Overall, the A1 is a darned fine car. At least, the version we’ve driven so far is, being comfortable and tidy to drive and reasonably roomy, while it should be no more expensive to run than non-premium rivals. However, while it offers a better premium small car package than the Mini 5dr, the Volkswagen Polo has all the same virtues, plus it’s roomier and has a slightly smarter interior. Oh yes, and more equipment, for a much lower price tag. So while the A1 is a very good small car, it’s hard to see what, other than those four rings on its bonnet, you’re getting for your extra cash.get the best price
Entry-level SE trim is pretty sparse. Highlights include LED headlights, electric windows, automatic lights and wipers, manual air conditioning and 15in alloy wheels. You do get a sensible infotainment package that includes an 8.8in touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, but no sat-nav.
So far, this is the only engine in the range. It’s a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol unit with 114bhp, and it’s a frisky little thing, with a generous amount of shove from around 2000rpm, twinned with a keenness to keep pulling all the way to its 6000rpm-plus limiter. That makes it a flexible performer, so you don’t have to change gears continually to keep pace with traffic. It thrums away but is never coarse, and it comes with either a six-speed manual gearbox or optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.