Our cars: Audi A2 - August

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Audi A2 August 26
Audi A2 August 26
strong>Audi A2 1.4 TDI SE (used)

Week ending August 26
Mileage 30,754
Mileage this week 200

Unlike most cars, you don’t lift the A2’s bonnet to top up the windscreen washer fluid, or check the oil level, you simply open the service flap. This handy hatch is located on the front of the Audi, where the radiator grille would usually live. Inside are the filling points for engine oil and windscreen washer fluid, and the engine oil dipstick. It makes basic maintenance much easier and it’s a shame that more modern cars don’t use a similar design. I’m sure it would result in owners taking better care of their cars.

Week ending August 12

There's something missing on the back of the A2 - no rear windsceen wiper. The Audi's split rear window design means there's no logical place for a wiper and motor, and it would disrupt the car's streamline profile, anyway.

At first, I was concerned that the lack of a wiper would make visibility tricky, but that's not so. Once on the move, the flow of air over the car clears the screen, leaving an unrestricted view behind.

However, colleague Euan Doig reckons it might be a different story later in the year. He ran a new A2 back in 2002 and says that winter weather causes the A2’s lower rear-windscreen to quickly get dirty, obscuring the road behind.

Week ending August 5
Mileage 30,402
Mileage this week 92

With the price of diesel still scarily high, I’ve been anxious to find out just how efficient the A2’s 1.4-litre engine really is. As a new car, back in 2003, it delivered an official average of 49.6mpg, but my early calculations show that I may be exceeding that with an average to date of 50+mpg. I’m not sure that my journeys in the Audi so far are representative of my typical weekly commute so, I’ll check again in a few weeks’ time to see if it’s fallen.

Week ending September 30
Mileage 30,310
Driven this week 60

Rather than delivering low running costs, as I’d hoped, it looks like the tiny A2 is capable of generating big repair bills, even for seemingly minor jobs.

The nearside dipped headlight bulb blew recently and, following a peek under the bonnet and a look inside the owner’s handbook, my fears were confirmed. The A2’s compact design means that changing a headlight bulb is a complex job, and Audi recommends that only a dealer attempt the work.

Despite being fully booked for larger jobs, Audi West London (020 8380 4000) squeezed me in at short notice. In order to fit a new bulb the whole headlight unit had to be removed, so the job took 20 minutes to complete and the bill came to £45 all in. I can’t fault Audi West London. It must rate as the most enjoyable dealer trip I’ve ever made. However, it’s an over-indulgence for a seven-year-old car. I might feel differently if I was driving a two-year-old Audi TT, but for my old A2 it’s excessive.

This kind of fault is a pitfall of buying used cars – you’re never sure when something small but significant will stop working, and I’m wondering if the A2’s ingenious design is too clever for its own good.

There’s more bad news. While at the dealer, I mentioned an intermittent locking problem. An inspection revealed that a new door lock would need to be ordered – at a cost of £224. Ouch!

Our cars: Audi A2 - July


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