Audi A1 (2010 – 2015) Review

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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

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.

What's it like driving the Audi A1 (2010 – 2015)? Read the Audi A1 (2010 – 2015) Road Test

Looking for a Audi A1 (2010 - 2015)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

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

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
Is £300 expensive for a first service?
"I have been quoted £300 for a first service (10,000 miles) on my 2017 Audi A1 1.0 TFSI by my Audi dealer. I can't go to another garage as it is still under warranty. Do you think this is about right?"
The service cost is about right. But we say every car needs an oil service at least once a year or at least every 12,000 miles whichever comes first. We'd knock thousands off the price we would pay for a car that had not been serviced to this regime.
Answered by Honest John
We bought an electric car but it doesn't have the range that was promised - can we reject it?
"My niece traded in a diesel 2013 Audi A1 for £6600 against a 2015 Nissan Leaf on PCP a week ago. This was on the basis that the Leaf would perform at least 70 to 80 miles driving. The car is supplied through a Nissan Dealer and the battery is showing as 12 bars, but she has had the battery nearly die at around 45 miles. She wants her old car back. They say they will sell to her for £8000 as they have serviced it and refurbished the alloy wheels plus are telling her that the Leaf is on finance and so not their problem. Please could you advise on how to proceed going forward. Dominic Tattersall"
That's fair enough. If they have refurbished her A1 then £8000 for it is fair. But if they sold her the Leaf on a PCP and the Leaf is "not of satisfactory quality" because its range is a mere 45 miles rather than the promised 70 to 80 miles then she can reject it to the selling dealer and the finance house jointly. See: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/consumer-rights /
Answered by Honest John
Which hatchback should I buy?
"I have a fair budget for a used car, preferably a petrol hot hatch with reasonable MPG consumption and also suitable for everyday car use. I am thinking of something up to a 2.0-litre engine. I am looking currently at the SEAT Ibiza III FR, SEAT Leon Cupra, SEAT Ibiza VI FR, SEAT Leon, Audi S3, Audi A3, Audi quattro, Volkswagen Golf V GTI, and Volkswagen Polo V. Can you please advice me what is the best choice and also what are the most common issues with the above cars."
The current Ibiza Cupra 1.8 TSI or Polo GTI 1.8 TSI are good, but a Ford Fiesta ST goes and handles better. Avoid Audi A1, Ibiza and Polo with the 1.4 Twincharger engine and DSG transmission. Current A3 with EA888 engine okay; previous one had trouble with timing chain, piston rings and coking up of inlet valves. The current SEAT Leon FR 1.8 TSI with independent rear suspension is okay. I'd avoid the previous generation of hot Leon because they are ugly. Avoid Golf V and VI because they are the most troublesome cars recorded. Polo and Ibiza 1.2 with timing chains can have timing chain trouble. Check them all out at http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/
Answered by Honest John

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

Buy new from £19,492 (list price from £19,635)
Contract hire from £195.76 per month