Audi A1 hatchback
Price £14,530 - £25,595
- Understated, stylish design
- Powerful, efficient engines
- Classy, upmarket interior
- Ride can be a little uncomfortable
- MINI is more fun to drive
- Pricey to buy
At a glance
“Quite simply, the Audi A1 is the classiest supermini you can buy, with loads of technology and a stylish, high-quality interior.”
The Audi A1 brings a dash of upmarket sophistication to the supermini class. Its interior feels light years ahead of many of its rivals’, with a quality finish and technology you’d normally expect to find in an executive saloon.
Granted, you have to pay more for the privilege of owning an A1 than you would for say, a Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa or Volkswagen Polo, but such is the step up in quality over these rivals, it feels worth it. The A1 is more likely to hold on to its value, too.
There's a range of petrol and diesel engines, all of which offer a good balance between performance, refinement and fuel efficiency. If you do loads of miles – especially on the motorway – then a diesel is worth considering. If not, stick to a petrol: it’ll cost less to run than a diesel if you’re doing less than about 12,000 miles a year.
Our favourite is the 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which emits just 97g/km of CO2 and will return 67.3mpg on average. That low CO2 figure means it's exempt from road tax and, if you’re a business user, you’ll only be liable for 14% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax. This engine's 94bhp is enough to get the A1 from 0-62mph in a respectable 10.9 seconds and it feels perfectly at home on the motorway and in town.
One area where the A1 isn’t quite as impressive as some of its rivals is from behind the wheel. It's perfectly competent, but lacks the dynamic sparkle of the Ford Fiesta or the comfort of the Skoda Fabia. The ride is too firm and the steering feels a little vague – especially compared to its seriously talented competitors.
If you’re after an A1, our favourite of the three trims available – SE, Sport and S line – is the mid-range Sport. SE comes with most of the equipment you need, while Sport adds a few bits and bobs that you may want (although you’ll want to deselect the far-too-firm Sport suspension). This includes things like iPod USB connectivity, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a leather steering wheel and some aluminium interior trim.
Most people will find the range-topping A1 S line, with its large alloy wheels and standard sports suspension, too firm for the UK's poor-quality road surfaces.
In terms of safety, there shouldn’t be any worries, as crash-testing body Euro NCAP gave the A1 its full five-star rating in 2010. All models get six airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic traction and stability control. All A1s also get a tyre-pressure monitoring system and a function that applies the brakes in the event of a crash to prevent a secondary collision.
The Audi A1 is impressively cheap to run, but not class-leading
The Audi A1 offers decent performance and competent handling
The Audi A1 has a premium interior, but the sports suspension is uncomfortable
The Audi A1 has a bigger boot than the MINI
Five-star crash rating, with impressive technology and great build quality