Volkswagen Up GTI review

Category: Hot hatch

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Volkswagen Up GTI 2020 RHD infotainment
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RRP £16,390What Car? Target Price from£15,808
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

 

The Up GTI is one of the cheapest routes into hot-hatch ownership, costing about the same as the entry-level Abarth 595 and less than a Suzuki Swift Sport. However, the 595 gets considerably more expensive depending on which version and spec you go for, while the Up GTI allows you to add some inexpensive options as you choose. It’s also very cheap on a monthly PCP finance deal. 

What do you get for your money, then? A reasonable amount of kit, as it happens, including air conditioning, heated front seats, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, interior ambient lighting, electric front windows and front foglights. You also get bespoke 17in alloy wheels that fully fill the arches, plenty of GTI badging, distinctive red exterior detailing and tinted windows to set this apart from other Ups.

Running costs are unlikely to spoil your fun; in our tests it managed an impressive 45.7mpg on a mix of roads, making it more economical than the Swift Sport in the same test – it returned 43.9mpg. Insurance is cheap for a hot hatch, too, and it’s also in a lower BIK company car tax bracket than the Swift Sport. 

In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, the regular Up scored disappointingly compared with others in the city car class; the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Aygo were both more reliable, with the Fiat 500 – on which the Abarth 595 is based – finishing bottom of the table. Volkswagen as a brand finished 16th out of 31 manufacturers, below Toyota, Hyundai and Seat.

With a disappointing three-star rating from Euro NCAP, safety isn’t the Up’s strongest suit. Although you get lane-keeping assistance to help you stay between the white lines, you can’t add automatic emergency braking (AEB), even as an option. The Swift Sport, meanwhile, has AEB and plenty more safety kit as standard.

 

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Volkswagen Up GTI 2020 RHD infotainment

Overview

It’s hard not to be entertained by the cheeky little Up GTI. It’s chirpy little three-cylinder engine serves up just enough performance to be interesting, while its slick gearbox and precise, meaty steering allow you to make the most of its grippy chassis. A bargain price and low running costs appeal, although there are sharper, more involving hot hatches out there.

  • Gutsy turbocharged engine
  • Precise steering and grippy chassis
  • One of the cheapest hot hatchbacks you can buy
  • Lumpy ride around town
  • No real infotainment system
  • Low Euro NCAP rating

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