Years: 1999-2005Price new: £14,650Engine: 1.4 3cyl, 74bhp
Few cars were as ahead of their time as the Audi A2. Designed to showcase the brand’s expertise in aluminium engineering, the innovative A2 packed A6 executive saloon-rivalling interior space into a supermini-sized package. Launched in 1999, the distinctive Audi immediately caused a stir with its style and efficiency.
There were a couple of petrol options, but the 1.4-litre TDI was the pick of the bunch. The three-cylinder engine is rattly at idle, but smooths out at speed, while the A2’s low kerbweight makes for sprightly performance. It’s hardly fun to drive, but the clever engineering adds real desirability.
Sadly, buyers weren’t ready for the costly A2, and production ceased in 2005. Today, the low running costs and roomy interior would be a surefire hit.
Click the links below for the other 1,400cc cars that have made our list.
In this review
- 1IntroductionAuto Express celebrates 1,400 issues by driving our favourite 1,400cc cars from the last 25 years
- 2Reliant Scimitar SSTReliant may have been most famous for its three-wheelers, but it has also dabbled in sports cars.
- 3Caterham Seven K SeriesClassic looks and modern tech are an enticing mix in a sports car, and the Caterham Seven Classic has them both.
- 4Volkswagen Polo BlueMotionEco-focused superminis are common now, but even in the late noughties that wasn’t the case
- 5Mercedes A140It’s easy to forget how influential the original A-Class was. Mercedes’ first people carrier was tall, but had a short wheelbase.
- 6Audi A2 - currently reading
- 7Volkswagen Golf GTE
- 8Vauxhall Nova 1.4SR Boxy styling and blistered wheelarches inspired a generation of car fans in the eighties, and the Vauxhall Nova SR was the aspirational warm hatch for young drivers who wanted thrills without the bills.
- 9Fiat Panda 100HPThe Fiat Group has used 1.4 power several times in its history
- 10Abarth 595C
- 11Rover 214When planning this road test we knew there was one car that had to be here: the Rover 214.