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Does it work? GTI Superdrives on Waze tested

Published: 24 October 2018

► CAR tests Waze navigation
► GTI Superdrives under microscope
► Does it work?

Like the Wimbledon tennis championships and Robinsons Barley Water, Waze and VW's GTI Superdrives initiative is a neat collaboration: the popular route-finding navigation app and Volkswagen's storied GTI sub-brand, teaming up to offer squiggly, scenic alternative to the quick-but-dull route to wherever you're headed.

You don't actually need a VW to take advantage of the function – although for us it was a handy excuse to get behind the wheel of the out-gunned but still sweet Golf GTI.

Waze is simple enough to use. Download the app to your phone, tick a few permissions boxes and you're off. The app is much loved by regular commuters for its ability to guide you through and around congestion, selecting the optimum route via a combination of the passive tracking of Waze users and real-time alerts from users reporting roadworks, congestion and even the location of police.

Oddly childish graphics apart, Waze is a fine navigation app with some nice features. Input a destination and, when it suggests a route, Waze will show the current state of your planned journey, give an ETA and offer a table of times at which you'd like to arrive – working back from there, it can suggest the right time to leave based on live conditions.

To find a GTI Superdrive route you can either keep your eyes peeled for the GTI logo on the app's map or, within a limited area, simply search for local GTI Superdrives. Oddly, you can't search the whole country for Superdrives and plan a weekend away. There are 75 routes in the app – good driving roads deemed suitable for GTI-type fun based on a combination of factors: interesting corners, light traffic and a low frequency of accidents. Navigate to them if your schedule permits a tyre-testing detour or log them for a later date if you haven't time for such japes.

Firing up the app in CAR's Peterborough office and searching 'GTI Superdrives', we were offered one route, 20 miles away – the B645 from Higham Ferrers to St Neots. The app urged us to 'pull ourselves away from the mundane and take the other road', so we set a course for St Neots, while at the same time finding it hard to believe there weren't better drives nearby (like for instance the stonking B1176, just 11 miles north of the office).

The B645 is a fine alternative to the similarly east/west-running A14 just a few miles to the north, which is the point of GTI Superdrives, with long, quick corners and some nice open and lightly trafficked stretches. But neither is it the best road in the area.

Three steps to Superdrive bliss

Waze app store

To the app store!
Download Waze for your phone, if you don't already use it. Getting started takes moments

Waze phone connect

Plan your route
Look out for the GTI logo, or use the search function to locate nearby GTI Superdrive routes

Waze GTI Superdrives screen

Touchscreen
Drive with the Waze app open on the Golf's screen to guide you to more entertaining roads

Does it work?

Yes, and for all its faults GTI Superdrives on Waze is a nice idea. Unless you get lucky or know the area, route-planning for mundane journeys and enjoying yourself on fine roads are two very different, entirely separate things.

The roads the app chooses aren't always the best but they are worth driving, and the link with the GTI brand is neat. It's a shame you can't see Superdrives on the map until they're nearby, and that only now (after years without), Apple CarPlay only just supports Waze maps integration.

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By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three

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