RE: Volkswagen Up GTI: PH Fleet

RE: Volkswagen Up GTI: PH Fleet

Friday 10th August

VW Up GTI: PH Fleet

It's been hailed as the new Mk1 Golf GTI. We now get to test whether it's worthy of the 21st Century



I’ll be honest, I’ve been waiting for this one for quite a while. Ever since Matt and I had a little wager on the prospect of an upcoming Up GTI - these are the kinds of things that preoccupy us at PH - the notion of a suitably warmed version of Volkswagen’s city car has excited me.

Anticipation levels increased further when the specs were announced. With 115hp and 147lb ft it would produce similar power to the Granddaddy of the modern hot hatch, the Mk1 Golf GTI. Though it would weigh rather more, VW had still kept it under 1,000kg, and its extra torque meant the Up would be slightly faster too.


While its forebear was at the cutting edge of hot hatch development, however, this car would be a welcome reprieve from the current arms race. All-wheel drive, DSG gearboxes and ever-increasing outputs, and price tags, were to be replaced with two driven wheels and a six-speed manual for what should be plenty of cheap and cheerful thrills.

The car has since arrived, of course, and it’s been very well received indeed. Nic branded it “just shy of bloody brilliant” when we put it head to head with a Mini back in March, and the enthusiasm of the press was matched by that of the public.


Demand was so high, in fact, that within just a few days of UK order books opening waiting times began to skyrocket. The situation worsened from there, with some dealers quoting backorders as long as a year before Volkswagen was forced to temporarily suspend sales in July until a plan to ease the backlog had been devised.

This is the backdrop against which ‘our’ Up GTI arrives, then. And with fewer on the roads than there should be, but the huge excitement still seemingly unabated by the lack of supply, it’s not a moment too soon either. So far it’s had a fairly inauspicious start, tagging along on our Bentayga shoot in Wales, and running the commute to and from the office, functioning more as an Up than a GTI.


That’ll all change soon, though, with plenty to discover about the junior hot hatch. Will the charm wear off during a longer period behind the wheel? Is it worth the premium over a standard Up? Would you be better off stretching to slightly higher priced alternatives? And how does it stack up against its chief competitor, the new Suzuki Swift Sport? If there’s anything you’re keen to discover, then let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to investigate over the next six months...


FACT SHEET
Car:
Volkswagen Up GTI
On fleet since: August 2018
Run by: Dafydd Wood
List price new: £14,055 (As tested £16,005 comprising Deep Black paint (£520), Vodafone Protect and Connect 6 (£485), City Emergency Braking Pack (£380), Cruise and Park Pack (£300), Climate Control (£265)
Last month at a glance: The Up GTI arrives at PH in the midst of summer with plenty of potential to entertain over the next six months







Author
Discussion

Dafuq

Original Poster:

355 posts

106 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Yes! Just......., Yes!

May blow the dust off the now rarely used standard Up in my garage and chop in for one of these, for weekend blasts. The standard one is a hoot to rag so this will be next level.


oilit

471 posts

114 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
congratulations to VW, they have succeeded in making me appreciate the crappy aftermarket screen that Mercedes insists on bolting on to the dashboard of its current lineup of A and C class type cars.

What on earth is that piece of cr** that has been screwed on the top of the dash of this car? I am sorry, but that just screams of product marketing and finance battling about whats needed and the need to make sure it doesn't cost too much!

The Mk1 Golf GTI would never have compromised itself in this way - it was on the whole a well engineered and aesthetically pleasing piece of kit internally (at least in my opinion !)

getmecoat

bozzy.

103 posts

14 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
I must admit, I find the light weight and simplicity of this deeply appealing compared to the crop of over weight, over complicated and bloated ‘modern’ hot hatchbacks that are currently on the market. As devastatingly effective as they may be, I just feel they’ve lost touch with what the hot hatchback was originally all about. I’m sure I’d have much more fun throwing an Up! GTI down a tight and twisty B road, than something like a Golf GTI.

AshD

73 posts

185 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
I’ve had mine since the end of March to do my 22 mile each way commute into Milton Keynes. It’s not the most sophisticated thing, but for the money absolutely, stunningly good.

Drive it like Miss Daisy and you’ll get 60mpg, rag it and you’ll get around 45mpg. And whilst flying around the Milton Keynes racetrack you have to rag it! It’s so much fun to drive. Just wish it had another 15bhp and it’d be perfect.

I’ve had some pretty nice cars in the past (Elise, V8 esprit, 997, Tesla) and though obviously completely different i have a very similar emotional connection with it as i did those.

Just get one... if you can. I was very lucky - bought one the dealer already had on order at the end of Jan. Red, black roof, 5 door and had camera, sensors and cruise retrofitted.

VW have done a fab job on this one - for this money I don’t think you can get a more fun new car.


ukaskew

4,423 posts

157 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Im not suggesting average folk on forums know better than manufacturers and marketing departments, but the demand is a surprise to nobody but VW it seems. People have been asking for warm, cheapish, fun city segment cars for ages since the demise of that niche.

oilit said:
What on earth is that piece of cr** that has been screwed on the top of the dash of this car? I am sorry, but that just screams of product marketing and finance battling about whats needed and the need to make sure it doesn't cost too much!
A phone mount that connects to the car via bluetooth and gives you a trip computer, navigation etc via an app. It may not look great but a) who cares, and b) it's significantly more practical and hopefully longer lasting than a sub-standard baked in device. I have an original Citigo and it's a bespoke Garmin device or nothing, fine at first but not when it breaks and they don't make them anymore (or charge a fortune if they do)

Edited by ukaskew on Friday 10th August 08:19

Advertisement

Mackofthejungle

780 posts

131 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
I have the same issues with this I had a year ago when it was announced - too heavy by 100kgs, the wrong engine, and the wheels are far too big.

These small turbos just don't work - you might as well have a turbo diesel, because at least with them you get something resembling throttle response. They need to be raggable!

Still, it's a great price and looks fantastic - and the base car is one of the nicest places to sit at any price as it is, so this will work. I'd love a go, and might consider one in a couple of years - small cars are just better cars.

andrewparker

3,311 posts

123 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Cannot wait to get mine, knew after quarter of a mile in one that I would be placing an order. Sadly that order went in 6 months ago, and I still only have a provisional build date at the end of October. VW really are making an absolute hash of making these cars.

andrewparker

3,311 posts

123 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Mackofthejungle said:
I have the same issues with this I had a year ago when it was announced - too heavy by 100kgs, the wrong engine, and the wheels are far too big.

These small turbos just don't work - you might as well have a turbo diesel, because at least with them you get something resembling throttle response. They need to be raggable!

Still, it's a great price and looks fantastic - and the base car is one of the nicest places to sit at any price as it is, so this will work. I'd love a go, and might consider one in a couple of years - small cars are just better cars.
You've not driven it then?

epom

5,952 posts

97 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Mackofthejungle said:
I have the same issues with this I had a year ago when it was announced - too heavy by 100kgs, the wrong engine, and the wheels are far too big.

These small turbos just don't work - you might as well have a turbo diesel, because at least with them you get something resembling throttle response. They need to be raggable!

Still, it's a great price and looks fantastic - and the base car is one of the nicest places to sit at any price as it is, so this will work. I'd love a go, and might consider one in a couple of years - small cars are just better cars.
VW, please ring this man.

Mackofthejungle

780 posts

131 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
andrewparker said:
Mackofthejungle said:
I have the same issues with this I had a year ago when it was announced - too heavy by 100kgs, the wrong engine, and the wheels are far too big.

These small turbos just don't work - you might as well have a turbo diesel, because at least with them you get something resembling throttle response. They need to be raggable!

Still, it's a great price and looks fantastic - and the base car is one of the nicest places to sit at any price as it is, so this will work. I'd love a go, and might consider one in a couple of years - small cars are just better cars.
You've not driven it then?
Nope I haven't. But certain things you just know.

andrewparker

3,311 posts

123 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Mackofthejungle said:
andrewparker said:
Mackofthejungle said:
I have the same issues with this I had a year ago when it was announced - too heavy by 100kgs, the wrong engine, and the wheels are far too big.

These small turbos just don't work - you might as well have a turbo diesel, because at least with them you get something resembling throttle response. They need to be raggable!

Still, it's a great price and looks fantastic - and the base car is one of the nicest places to sit at any price as it is, so this will work. I'd love a go, and might consider one in a couple of years - small cars are just better cars.
You've not driven it then?
Nope I haven't. But certain things you just know.
I think you'd be surprised.

ukaskew

4,423 posts

157 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Mackofthejungle said:
Nope I haven't. But certain things you just know.
The standard Up is great fun (I have a Citigo, the best commuter car I've owned) so I'd be amazed if they've dropped the ball as much as you're suggesting. Everyone who has actually driven one appears to be making the opposite comments to yourself.

Onehp

707 posts

219 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Mackofthejungle said:
andrewparker said:
Mackofthejungle said:
I have the same issues with this I had a year ago when it was announced - too heavy by 100kgs, the wrong engine, and the wheels are far too big.

These small turbos just don't work - you might as well have a turbo diesel, because at least with them you get something resembling throttle response. They need to be raggable!

Still, it's a great price and looks fantastic - and the base car is one of the nicest places to sit at any price as it is, so this will work. I'd love a go, and might consider one in a couple of years - small cars are just better cars.
You've not driven it then?
Nope I haven't. But certain things you just know.
I haven't driven it either. But I did drive the original 75 hp Up and the 1.0tsi, and anticipate these to be a great combo. The 1.0tsi is a very impressive piece of engineering, made to be frugal as a base tdi (60mpg as above!) and responsive like a non-turbo'd engine. It has all the tech from the big performance engines and a look under the hood it looks like the IC is water cooled, with a very short distance between turbo outlet and engine inlet. Throttle response is very good anyhow for a turbo...
Maybe should just get a roof box and stuff the whole family in it, who needs a 250hp/tonne estate...

Edited by Onehp on Friday 10th August 12:05

jet_noise

2,948 posts

118 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Mildly informative background piece but...

...surely you've (Dafydd?) got some first impressions. Not too much to ask, surely?

re33

91 posts

100 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
jet_noise said:
Mildly informative background piece but...

...surely you've (Dafydd?) got some first impressions. Not too much to ask, surely?
I guess you could look at the previous review or head to head linked in the article? Whatever makes you happy though.

Fiesta1.0L

28 posts

34 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
This or a 1.5 MX5 as a 2nd car (both about £15k new at the mo)?

andrewparker

3,311 posts

123 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Fiesta1.0L said:
This or a 1.5 MX5 as a 2nd car (both about £15k new at the mo)?
I'd choose the MX5, but chose the GTI because I have two young children. The GTI will fulfil the role of commuting/fun car, and our Golf R estate will be the family wagon.

andrewparker

3,311 posts

123 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
Fiesta1.0L said:
This or a 1.5 MX5 as a 2nd car (both about £15k new at the mo)?
By the way, where can you get a new MX5 for £15k? Even DTD are showing £17500 for a totally standard base car?

M1C

1,132 posts

47 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
I'd love a go in one of these.

I too have driven (although not owned) both the 60PS model (great fun, good all-rounder to drive) and the 90PS TSi model, which whilst much faster than the 60PS one - i wouldn't actually say it was more 'fun'.

The 60PS version was fun as you had to work it hard, and with it being N/A, you had a more pure kind of response (well, as pure as you can get these days in terms of throttle response etc- ie not brill)

The 90PS version i saw as more of a GT car. Must faster...but more like...torquey (obviously) but like...not fun to work hard.

Given the choice id take the TSI of course as it had plenty of performance but in terms of actual....'fun'.....the N/A was more so IMO.

So it would be good to see if they have done more to the GTi than just add a bit more oomph to the 90ps engine, IMO.

oilit

471 posts

114 months

Friday 10th August
quotequote all
ukaskew said:
A phone mount that connects to the car via bluetooth and gives you a trip computer, navigation etc via an app. It may not look great but a) who cares, and b) it's significantly more practical and hopefully longer lasting than a sub-standard baked in device. I have an original Citigo and it's a bespoke Garmin device or nothing, fine at first but not when it breaks and they don't make them anymore (or charge a fortune if they do)

Edited by ukaskew on Friday 10th August 08:19
wow thanks for explaining - it wasnt clear in the picture if it was a phone mount or a fixed display addition.

I completely agree it's better to have it as an app than a baked in device.

As for who cares what it looks like - well it's a good job we are all different, but I certainly would care - because as the driver I would have to see that everyday !!!! and this just looks like an aftermarket stick on phone mount from halfords - hence my comment.