Photo: Erik Shilling

I had a Volkswagen Up GTI for a week in Europe recently, which was pretty much everything I hoped it would be, even after it blew a tire. And while I’m planning to write a full review soon-ish, I wanted to take one moment briefly before that to salute it’s most charming throwback feature. Yes, I’m talking about the plaid.

I asked my coworkers if they had any good plaid history and they rushed to point out the plaid interior on the 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, though plaid started to appear more regularly by the 1970s, as manufacturers began to loosen their collars a bit. This included on the original GTI, the 1976 Golf GTI, which had a top speed of 110 mph. That model came with tartan seats that Volkswagen have also, delightfully, used with the Up GTI, what the manufacturer calls its “Jacara” print.

Photo: Erik Shilling

It’s pretty! And blends in well with the rest of the interior, all pleasingly painted in shades of red and black. Throwback or not, it’s also just more interesting visually speaking. And while it would’ve been surprising had Volkswagen not included the tartan for the Up GTI, seeing as how it’s been in the modern versions of Golf GTI for years, I’m glad they did.

My question for you: Is there a car interior not improved by plaid?