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?...

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What Car? team
27 Jul 2015 19:00 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

What will they cost?

The VW Polo is much cheaper to buy than its rivals, assuming you’re paying with cash. However, most buyers will opt for a monthly finance agreement, in which case the Audi A1 comes out cheapest; put down a £4000 deposit on a three-year PCP contract and it will cost you £179 per month, compared with £184 for the Polo and £215 for the Mini Cooper.

The Polo, meanwhile, is the cheapest company car. It’ll cost £496 less than the A1 in benefit-in-kind tax (assuming you’re in the 40% tax bracket) over three years and £978 less than the Mini. Leasing costs are between £207 and £217 a month for all three.

Another area where there is a big difference is in economy. The A1 and Polo averaged 53.4mpg and 56.5mpg respectively in our real-world True MPG tests, whereas the more powerful Mini managed just 42.6mpg, adding around £1000 more to your fuel bills over 36,000 miles.

Audi A1 vs Mini Hatch vs Volkswagen Polo

Audi A1 vs Mini Hatch vs Volkswagen Polo

Audi A1 vs Mini Hatch vs Volkswagen Polo

All things considered, the Mini works out the most expensive car to own over three years by a sizeable £1293 over the Polo and £2049 over the slower-depreciating A1. Still, the Mini goes some way to making up for that with its generous list of standard equipment; it’s the only one of our trio to get climate control and auto lights and wipers, and there’s also a choice of three bright no-cost paint colours.

Mini does charge extra for steering wheel-mounted stereo controls, however, when these are standard on its rivals. The Polo is the only one to get cruise control, although VW is alone in charging £170 extra for electric rear windows.