Used Audi A1 review: 2010-2019 (Mk1) - Reliability and common problems
The Audi A1 doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability, but it’s safe and the interior is well built
The Audi A1 has an upmarket price, but it seems owners haven’t enjoyed an upmarket ownership experience. Over the years when it was on sale, our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey revealed issues with the car experienced by owners, and there are a handful of common faults to keep an eye out for as well. However, there are no glaring flaws that would cause us to steer clear of the car as a used buy – it’s just something to be aware of when you’re buying.
How reliable is the Audi A1?
Regular maintenance will be the best way to prevent any issues occurring with the Audi A1. The brand offers a service plan for older models up to 15 years old, which is a monthly cost over 24 months and covers it for two services in that time. You can also pay up front, at about £500. Most won’t be in warranty any longer, because the newest Mk1 A1s are from 2018 and there was only a three-year warranty from new. This means a handful might have some warranty left if the owner bought an extended package, but don’t count on finding one.
Are there any common problems or things to look out for?
Common issues with the Audi A1 include a rattle from the front doors (easily fixed with a cable tie), damage to the light housings caused by hot xenon lights, and sticking electric windows. The biggest worry may be turbocharger issues on the 1.4-litre petrol model, which could be costly to fix. Look out for smoke coming out of the exhaust, as it’s an obvious sign of turbo failure.
If you like to travel with a spare wheel then it’s worth knowing that some versions don’t have space for one even if you want to add one. Find one that had this option ticked from new rather than relying on adding it later.
What about recalls?
There was only one recall during the Audi A1’s time on sale from 2010-2018, which was in February 2017. The recall addressed an issue where the airbag may not deploy in an accident, so you should check any prospective purchase to see if the repair work was carried out before you buy.
What do owners think?
The Audi A1 was rated poorly for reliability when it was on sale - for example, in our 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, of the owners who responded, 8.8% reported experiencing a problem with their car at least once. The A1's sister cars, the Volkswagen Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia, all fared better.
The A1 came in 150th place in the 2016 poll as well, and owners cited poor reliability there as well. However, in 2018, the car had risen to 53rd place. In the 2021 Driver Power poll, Audi came in 23rd overall, so it appears the brand still has a way to go when it comes to the ownership experience of its products.
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