Miniature vehicles (aka quadricycles or microcars) for young people are currently in vogue. At least that's what companies like Stellantis are hoping for. With the Ami-Topolino-Rocks-e triumvirate from Citroën, Fiat and Opel respectively, they've added 28 mph (45 km/h) light motor vehicles to their range that can be driven by under-18s without a driving licence. That's supposed to be cool, but somehow it's not really.

Anyone who still wanted to drive a reasonably complete car before the age of majority had another option - if their parents had a correspondingly bulging bank account: the Ellenator. A conversion of the Fiat 500 to a vehicle with L5e registration (tricycle), so that the stylish Italian can be driven at the age of 16 with an A1 driving licence. And now there's the same in green based on the Volkswagen Up! in the truest sense of the word. Curtain up for the Geparda.

Gallery: Geparda (2024) based on VW up!

As another L5e vehicle, the Geparda may have more than 20 PS and the weight limit is 1,000 kg. A special regulation allows the body, which is actually limited to three wheels, to be fitted with four wheels, provided these are twin tyres.

The top speed is limited by the power output, but still reaches a pretty sporty 68 mph (110 km/h) on the straights, and that's why the youngsters can theoretically even drive the vehicle on the motorway. It's a good thing that the Geparda is equipped with all the safety systems of a modern car - including ESP, ABS and airbags. For more comfort, there is also air conditioning on board.

The engine is the normal 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit from VW, but has been throttled back to the aforementioned 20 PS. Shifting is via a manual 5-speed gearbox. A stabiliser bar from H&R is used on the front axle, while special springs from Eibach are fitted to the rear axle. The brakes are discs at the front and drums at the rear. The kerb weight is stated as 908 kg, the permissible total weight is 1,330 kg. And the fuel consumption? This was determined using the standard WMTC cycle for two-wheelers. It is 4.9 litres/100 km (57.6 mpg).

The first units have already been delivered. However, the Bad Homburg-based manufacturer does not state a new price on its website. Instead, it lists vehicles that are already available, with prices starting at around €20,000 (approx. £17,200). A lot of money, but children have never been cheap, and coolness costs money.