Volkswagen Lupo (2000) | CARkeys

14 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Volkswagen Lupo (2000) | CARkeys

Volkswagen Lupo


by Ross Finlay (27 November 2000)

My favourite small turbo diesel, and one of the cars I’ve most enjoyed during the year . is the three-cylinder Volkswagen Polo PD. No contest. So I wondered how I’d like the even smaller and lighter Lupo Sport with the same 1.4-litre 75bhp engine.

Not, as things turned out, quite so much. It wasn’t a matter of performance – in this specification the Lupo will hit 62mph in 12.3 seconds, and reach a claimed top speed of 106mph, which is shifting for a diesel version of a car intended as a combination of powered shopping trolley and autotest special, able to whip in and out of parking spaces too confined for massive, Brobdingnagian brutes like the Golf.

The mid-range acceleration isn’t far away from what comes with the 1.4-litre 100bhp petrol-engined Lupo Sport, although there isn’t quite the same throttle response. And when you really dig into the PD’s torque, there’s a deep-throated engine beat as from a much bigger capacity engine.

No, the thing is that the Polo may be the minimum size of car for this lovely little three-pot PD unit. Even allowing for the relative smoothness of the balancer shaft engine, there just isn’t enough. well, stuff in the Lupo to deaden the diesel noise.

There’s no quibble about the fuel economy, of course. The Lupo PD has an extra urban figure of 78.5mpg, and has been tested to do 64.2mpg combined. People who go for things like an LPG vehicle often don’t seem to realise that while that particular fuel is cheap, the consumption is nothing like what’s attainable from a good diesel doing far more to the gallon.

In this version you get sports seats, those familiar dinky little instruments, and (are they all like this? I’ve forgotten) a prize for finding, first pop, the switch for the door mirrors. One’s lips are sealed.

The Lupo is a very small car, no arguing about that. But, although the luggage space with all four seats in place is tiny, the rear passenger accommodation isn’t quite as thrombosis-provoking as recent publicity about economy air travel might lead us to believe. For short distances, especially if the front seats are helpfully shunted forward a little, rear kneeroom and headroom aren’t bad.

One car I tried was fitted with Volkswagen’s latest open air module, which turns out to be a full-length electrically operated fabric sunroof. Costs £595 extra, about which I’m not sure. The alternative, perhaps, is manual air-conditioning. But that’s £940.


If you want to go the complete warthog on Lupo accessories and options, another new idea is the Colour Concept Pack. It provides colour-coded leather on the sports seats, headrests, door trim, handbrake and gear lever gaiter, and leather rimmed steering wheel, as well as 6J alloy road wheels with appropriate tyres.

There’s no doubt it looks the business, but that’s another £2000. Of course, there must be a market for frisking up the Lupo, or those shrewd characters at Wolfsburg wouldn’t be doing all this.

The Lupo Sport costs £10,895 with either the PD engine of the 100bhp petrol job. But the entry level version, the 1.0 E, comes in at £7840.

My driving day ended up with a certain amount of petted lip and foot stamping. None of the Lupos I tried had the Tim and Tom cartoon cat and mouse trim material. I mean to say, dammit.

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