodynamics, stop-start tech, and very low rolling resistance tires, that's how.
The gas version uses four tiny cylinders, direct injection, and cylinder de-activation (running on two cylinders at light load). The diesel is a three-cylinder, common-rail design to be introduced in next year's VW Polo.
The VW Mini-Car, said to compete with Toyota's upcoming iQ and the Smart fortwo, is based on a modified VW Up! chassis with improved aerodynamics. The vehicle should seat two and have modest room for luggage. They say that the new mini-car will be dubbed the VW Chico ("little" en espanol), borrowing a name used for a VW concept car displayed back in 1991.--Colin Mathews