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...

New Volkswagen Up GTI vs Abarth 595

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

There’s virtually nothing to separate our contenders for front space, although the Up is a little wider. Move to the rear and it’s a walkover for the Up. You wouldn’t call it commodious, but there’s more head room and a lot more leg room, and again it’s much wider.

The Up’s front seats don’t return to their original position once they’ve been slid forwards to let rear passengers in, whereas the 595’s do. But then again, you can have the Up with a pair of rear doors for a few hundred pounds more, whereas the 595 is exclusively a three-door model.

New Volkswagen Up GTI vs Abarth 595

As for storage, the Up has more cubbyholes up front and a much bigger boot. Not only can it hold an extra carry-on suitcase, but it also has an adjustable floor that reduces the height of the loading lip by a significant margin.

The 595’s boot isn’t just smaller; it’s also an awkward shape with a huge lip at the entrance and a smaller opening. Both have split-folding rear seats, but folding down the Up’s provides a longer, squarer extended load area.

Abarth 595

Official boot capacity 185-550 litres Suitcase capacity 2

New Volkswagen Up GTI vs Abarth 595

The 595’s sloped rear end may give the car a distinctive shape, but it makes for cramped rear quarters. Although we got only two cases in the boot, there was loads of room left for smaller items. Rear seat bench folds 50/50.

Volkswagen Up GTI

Official boot capacity 251-959 litres Suitcase capacity 3

New Volkswagen Up GTI vs Abarth 595

Even in three-door form, the Up GTI is practical for a city car. Head and leg room in the rear are better than in the 595 and the boot is much bigger, thanks to the squarer rear of the Up. A height-adjustable boot floor is standard.