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
This is our recommendation, because it adds 16in alloy wheels (which don’t ruin the ride), cruise control and rear parking sensors, plus it opens up more option choices. It’s worth thinking about adding climate control and a height-adjustable boot floor.
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.