Audi A1 review

Costs & verdict

Manufacturer price from:£18,435
What Car? Target Price£17,776
Audi A1 Citycarver 2020 infotainment
Review continues below...

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Compared with its Volkswagen Polo cousin, you’ll pay a hefty price premium to own an A1. It’s cheaper than the equivalent Mini 5dr, though, and better news is the A1's promise of dramatically slower depreciation than its rivals. In fact, it has the lowest depreciation in the class.

The 114bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is pretty thrifty on fuel and on paper, delivers better economy than you can expect from the Mini 5dr 1.5 Cooper. If you’re a company car user, the A1’s lower CO2 emissions will deliver cheaper monthly tax payments, too. However, if you can live without the Audi badge, you can get your tax even lower by going for the cheaper and even more economical Polo 1.0 TSI 115.

Servicing costs for the A1 over three years are competitive for the class and lower than they are on a Mini Cooper.

Equipment, options and extras

As we alluded to above, don’t expect much in the way of standard equipment for your money. The entry-level Technik has the essentials only, with 15in alloy wheels and manual air-conditioning rather than climate control.

We’d trade up to Sport trim, because you get bigger 16in alloy wheels (which don’t ruin ride comfort), cruise control and the rear parking sensors we mentioned in the visibility section. Sport trim also offers more option choices, and we reckon it’s worth adding climate control and power-folding door mirrors.

If you like the idea of front parking sensors and heated front seats, why not go for the Comfort and Sound Pack? It adds both, plus a great sounding B&O sound system, for a lower price than you'd pay for all those items individually.

Range-topping S line versions are all about sportiness, with bigger wheels, more aggressive looks and stiffer suspension, while the Citycarver version gets that butch-looking body-cladding and extra ground clearance. Unless you’re sold on the styling, though, it’s hard to justify its significant price premium.

Audi A1 Citycarver 2020 infotainment

Reliability

Contrary to what you might think, the word ‘Audi’ isn’t the panacea for reliability. In our 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, the brand finished 20th out of 31 manufacturers – above Mini but below Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Hyundai and Kia.

So, what cover does Audi give you if things go wrong? The answer is the exact same package as Volkswagen: an unlimited-mileage warranty for the first two years, followed by a third year in which the mileage is capped at 60,000 miles.

Safety and security

Euro NCAP gave the Audi A1 the full five stars in its safety tests; the same as the Polo. Both adult and child occupancy scores were near identical, while the Audi performed much better in the 'safety assist' category, thanks to lane-keeping assistance being included as standard. 

The A1 also comes with a full complement of airbags as well as automatic emergency braking. However, while available on other small cars, useful safety aids such as blindspot monitoring and traffic sign assist aren't offered on the A1.

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At A Glance

Number of trims8see more
Available fuel typesPetrol
MPG range across all versions47.1 - 61.4
Avaliable doors options5
Warranty3 years / 60000 miles
Audi A1 Citycarver 2020 RHD front wide tracking cornering
Open Gallery10 Images

Overview

Overall, the A1 is a fine car, 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.

  • Smooth ride and tidy handling
  • Relatively quiet at higher speeds
  • Rock-solid resale values
  • Poorly equipped
  • Mini feels much plusher inside
  • Volkswagen Polo offers more for less money