- Exceptional interior
- Fun to drive
- Efficient engines
- More expensive to buy than some rivals
- Boot not the biggest in class
- Diesel engine is a little noisy
Audi’s smallest car is a great all-rounder
Since its first introduction to the UK market in 2010, the Audi A1 has gone on to become one of the German manufacturers best selling cars. The former What Car car of the year adds upmarket materials and design to the small hatchback market, making it one of the class leaders. It’s also practical, fantastic to drive, and carries a badge prestige that not even the excellent Volkswagen Polo can match.
Class leading interior quality and design
One area in which the A1 really excels is in its interior. Compared to all of its competitors in the small hatchback market, the quality of materials used, and the design touches are unparallelled. The A1 is just as good as even the most expensive of Audis.
As you step into the cabin of the A1, you’ll be immediately struck by just how well put together the dashboard is. There’s soft-touch materials used throughout, that are pleasing to both the eye and to touch, and controls look much more expensive than you’d expect from Audi’s cheapest car. Sport trim models come with colour-coded interior highlights, which add even more class. There’s not a small hatchback out there that comes anywhere near the quality on show in the A1.
When it comes to space, the A1 doesn’t have the biggest boot in the class, but there’s still a decent amount of room. With 270 litres, in both three, and five-door models, the A3 doesn’t quite reach the levels of the Skoda Fabia (330 litres), or the popular Renault Clio (300 litres), but there’s still enough room for the family shopping. If you play golf at the weekend however, you might struggle to get a full set in the back with the back seats still up.
Equipment levels on the A1 are, as you’d expect from an Audi, quite impressive. Even the entry-level SE trim comes with air-con, alloy wheels, and a DAB radio, that’s part of an excellent infotainment system. Controlled by a 6.5” colour display that’s mounted on the top of the dashboard, the system is a pleasure to look at and easy to use. Sport trim adds Bluetooth, as well as interior styling touches, for those who value style as well as additional functionality.
All in all, the interior of the A1 really is a fantastic place to be. Compared to all of its rivals, the A1 stands out by a mile. The thought of design, and the quality of materials in the cabin are a joy to behold, and whilst space isn’t market leading, there’s still enough for most people’s day-to-day lives.
Agile to drive, reasonably comfortable ride
In comparison to most of its main rivals, the A1 is an exceptional car to drive. The suspension is firm, which makes cornering neat and precise, and the steering gives you plenty of feedback, making it equally adept both in the city, and on twisty country roads. It’s an incredibly balanced driving experience, and is even more fun to drive than a Mini.
When it comes to comfort, it entirely depends upon which model in the A1 range you choose to go for. Sport trim adds a stiffer suspension, that can become uncomfortable over particularly bad roads, but SE trim models offer a more balanced ride. S Line trim adds bigger wheels, along with a Sport suspension, which makes for an even stiffer ride than the Sport. Range-topping S1 comes with its own bespoke four-wheel drive suspension system, that whilst even stiffer, is hugely entertaining.
Gearbox options on the A1 range from the 5-speed manual found entry-level models, to the 6-speed manual on models powered by the 1.4 litre petrol block, and the range-topping S1. There’s also a 7-speed S-tronic automatic transmission that’s only available as an optional extra on all models apart from the S1. All gearboxes are smooth and refined, though the 6-speed manual is easily the best in the range.
Decent range of engine options, though low-powered petrols might not have enough punch for some
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your A1, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There has been a full-electric model in development, though it’s not currently available to buy as yet.
If it’s power you want in you A1, the stand-out option in the range is the exceptional petrol-powered S1 TFSI Quattro. This two litre block packs in 231bhp, that will slingshot you from 0-62mph in just 5.8 seconds. This model has more power than both of its closest hot-hatch rivals, the Ford Fiesta ST, and the Mini Cooper S, as well as being the quickest to 62mph.
For the environmentally friendly buyer, the best model in the range is the diesel-powered 1.6 TDI. With just 92g/km of C02 emissions, you’ll be helping the planet, as well as paying out absolutely nothing in road tax. This model also happens to be the best car on the pocket, as you can achieve up to an incredible 80.7mpg. This engine may not be the quietest on the market, but it’s certainly one of the best for money saving.
Whichever engine you go for in your A1, you’ll be getting a block built with all the expertise of Audi’s renowned engineers. We would say that if you’re planning on regular motorway trips, the 1.0 litre petrol should perhaps be avoided, but all other engines options perform in any situation.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests with quality safety features as standard
Like nearly every car in the Audi range, the A1 easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It’s also one of the safest cars in its class, with some rivals only achieving 4-stars and below. With scores of 90% in adult protection, 79% in child protection, and 49% in pedestrian protection, the A1 really is a safe car to drive. There’s also six airbags, a tyre-pressure monitor, and stability control as standard. There’s few competitors that can match the A1 in the small hatchback sector.
Strong running costs and resale values, at least after the first year
The Audi A1 is an exceptionally cheap car to run. This obviously varies from model to model, but the majority of the A1 range (S1 excluded) have impressively low C02 levels, which makes for cheap, or often free road tax, and also exceptional fuel efficiency. It’s certainly more expensive to buy upon initial purchase, but low running costs are going to cost you less than competitors day-to-day.
Insurance wise, the A1 is understandably more expensive than some of its rivals. With such a prestige badge, you’re inevitably going to pay that little bit extra. Nevertheless, it’s not an expensive car to insure. The cheapest model in the range is the 1.2 TFSI SE, which finds itself in group 9, ranging up to the super-quick S1 which tops out at group 33. It’s not the cheapest small hatch, but it is one of the best.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Audi A1, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 30%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent. And with depreciation after this point being quite reasonable, it’s a great used car to purchase.
The Audi A1 is one of the best small hatchbacks on sale in the UK today. It may cost a little more than some of its rivals, but you do get Audi quality that shines through both in its interior, its driving experience, and in its impressively efficient engine range. If you’re looking for a small hatchback with a touch of class, the A1 should top your list of options.
Buying a used Audi A1 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Audi A1 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Audi A1. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Audi A1 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Audi A1? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Audi A1, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Audi A1, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Audi to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.