Audi A2

A2 still looks great, and has quality cabin and prestige badge. But only dealers can lift bonnet.

The A2 is my ultimate example of the benefits of downsizing, with its prestigious badge, solid build, minimal running costs and Tardis-like interior.

While the Audi’s looks don’t appeal to everyone, get past those and you’ll benefit from at least 46mpg from the entry-level 1.4 petrol car, or at best 65.7mpg from the fantastic 1.4-litre TDI diesel. The latter emits 119g/km of CO2, so road tax costs £35 a year. Brilliant!

The only trouble with diesel A2s is that dealers and owners know how good they are – and price them accordingly. I dug up this 2002 1.6 FSI with only 42,000 miles. It’s not as cheap to run as a diesel, but at £6,500 it looks great value. And there are lots of them on the market. Plus, you can still cut your bills in the petrol Audi. The 1.6-litre is good for 47.9mpg, while its 144g/km emissions mean £120-a-year road tax.

If you do plump for a diesel, watch out for worn turbos on abused cars – the A2’s bonnet can only be opened at a dealer, but excessive black exhaust smoke will give the game away. Parking damage can be costly to repair, too. Still, the boot has more space than a Ford Focus, at 390 litres – even though the Audi is only 3.8 metres long.

If you must have a diesel, a high-mile A2 starts at under £4,000. Who needs a big car?

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