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Used test: Suzuki Swift Sport vs Volkswagen Up GTI: interiors

Both of these diminutive hot hatches are loads of fun and, when bought used, modestly priced, but which one will tickle your fancy more?...

New Suzuki Swift Sport vs Volkswagen Up GTI

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

​Although a relatively lofty driving position isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it feels slightly incongruous in a car with sporting pretensions such as the Swift.

Mind you, the Swift offers more adjustment to help you get comfortable. Its steering wheel moves in and out as well as up and down, for example, whereas the Up’s adjusts for height only. The Swift’s seat is also rather narrow and the bolsters squeeze you too tightly around the middle. The base of the seat is rather squidgy, too.

New Suzuki Swift Sport vs Volkswagen Up GTI

The Up’s seats are broader and more comfortable, with better under-thigh support. The side bolsters aren’t especially chunky, but because the Up leans less in corners, you don’t rely on them as much as you do in the Swift.

Interior quality has never been a Suzuki strong point, but at least the Swift’s hard-feeling door panels and dashboard are countered by a smart leather-bound steering wheel, a sporty-looking red-ringed rev counter and alloy pedals. It’s cheap and cheerful rather than cheap and nasty – and there’s a difference.

The Up is definitely classier inside, though, exuding retro chic with its tartan-trimmed seats and red-stitched, leather-trimmed steering wheel. The plastics on the dashboard are all hard, but they look and feel that bit classier and sturdier than those in the Swift.

New Suzuki Swift Sport vs Volkswagen Up GTI

As far as the infotainment systems go, the graphics on the Swift’s 7.0in touchscreen look decidedly dated and the system can be quite slow to respond when you prod an icon, while programming the sat-nav isn’t all that user-friendly. At least you get plenty of features, including a DAB radio, a USB socket and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The steering wheel button is a better way of adjusting things like the volume than the on-screen slider.

To get the best out of the Up’s infotainment system, you’ll need a smartphone with VW’s Maps+More app. You’ll then need to plonk your phone in the dedicated cradle and use its screen to display sat-nav, music and driving information. Trouble is, the cradle only accepts phones with a screen size of up to 5.5in. Fortunately, there is a small in-built screen that can handle basic functions such as changing radio stations without the need for a phone.

The Up’s front seats don’t slide quite as far back, but it actually has more head and shoulder room than the Swift. The reality is, though, that you’d have to be exceptionally lanky to feel cramped in the front of either car.

New Suzuki Swift Sport vs Volkswagen Up GTI

Surprisingly, the Up also has slightly more rear head and elbow room, and its larger side windows allow in more light to create a feeling of spaciousness. But no trick of the light can disguise its shortage of rear leg room; small children will be fine, but most adults will have to sit at an angle so their knees don’t press against the seatback in front.

The Swift’s boot isn’t exactly huge (it’s smaller than a Ford Fiesta’s, for example), but you shouldn’t have too much difficulty loading enough gear for a weekend away; four carry-on cases will fit below the parcel shelf. The Up’s boot, meanwhile is exceedingly snug and more suitable for soft bags only, accepting just two hard cases.