Audi A1 review

Category: Small car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
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RRP £18,670What Car? Target Price from£17,959

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 an equivalent Mini 5dr, though, and better news is the A1's promise of dramatically slower depreciation than its rivals. In fact, it has the slowest predicted depreciation in the class.

The 114bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is pretty thrifty on fuel and delivers better real-world economy than you can expect from the Mini 5dr Cooper (visit our True MPG site for more info). If you’re a company car user, the A1’s relatively low CO2 emissions will net you cheaper monthly tax payments than the Mini, 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 Peugeot 208 Puretech 100.

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

Equipment, options and extras

The entry-level Technik has the essentials only, with 15in alloy wheels and manual air-conditioning rather than fully automatic climate control. That's why we’d recommend upgrading to Sport trim; 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 personalisation options, including a contrasting colour roof.

S line versions are all about sportiness, with bigger wheels, more aggressive looks (and stiffer suspension), and are also available in a range of style editions that give you a choice of exterior looks. The S line Competition is a sportier variant still, and the only trim available with the highest-powered 40 TFSI engine. Vorsprung trim sits at the top of the A1 range, with a price tag to show it. It gets 18in alloy wheels as standard, plus a wealth of additional equipment. It's far too expensive to recommend, though.

Meanwhile, 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 2020 RHD 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 awarded the Audi A1 the full five stars in its safety tests – the same score the Polo managed. Both adult and child occupant protection were found to be almost identical in the two cars, with scores far higher than the rival Mini managed.

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

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Audi A1 2020 RHD front tracking
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Overview

The Audi A1 is a fine car – it's great to drive, comfortable to sit in and is available with lots of big car options. However, if you can live without a posh badge, the Peugeot 208 and VW Polo offer slightly more for less.

  • Smooth ride and tidy handling
  • Relatively quiet at higher speeds
  • Very slow depreciation
  • Cheaper trims not well equipped
  • Mini feels much plusher inside
  • Peugeot 208 offers more for less money

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