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New Volkswagen Up GTI vs Abarth 595

Volkswagen had added some spice to the city car class with the sporty new Up GTI. The car it has to beat is the Abarth 595

Words By What Car? team

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Volkswagen Up GTI and Abarth 595

Our verdict

The Abarth 595 has been well beaten. It may be quicker than the Up GTI, but it has too many flaws to overlook. We’d forgive its cramped rear and suspect driving position if it handled amazingly, but the faster you go, the less composed it becomes. It’s a shame, because a bit more front-end grip, less intrusive traction control and better steering feel would make a big difference.

The Up GTI’s victory is a convincing one. Its extra practicality, comfier ride and better driving position, while not the most important things for a hot hatch, make it far more pleasant. And it combines them with precise steering and composed handling. Just bear in mind that it’s not as effervescent as you might expect.

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1st – Volkswagen Up GTI

For Better handling; comfier ride; more practical; cheaper to buy privately

Against Could be more exciting; intrusive traction control; contrived engine noise

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Volkswagen Up GTI review

Find a great Volkswagen Up GTI deal


2nd – Abarth 595

For Faster acceleration; more tuneful engine; cheaper monthly PCP payments

Against Driving position; numb steering; limited front-end grip; cramped rear seats

Rated 3 out of 5

Read our full Abarth 595 review

Find a great Abarth 595 deal


Many thanks to Thames Motor Group Tunbridge Wells for the loan of the Abarth 595.


Specifications: Abarth 595 1.4 T-Jet 145

Engine 4cyl, 1368cc, petrol, turbo

List price Β£15,510

Target Price Β£15,510

Power 143bhp @ 5500rpm

Torque 152lb ft @ 3000rpm

Gearbox 5-spd manual

0-60mph 8.0sec

Top speed 130mph

Gov't fuel economy 47.1mpg

CO2 emissions 139g/km


Specifications: Volkswagen Up GTI 1.0 TSI 115 3dr

Engine size 3cyl, 999cc, petrol, turbo

List price Β£13,750

Target Price Β£13,556

Power 113bhp @ 5000-5500rpm

Torque 147lb ft @ 2000-3500rpm

Gearbox 6-spd manual

0-60mph 8.8sec

Top speed 122mph

Gov't fuel economy 58.9mpg

CO2 emissions 110g/km


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