Volkswagen Up GTI UK 2018 review

Our Verdict
Volkswagen Up
Volkswagen Up

The Volkswagen Up city car isn't revolutionary, it's just quantifiably better than the opposition

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Simon Davis
26 February 2018
Follow @simondavisnz
What is it?

So, here it is then. The hotter, go-faster version of Volkswagen’s cheap and cheerful Up, driven for the first time in the UK. As you’re probably well aware by now, VW has been drawing parallels between this new Up GTI and the original Golf GTI Mk1 from 1976 since it was first confirmed back in 2016. That’s because the new performance Up roughly matches that most iconic of hot hatchbacks on performance, size and power.

But we won’t get bogged down with drawing similarities between the two, namely because I haven’t driven the original (it is, after all, 17 years my senior). And although the two might be relatively similar so far as their on-paper credentials are concerned – the Up’s turbocharged 1.0-litre three-pot develops 113bhp versus the Golf’s 109bhp four-cylinder – the Up is a modern car, meaning it’ll always trump the original on equipment, reliability and safety grounds.

They’re different cars from different eras, and we’ll have to wait 40 years to find out if the Up GTI will enjoy the same hero status as its grandfather – or even is as well-regarded as the latest Golf GTI.