The rear exterior of a red Audi A1

Audi A1 review

The stylish yet small Audi A1 combines build quality, technology and luxury. It's efficient and powerful with plenty of safety kit as standard.

Pros

  • A great looking supermini
  • Excellent build quality
  • Good range of engines

Cons

  • Suspension is a little firm for some
  • Audi name can mean higher prices
  • Not the most fun to drive

Summary

“The A1 is a sophisticated supermini that combines style with technology.”

The Audi A1 is a brilliant premium small car with great technology, good engines and excellent comfort. It’s also very practical, whether you choose the stylish three-door version or the more spacious five-door Sportback. 

It was updated in 2015 with changes to the exterior and interior, more equipment and some engine alterations. The second generation arrived in 2018 with a sportier look and more technology, including a digital speedometer and smarter infotainment system.

Audi offers lots of personalisation options, such as choices of upholstery, seats and paint finish, so its should be easy to find a used A1 to suits your needs, driving style and budget.

Fascia shot of the Audi A1

What's the interior like?

“Well made with quality materials and a good amount of space for a small car.”

The A1 has great ergonomics, comfortable seats and just the right amount of technology. The air vents look great and the infotainment system works well with additional remote controls on the steering wheel.

The three-door version (only available up to 2018) looks good on the outside, but access to the back seats isn't ideal if you have children and there’s really only space for two adults. If you’re looking for more room, go for the Sportback. This has five doors and a boot with a capacity of 335-litres which is big enough for a few suitcases and is expandable to 920 litres. 

The interior of an Audi A1 with steering wheel and dashboard in shot

What's it like to drive?

“More about premium comfort than fun, the Audi A1 is a very composed drive with some great engines.”

The A1 drive feels solid with a range of engines, from efficient diesels to the sporty S1 and everything in between. Because it’s built to be driven quickly, the suspension can feel a little firm, especially the S-Line sporty model.

The one-litre models are a great choice for city based driving, but if you often venture further afield then it’s worth going for a 1.5-litre or one of the diesel options.

The driving position is excellent and there's a fantastic six-speed manual gearbox, although for those who spend a lot of time in traffic, the S-Tronic automatic is a good way to go.

Gear stick shot of the Audi A1

Is the Audi A1 cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The A1 may not be the cheapest car on the road, but it's promises luxury, reliability and performance”

You'll pay slightly more for an A1 than for the equivalent Polo or Ford Fiesta, but prices are generally similar to its main rival, the MINI. Diesel-engined cars provide excellent economy, with up to 76 mpg, but the small turbocharged petrol engines aren’t far off delivering up to 60 mpg.

Servicing costs can be slightly higher than main rivals and while some models fit in low insurance groups, the higher versions can get more expensive particularly for younger drivers. Road tax is average, but you’ll pay extra for the higher performance versions.

The front exterior of a red Audi A1

How reliable and safe is it?

“No major reliability issues and typical Audi safety levels are definitely in the A1’s favour.”

The A1 scores well in most reliability surveys with the only issues being reported relating to minor electrical problems.

It's a really safe car and has a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. All models have good safety systems, such as electronic traction control which helps to prevent skidding and brake control.

Engine shot of the Audi A1

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 1.6 TDI

Best for family - 1.4 TFSI Sportback

Best for fun - S1 Quattro

The diesels are the most economical unless you do a higher annual mileage of around 12,000. The petrol version is a great choice as its responsive and quieter. 

The versatile Sportback version is ideal for anyone who needs five doors and a bit of extra boot space, while the S-Line has the best looks and equipment levels. The ride can be a little firmer than other models due to the suspension, but it’s still a rewarding and exciting drive.

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