Audi A1

The Essentials

  • Price from £13,420
  • What Car? says: 5 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 74.3mpg
  • What is it? The A1 brings all the premium qualities you expect of Audi, but in a supermini package. It's not cheap, though.

Great

  • Classy cabin and quality materials are unmistakably Audi
  • Plenty of luxury and safety equipment on offer
  • Well priced and a sound investment

Gripes

  • Firm ride on more expensive models
  • Headroom is compromised in the back
  • Not a design statement like the Mini
  • Drive

    Lively engines and nimble handling, but we'd suggest you avoid the firm suspension and large wheels of top-spec models

  • Inside

    It may be small, but the A1 doesn't economise on style, comfort or quality in the cabin

  • Safety

    Audi has a fantastic security record, and safety equipment is comprehensive

  • Reliability

    Audi reliability doesn't always live up to its promise but hopefully the newest model will mark an improvement

  • Space

    Three-door model has limited rear headroom. Boot is a decent size and bigger than that in a Mini

  • Standard and extras

    There's a package for every pocket - be warned, though: the higher the trim level the firmer the ride

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Audi brand is synonymous with luxury these days, even down to the smallest model that the company makes. The A1 is the quietest premium supermini there is, especially if you go for a petrol version. The diesel models can be a little rattly at start up, but they settle down at higher speeds. Wind and road noise is almost non-existent, too.
    If you're buying the A1 as a town car, then the peppy 1.2-litre petrol is an ideal choice. Those with more varied drives, or just those who want a little more zip, will find the either of the 1.4-litre petrols or the 1.6-litre diesel more to their taste. The 2.0-litre diesel is quick, but comes with higher running costs.
    If there is a criticism of the A1's driving ability it's how it rides, but picking the right model easily solves that. The higher up the range, the firmer the suspension gets and the bigger the wheels become. Steer clear of S Line models, which suffer an overly firm ride.

  • What's it like inside?

    Not only is the A1 comfortable inside, thanks to some firm and supportive seats, it also brings a touch of class. Everything on the dash is well laid out, easy to see and made from high-quality materials. In short, it's lovely.
    It's not the most practical supermini though, with the rear seats best suited to children  the roofline slopes quite sharply, reducing headroom. The five-door (Sportback) model allows easier access to the back seats, but still suffers from the same problem. The boot is much bigger than a a Mini's, though.
    Sport trim is the best in terms of equipment  it brings Bluetooth connectivity, sports seats and leather trim.

  • How reliable is it?

    The A1 is too new to have featured in the JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
    It performed well in Euro NCAP crash tests, though, with scores of 90% and 79% for adult and child protection respectively. A high level of safety kit that goes beyond the standard six airbags helps this. Thieves should find it tricky to break into as well, thanks to Audi's fantastic safety record.

  • Should I buy one?

    The A1 makes a lot of sense, despite its high price. It holds its value better than most other superminis, and the engines are impressively fuel efficient. The 1.6-litre diesel is the most frugal, with a claimed economy of 74.3mpg, but even the 1.2 petrol manages 55.4mpg.