While many mainstream car makers have fallen on hard times, Audi keeps posting sales records. It’s easy to see why, with a model in every class from supermini to supercar. Plus, every Audi is built to the same standard, so its smallest car, the Audi A1, has the solidity of an A6.
When we ran an A1, senior road tester Owen Mildenhall summed it up perfectly, saying: “Each time you get behind the wheel, there’s a sense of being in something special.”
The A1 arrived in late 2010 as a three-door with a choice of 1.2 TFSI or 1.4 TFSI petrol engines and a 1.6 TDI diesel, all with manual boxes. The 1.4 TFSI initially came in 120bhp guise; within months there was a 182bhp dual-clutch S tronic.
At launch, the 1.6 TDI put out 105g/km of CO2, but this was cut to 99g/km in summer 2011. And in spring 2012, the five-door Sportback A1 joined the range, shortly before the fast and frugal A1 2.0 TDI.
The newest addition is the 138bhp 1.4 TFSI Cylinder on Demand (CoD). Launched in spring 2013, it runs on two cylinders when cruising.
The A1’s most obvious rival is the MINI, although the soon-to-be-replaced current model has a much smaller boot and doesn’t come as a five-door. The Alfa Romeo MiTo is sporty and stylish, but interior quality and practicality disappoint.
The Fiat 500 has proven a massive success, as it appeals on many levels, and the sporty Abarth editions are especially desirable. Yet while the car is cute, fun to drive and reliable, it’s a three-door only and just isn’t as practical as the A1.
Owners can choose between fixed or variable service schedules, meaning a check-up every 9,000 miles or 12 months or every 19,000 miles or two years.
While fixed services are £160-£170, a variable service is closer to £290. Cars over three years old are eligible for fixed-price servicing, at £159 (interim) and £309 (major).
Diesels have a timing belt that needs to be replaced every five years or 75,000 miles – this will cost £847 with a new water pump, or £659 without. Once a car reaches three years old, this drops to £539 or £439.
|Model||Insurance group||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions||Annual road tax|
|1.2 TFSI 86||9-12||55mpg||118g/km||30|
|1.4 TFSI 122||15-18||53mpg||124g/km||105|
|1.4 TFSI 140 CoD||21-22||60mpg||109g/km||20|
|1.4 TFSI 185||28||47mpg||139g/km||125|
|1.6 TDI 105||14-16||70mpg||105g/km||20|
|2.0 TDI 143||21-22||68mpg||108g/km||20|