Used test: Audi S1 vs Volkswagen Golf GTI - interior

The Golf GTI has grown bigger and heavier over the years, so could the feisty little Audi S1 prove to be a better used hot hatch?...

Audi S1 dashboard


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

You sit higher up in the S1, which feels a little odd in such a focused car, and the part-leather seats aren’t as grippy or as supportive as the GTI’s standard cloth seats. Even so, the S1’s simple dashboard layout and well-damped switches and buttons mean it feels every bit as premium and upmarket as its larger rival, plus there are sporty touches such as a flat-bottomed steering wheel and metal pedals for added flair.

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2013-2019 dashboard

The GTI is that bit more grown-up inside, though. There’s a wider range of adjustment to the seats and steering wheel, so it’s easier to find your desired driving position quickly. All-round visibility is also better, and the GTI’s extra head- and shoulder-room make it more comfortable for the driver and front passenger.

Our three-door S1 demands a certain level of flexibility when climbing into the rear seats, but like the GTI it was offered as a five-door as well. Unfortunately, the S1's back seat is narrow, so it's tight for three, and the sloping roofline eats into the available head room.

Audi S1 rear seat

Things are much roomier in the back of the GTI, where even six-footers will have enough head, leg and shoulder-room to be comfortable on a long drive.

What's more, while the S1's boot is a useful shape, it's 170 litres smaller than the Golf’s with the seats up and struggles to take more than two suitcases. Fold the seats of both cars and that difference stretches to 410 litres.

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2013-2019 rear seat

In fact, the boot on the S1 can’t even match that of the regular A1, since the boot floor has had to be raised in order to fit all the four-wheel drive gubbins underneath it. The GTI’s boot has a lip with the height-adjustable boot floor set in its lowest position, but is much deeper and taller than the S1’s.

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