Audi A1 - Used Car

Review

Audi A1, front
Audi A1, side
Audi A1, rear
Audi A1, interior

THERE can be few cars that won so many accolades within such a short time of launch as the Audi A1 and having driven a number of different versions, I can see what all those awards were about.

The quality is all around you, from the soft touch materials all around to the excellent technology, the way the switches work so beautifully and the performance.

The A1 was the company's answer to the BMW MINI, and while it's nowhere near as funky and special, that quality stands out.

The smooth range of petrol engines available from 2010 until 2018 starts with an 85bhp 1.2, that was later replaced by a 95bhp 1.0-litre.

Light weight means that both offer decent performance, with the 1 litre clearing the 0 to 60 sprint in 10.6 seconds.

Next petrol is the 1.4TFSI, which even in the lowest power 120bhp models, gets to 60 in around 8.5 seconds.

But it's also available at different times with 140, 150 and 182bhp, and these all bring the sprint down to under seven seconds.

Earlier models were available with 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel engines that had 115 or 140bhp, but latterly the 2.0-litre was dropped in favour of the 1.6, which clears the sprint in 9.1 seconds.

The 1.2 petrol is rated at 55 miles per gallon, while the 1.0-litre is supposed to be capable of 64. The 1.4 120bhp has a government figure of 54mpg while the 140bhp model is strangely rated higher at 60.

The 1.6 diesel is the economy master, managing an excellent 74mpg.

There are two body styles to choose from, the standard three door hatch and a five door called the Sportback, which came onto the market in 2012.

But be warned, access into either model's rear seats is difficult, and there is only very small rear legroom.

This means that both are really only three seaters if there's a tall driver, but this and the hardish ride are the A1's only faults.

That ride is lumpy over rougher surfaces at slow speeds - and sometimes even quite uncomfortable in town - but it does smooth out as speed rises.

Drive is to the front wheels through a six speed manual gearbox with a swift, easy change and a light clutch.

The company's S-tronic version of the VW group DSG automatic is available on many models, and standard on the top 1.4.

It is one of the best autos on the market, but adds a lot to prices because it is so expensive new, and it is very expensive to repair if things go wrong.

Performance is fair to excellent across the range and all the engines are smooth and quiet.

The driving position is excellent for all sizes, and the handling and roadholding are wonderful, with huge grip.

A1's come with a lovely, soft-feel leather covered steering wheel, well shaped hip and back hugging seats, MP3 stereo, climate and self-levelling headlights.

They also have traction and stability control, alloys, electric front windows, 60/40 split fold back seat, voice activation and a trip computer, while mid-range Sport adds sports seats and audio remote control.

Pay about £8,800 for a '15 15-reg 1.4 TFSI 140 S-line, or £10,300 for a '17 17-reg 1.0 TFSI Sport. Sportbacks command about £400 more.

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