Audi A1 (2010 – 2015) Review

Audi A1 (2010 – 2015) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
One of the most desirable small hatchbacks around, the Audi A1 does more than just trade on its badge. It's a high quality, good to drive and refined car that is built to last.

+Chic and sporty looks plus a classy interior, efficient petrol engines, plenty of scope for personalisation.

-Efficient and pleasant but not overtly sporty.

Insurance Groups are between 9–28
On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure

If you're looking for the newer model, you'll need our Audi A1 Sportback review.

When Audi decided to join the small hatch set, it went in at the premium end of the market with the A1 to take on the likes of the MINI, DS3 and Alfa Romeo MiTo. The A1 condensed everything that Audi customers loved into a smaller package and it even came with some aluminium exterior panels to keep weight down and mimic the construction of the flagship A8 saloon and R8 sportscar. Its premium image meant A1 prices were steeper than an equivalent Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo, but the Audi justified this with a cabin that feels a very definite step up in quality.

Audi’s A1 rival for the MINI, DS3 and Alfa Romeo MiTo may have been a while in coming to replace the ground-breaking A1, but it more than made up for it in the quality it offered buyers.

Rather than simply lift parts from the existing A3 small hatch or elsewhere in the Volkswagen parts bin, Audi looked to its flagship A8 for inspiration. It’s why some of the switches and buttons you find in the A1 are the same as the A8’s, imparting a sense of solidity and eminent class that not even a MINI with its BMW background gets close to.

The same high class approach was applied to the A1’s equipment levels, which were generous even in the entry-point SE model. It has alloy wheels, air conditioning, a stereo with MP3 connectivity and plenty of safety equipment. There is also a natty 6.5-inch infotainment screen that set the A1 apart from its competition at launch.

Sport and S Line models rounded out the model range at launch. The Sport added, firmer suspension, a Bluetooth connection and Driver’s Information System, while the S Line gained larger alloy wheels, even stiffer suspension and half-leather upholstery. Later in its life, the A1 gained Black, Contrast and Style Edition versions.

There was also the rare as hen’s teeth A1 quattro with its 256PS 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and all-wheel drive. Only 333 of this 152mph pocket socker were built, so finding one will be the first hurdle to adding this modern classic to your garage.

Much more common are the 1.2- and 1.4-litre TFSI turbo petrols offered from launch. Both come with claimed fuel economy in the mid-50s and carbon dioxide emissions low enough to make road tax a non-issue. Both could be had with a manual gearbox or you could opt for the seven-speed S tronic with the larger petrol motor.

Audi also offered the 1.4-litre engine with cylinder-on-demand technology in 140 and later 150PS forms. These engines only provided fuel to half of the cylinders in light driving conditions to save fuel. Or, you could choose the 185PS 1.4 as the quickest non-quattro model.

A 1.0-litre TFSI engine was added in early 2015 with 95PS and this smaller engine feels very peppy and delivers 99g/km Co2 emissions and around 60mpg.

On the diesel front, the A1 started with a 105PS 1.6-litre unit with claimed figures of 70.6mpg combined economy and 105g/km CO2. A 143PS 2.0-litre turbodiesel became part of the line-up in 2011, while in late 2014 an improved 1.6 diesel was credited with 80.7mpg and 92g/km CO2 output.

All A1s are nimble to drive in town and are stable on the motorway. However, beware of the S Line’s harsher suspension as it brings an unwelcome crashiness to the A1’s ride without making it handle any better.

However, you will find the A1 offers more cabin and boot space than a MINI, making it a very strong contender in the small hatch stakes.

Ask Honest John

Is the Audi A1 expensive to insure for a young driver?

"Is an Audi A1 one expensive to insure for a young driver?"
The insurance costs for an Audi A1 very much depend on the model, age and specification of the vehicle, as some versions such as the 1.2 TFSI are in group 9, while some are as high as group 28, which would be considerably more expensive for a young driver. You might want to consider something cheaper like a Volkswagen Polo - we have a list which may be of help:
Answered by David Ross

Audi A1 steering ribbon failure, what are my rights?

"We own a 2015 Audi A1 with less that 25,000 miles. The steering ribbon has failed and they want £1,000 for the repair, I have asked for a contribution from Audi UK as this should not have broken and is not a serviceable part. However, they have stated their three year warranty and that they will not contribute. Is there any legislation to protect against this kind of failure whereby the manufacturer should contribute towards repairs for component replacement for this kind of failure?"
The statute of limitations means you have rights for up to six years after buying the car (five years if you bought the car in Scotland). Sometimes the dealer will make an application for a 'goodwill payment' from the manufacturer but in this instance it would probably be cheaper and quicker to find a good quality independent Audi specialist who will repair the car at a much lower cost than the franchised dealer. You can find an independent garage here:
Answered by Dan Powell

When should I change on the cambelt on my Audi A1?

"Audi recommend changing the cam belt after 5 years or 110,000 miles. Should it need changing after 6 years and only 32,000 miles?"
Yes, all of the components of the cam belt and water pump are susceptible to age-related wear. The aux belt, for example, deteriorates over time - if it fails, it'll kick the belt off and wreck the engine.
Answered by Dan Powell

Can you suggest a quality family car with a decent amount of space?

"We currently drive an Audi A1 and love it, but with the arrival of a new baby we're finding it too small. We're looking for an upgrade but find that the Q-series of Audis have small boots, and only when looking at the Q3 do we think the boot is big enough - and this is a big car! Can you recommend a reasonably sized family SUV or saloon that would match the quality of the Audi brand and drive, but be big enough for a small family? We're also used to driving automatic and would like to stick with this if possible. We have an approximate budget of £15,000."
Have you considered an estate car? A Skoda Octavia could be a good option - it's got a huge boot and £15,000 will get a 2018 example with the 1.4 TSI engine and DSG automatic gearbox. You could also consider the Skoda Superb if you need even more room. If you'd prefer an SUV, take a look at a Honda CR-V.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Audi A1 (2010 – 2015) cost?