Why the VW up! GTI is the best warm hatch for the money
It's also the perfect small fun car for British roads
When a UK-based petrolhead looks to buy a new car on a budget, they have very few options. These range from an old saloon, a ratty estate, and a hatchback. You see, many of us, especially from Yorkshire, don't like spending all that much money on anything – unlike other countries such as the US who tend to have larger budgets.
Therefore, we are left with only one viable option and that is a Volkswagen up! GTI.
Image - Volkswagen
Gracing our streets for the first time back in 2018, the up! GTI was a great success in the UK. It was so good in fact, that VW raised its base price from £13,750 to £16,000 by the time the facelift launched just a couple of years later.
Why then, is the up! GTI so popular and why are we claiming it's the 'best warm hatch for the money'? Well, this is why:
It is no secret the up! GTI is an affordable car. With a starting price of £16,000, it is cheaper than its larger rivals and older brothers – the Polo GTI and Golf GTI. Put it this way, the up! GTI is the same price as 5,600 Starbucks lattes... if that makes you feel any better.
It's reliable and has low running costs.
Well of course it is reliable, it's a Volkswagen which is a German car and therefore will only go wrong if it crashes or is tested for emissions. With it being so reliable, it also has very low running costs when compared to other small performance cars. In fact, it produces an impressive 45.7mpg in testing, whereas the Suzuki Swift Sport only did 43.9mpg, according to WhatCar. Not bad, is it?
It has a good engine
The up! GTI is powered by a busy little 999cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces 113bhp. This may not sound like all that much by today's hot hatch standards, but when you consider it weighs just 995kg – it's pretty damn quick.
Sure, it will only do 0-60mph in around nine seconds, but does that really matter when you can use all of its power all of the time? There aren't many cars you can do that with, especially on the UK's tight B-roads.
Mated to its punchy little three-pot is a 6-speed manual gearbox which, as you'd expect, is quick, tight, and sporty. If you have driven a normal up! you will know what this is like.
It looks good
Aside from everything else, when you go out and buy a car you want it to look good. This is exactly what the up! GTI does. What makes it so unique is how easily it blends into the crowds which is what Volkswagens have done for years – it's sort of a staple in their design.
While we're on its looks, it mustn't be ignored just how small this is. It is absolute perfection for us Brits because of how small many of our cities are and how tight some of our back roads can be – it is ideal, making it as good of a city car as it is a warm hatchback.
Its build quality is flawless for the price
Like every single other German product to ever be made, the up! GTI has great build quality. This goes for both the exterior and interior. Sure, it isn't the same as a Rolls Royce, but considering the whole car costs the same as RR's optional extra stereo, it ain't half bad.
Everything is so simple in the up! GTI which is why its flawlessness was made possible. Sure, it lacks some 'essentials' for tech nerds, but if you are buying a car like this, do you really need a touch screen infotainment system and 18 speakers – probably not.
A final note
To conclude then, there aren't many cars that make the Golf GTI looks a bit bulbous and lumbered, but the up! GTI is one of them. If you are living in the UK and are looking for a bit of small car fun, you really should consider one of these. They are also holding great value in the second-hand market.