Audi A1 vs Mini Hatch vs Volkswagen Polo

Three-cylinder engines are frugal, fun and all the rage. Can the new offerings in the Audi A1 and VW Polo steal the Mini Cooper's thunder?

Words By What Car? team

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Mini hatchback boot

What are they like inside?

If you just want an interior that’s comfortable and straightforward to use, look no further than the Audi A1 or VW Polo. The A1’s standard sports seats hold you in place better than the Polo’s through corners and it’s the only car here with adjustable lumbar support. But both cars have logical dashboards and offer enough seat and steering wheel adjustment to allow most drivers to get comfortable.

That’s not to say that the Mini Cooper is uncomfortable; it isn't. However, its pedals are offset slightly too far to the right, which forces you to sit at a skewed angle, and the retro-inspired dashboard takes longer to get the hang of.

The Mini is also the trickiest to see out of because of its narrow rear screen and chunky rear pillars, although the A1 is only slightly better in this respect. The Polo sets the standard for visibility, with slim pillars and big, square windows all round giving a good view out, although many buyers will still choose to add the optional rear parking sensors.

Two average-sized adults will fit in the back of all of these cars. The A1 has the least rear leg and head room, and feels the most claustrophobic in the back, while the Polo’s wider, more airy-feeling interior makes it the best for those who regularly need to carry more than a single passenger.

The Mini is the only one with a height-adjustable boot floor, which comes as part of the Pepper Pack and allows you to set the floor so it’s flush with the boot lip. It also means there’s no annoying step in the extended load bay when the rear seats are folded flat. So, while the Mini’s boot isn’t the biggest here (it’s fractionally smaller than the Polo’s but usefully deeper than the A1’s) it is the most practical.

Quality certainly won’t disappoint in any of our trio. The A1’s interior is marginally classier than its rivals, if less eye-catching than the Mini’s.

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