Interior and tech
A strong attribute of the Up GTI is its interior quality. It might be based on VW’s cheapest car, but you’ll find materials and a build quality that wouldn’t be out of place in the flagship GTI model, the Golf. As well as premium materials and an excellent finish, there’s a delightfully sporty look throughout, thanks to splashes of red on the dash, GTI badges and tartan seats. The steering wheel feels identical to the Golf, too.
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The fabric may make the Up’s seats slightly more exotic, but their flat shape means they aren’t very supportive and you cling to the wheel to keep you upright during cornering.
There is no satnav or infotainment screen in the Up, not even an optional one. Instead, there’s a built-in holder on top of the dash so you can mount your smart phone and use its functions to direct and guide you. A specially designed app, Maps & More, allows your phone to access data from the car, too, so you can view driving information, control the radio and media player, as well as use a semi-integrated navigation and map. It’s very useful and works seamlessly with the car, making it the default app to use when the phone’s mounted on the dash – far more useable than Apple CarPlay.
For all the apparent quality, luxurious touches and slick phone integration, we can’t help but feel the Up GTI would be a more successful warm hatch, a more successful drivers’ car, if some of that money had been spent developing the chassis further – even at the expense of overall comfort.