RE: Up, Up and away: PH Fleet

RE: Up, Up and away: PH Fleet

Friday 18th January

Up, Up and away: PH Fleet

With time almost up for the fleet's smallest constituent, we pit our GTI against its standard sibling



So our time with the Up GTI is drawing to a close, but there's still one question we've yet to answer. It's come out on top of its nearest rivals in a group test and impressed us in ably fulfilling its spicy city car remit - despite perhaps falling short of being a true GTI - but how does it compare to its cheaper self? Is it really that much more capable than a standard Up?

To find out, we turned to the 90hp version of the 'High' Up. At £13,360 OTR it costs just £700 less than the GTI on paper - although that gap doubles when comparing the High Up's £14,605 price as tested to the with-options £16,005 final price of our longtermer. Crucially, its turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is almost identical to the GTI's save for a five-speed manual transmission and that lower power output.


This results in a 7mph improvement in top speed (115mph vs 122mph) in the hot hatch's favour, and a 1.1 second reduction in 0-62 time (9.9 vs 8.8). Beyond that the GTI gets 15mm lower suspension, larger wheels, tweaked steering, a new gearbox and uprated brakes. Unfortunately VW only had a five-door model available; nonetheless the High represents the standard Up at its best and presents a worthier adversary for the GTI than the feeble 60 or 75hp 'Take' and 'Move' alternatives.

The day begins in the cheaper car, heading out of London and south to Leith Hill, where a rendezvous with the GTI awaits. Its 160lb ft of torque may be 30 fewer than found in the GTI, but is delivered 500rpm sooner, meaning it feels just as zippy away from the lights. And over a second's difference to sixty-two may seem like a large gulf on paper, but it turns out that, unlike at the sharper end of the spectrum, the real world difference between 9.9- and 8.8-second cars is pretty hard to detect. So far, so familiar.


Once you're underway, though, a different story emerges. Performance quickly drops off, leaving the standard model rather out of its depth at higher speeds. It feels less planted on the motorway, too, thanks to the softer suspension settings, and the lack of a sixth gear becomes an all too apparent inconvenience for the tiny engine. The GTI may be much more city car than Autobahn cruiser but, unless you're happy sitting at 65, the High Up feels like something of a last resort for long motorway journeys.

Despite feeling less focused in the outside lane, it does has the edge on comfort and ride quality when things slow down a notch. There's no mistaking the advantages of 15-inch wheels - vs the GTI's 17-inch alloys - and its more accommodating spring travel when you hit a manhole cover. It's just not quite as nice a place to be, though. While the interiors are virtually identical, minus a leather wrapped wheel and a smattering of GTI badges, the lighter, brighter cabin this standard car is optioned with only serves to highlight the cheap materials and spartan design.


Back to the driving. Arriving at Leith Hill and swapping into the GTI, its deeper qualities are instantly apparent. The lower stance, sportier interior and rortier exhaust note make driving it seem much more of an event. And while the improved handling and more powerful engine may not rank it among the best GTI-badged cars out there, they leave it head and shoulders above the standard car. In previous updates I've said that the Up GTI is unlikely to compel its owner to get up early on a weekend to head for a drive, and that still holds true now. But should they find themselves in the right place at the right time, it's more than capable of delivering an entertaining experience.

Given how insignificant the price difference between the two models can be without too much box ticking, the GTI seems like a no-brainer - and even with a bigger gap it justifies the outlay. If you're looking for the absolute cheapest Up available, then naturally the range-topper is out of reach, but when it comes to the question of whether or not the GTI can vindicate its extra expense versus the next best thing, the answer is clear. Not only is it more satisfying to drive, it makes the alternative seem staid in comparison. The High Up may be slightly more comfortable, quieter and economical on an inner city commute, but the GTI, thanks to its focus and obvious fun factor, is by some distance the more complete car on our scorecard.


SPECIFICATION - UP GTI
Engine:
999cc, 3-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 115@5,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 148@2,000-3,500rpm
0-62mph: 8.8sec
Top speed: 122mph
Weight: 1,002kg
MPG: 58.9
CO2: 110g/km
Price: £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))

SPECIFICATION - HIGH UP
Engine:
999cc, 3-cyl turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 90@5,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 118@1,500-3,500rpm
0-62mph: 9.9sec
Top speed: 115mph
Weight: 1,002kg
MPG: 67.3
CO2: 96g/km
Price: £13,360 (As tested £14,605 comprising Costa Azule Metallic paint (£525), City Emergency Braking Pack (£380), Climate Control (£265) and Front Passenger's Seat Adjustment (£75))






Author
Discussion

ukaskew

Original Poster:

4,596 posts

159 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Interesting comments on the standard model that don't fit with many owners. We have a 60bhp model and still find it a rather nice motorway drive, certainly miles ahead of any city car we've owned before it and even many cars the next sector up, in fact we prefer it to the Focus we have too.

schmalex

12,580 posts

144 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
The interior looks awfully cheap

lee_erm

745 posts

131 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
The interior in the High Up looks awful.

Augustus Windsock

1,589 posts

93 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
“ the real world difference between 9.9- and 8.8-second cars is pretty hard to detect”

Funny, nearly every motoring mag or website will bang on, ad nauseam, about supercars that take an extra 0.1 of a second to get to 60 than other supercars, yet where the gap is more pronounced it warrants a comment like the above.....

sisu

429 posts

111 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Weird fact about the VW Up. The power, weight, Cd turns out the same as an early Porsche. I rented one on business in Germany and the client was into 356s and 911s. We crunched the numbers and the pod shaped rental did the same job, but with ESP/ABS/AC and all the airbags of a modern car.
It isn't going to set your pubes on fire like a supercar, but from a driving experience the package and execution is spot on.
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Baldchap

679 posts

30 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
We'll soon have a new driver in the house so cars like this are all of a sudden of interest again.

I had a courtesy UP, presumably base engine, and aside from uphill performance bordering on unacceptable, it was OK. Does anyone know how the Adam compares? I can't help think they look really cool.

Dale487

873 posts

61 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Baldchap said:
We'll soon have a new driver in the house so cars like this are all of a sudden of interest again.

I had a courtesy UP, presumably base engine, and aside from uphill performance bordering on unacceptable, it was OK. Does anyone know how the Adam compares? I can't help think they look really cool.
I think the Adam wasn't too bad, but over priced and more of a Fiat 500 rival than an Up, Citigo, Mii etc rival - there was a 1.4 turbo on the Adam but I think that's probably a bit too much for a new driver. When was the last time you saw an Adam in the wild though?

Jex

453 posts

66 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
" Its 160lb ft of torque may be 30 fewer than found in the GTI, but is delivered 500rpm sooner, meaning it feels just as zippy away from the lights"

Reminds me of the difference between the 8V and 16V Golf/Jetta GTIs of the 80s. In day to day driving the 8V was better because it had more torque at lower revs, also because of the better fuel consumption. Of course if you wanted to push on ...

great_kahn

80 posts

24 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
How have they extracted so little power from that 1.0 engine in the gti? I would like to try one with a 140-150hp remap, that would be a proper hoot.

Baldchap

679 posts

30 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Dale487 said:
Baldchap said:
We'll soon have a new driver in the house so cars like this are all of a sudden of interest again.

I had a courtesy UP, presumably base engine, and aside from uphill performance bordering on unacceptable, it was OK. Does anyone know how the Adam compares? I can't help think they look really cool.
I think the Adam wasn't too bad, but over priced and more of a Fiat 500 rival than an Up, Citigo, Mii etc rival - there was a 1.4 turbo on the Adam but I think that's probably a bit too much for a new driver. When was the last time you saw an Adam in the wild though?
I see one daily as our neighbours' lad has one. I think it looks cracking for a little car.

I've already been downvoted on my suggestion of a Jimny. Might have to get myself one as a workhorse.

Dale487

873 posts

61 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
great_kahn said:
How have they extracted so little power from that 1.0 engine in the gti? I would like to try one with a 140-150hp remap, that would be a proper hoot.
Its the most powerful standard tune for the 1.0TSI - you can get it in Golfs, Atecas, Fabias etc. I assume that VW didn't want to go down the bespoke parts route with the Up GTI.

The GTI seems to make sense at only £600 more than the 90ps version - I bet the PCP price difference is negligible.

spikyone

281 posts

38 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
great_kahn said:
How have they extracted so little power from that 1.0 engine in the gti? I would like to try one with a 140-150hp remap, that would be a proper hoot.
Partly emissions related, and partly that this is a modern VW GTi, and a city car, so they have presumably turned the power down a little for driveability. Let's be honest, if you're the sort of person who judges a car based on how much power it puts out then a VW Up is not going to be near the top of your shopping list.

FWIW, I found a bog-standard Mk1 Aygo/C1/107 hilarious around town, and they only have 68bhp. Keep the revs and momentum up, and enjoy having a car that weighs <900kg, feels old-school mechanical, and has the wheels right out in the corners. There's more to life than numbers.

Krikkit

14,124 posts

119 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Augustus Windsock said:
“ the real world difference between 9.9- and 8.8-second cars is pretty hard to detect”

Funny, nearly every motoring mag or website will bang on, ad nauseam, about supercars that take an extra 0.1 of a second to get to 60 than other supercars, yet where the gap is more pronounced it warrants a comment like the above.....
I think PH is the exception to that - the stats always go in the reviews, but they don't make a big song and dance about small differences in performance like that (or at least that's how I remember it) and focus on the feel of it all.


PSRG

228 posts

64 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
spikyone said:
Partly emissions related, and partly that this is a modern VW GTi, and a city car, so they have presumably turned the power down a little for driveability. Let's be honest, if you're the sort of person who judges a car based on how much power it puts out then a VW Up is not going to be near the top of your shopping list.

FWIW, I found a bog-standard Mk1 Aygo/C1/107 hilarious around town, and they only have 68bhp. Keep the revs and momentum up, and enjoy having a car that weighs <900kg, feels old-school mechanical, and has the wheels right out in the corners. There's more to life than numbers.
When the Up! was launched, the High Up! could only be had with a 75 BHP engine; I bought one, and it was great fun to thrash round. But it was also fine on longer journeys; I recall we took it to Paris once, because I thought it’d be better to nip around central Paris than a 5 series, and it was smile


davidc1

626 posts

100 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
i flit between a 60hp SEAT mii & a Porsche 981 Spyder .
the 60hp Mii is a really good little car. i paid 6650 for it brand new 3 years ago.

using good practice of planning ahead , in the right gear , use the momentum , and it's a cracking little car. 58mpg on the last tank , none of which was motorway.

sometimes drive at 10/10th and get it on the door handles!

and it also makes the Spyder a really special event when I pull the cover off.

I might order an up gti . i think it is a bargain.




Master Bean

1,196 posts

58 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
article said:
Its 160lb ft of torque may be 30 fewer than found in the GTI, but is delivered 500rpm sooner,
Nm and lb ft confusion.

Dale487

873 posts

61 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
davidc1 said:
i flit between a 60hp SEAT mii & a Porsche 981 Spyder .
the 60hp Mii is a really good little car. i paid 6650 for it brand new 3 years ago.

using good practice of planning ahead , in the right gear , use the momentum , and it's a cracking little car. 58mpg on the last tank , none of which was motorway.

sometimes drive at 10/10th and get it on the door handles!

and it also makes the Spyder a really special event when I pull the cover off.

I might order an up gti . i think it is a bargain.

Boxster Spyder & an Up GTI sounds like a good two car garage.

daveco

3,657 posts

145 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Suzuki's new Swift is 890kg and has a 1.2 litre naturally aspirated 90hp engine, about the same £12k price as well.

Would make for an interesting comparison as surely the Swift would handle better, be more reliable, and I think offer more space? scratchchin


numtumfutunch

2,967 posts

76 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
Thinking about a 60PS Up as family pool car, had wondered if it would struggle out of town so thanks for contributing

ukaskew

Original Poster:

4,596 posts

159 months

Friday 18th January
quotequote all
numtumfutunch said:
Thinking about a 60PS Up as family pool car, had wondered if it would struggle out of town so thanks for contributing
We bought ours (60hp)when out son was born (he's 4 now) and we genuinely have no regrets. It's remarkably roomy and hard wearing inside and the boot is like a tardis. We've gone on holiday to Wales fully loaded up with buggy, travel cot and so on no bother.