Audi A1: Goodbye mad hatch

  • Our time with the excellent A1 comes to an end
  • We've loved the engine, gearbox and brilliant kit
  • The big issues were the ride and the price

After an exciting and rather fast-paced six months, the Audi A1 is set to leave the Parkers long term fleet.

The first thing to say about the A1 is that, for the most part, it’s been brilliant. I did have some trepidation about downsizing from the larger Hyundai ix35 in to the little hatchback. What it lacked in size and space, however, it more than made up for with its performance and quality.

That performance was rather frenzied, with the A1 needing just the slightest touch of the accelerator to become a little frantic. This turned out to be a big bonus when you got caught behind some slow traffic on single lanes, or nipping through traffic on the outskirts of London.

The seven-speed S-Tronic automatic gearbox was just as brilliant as the 182bhp engine. It had a rapid change that was nice and smooth when you were cruising about, but would change quickly when you needed that extra bit of power.

Then there was the excellent interior finish and the brilliant kit. The DAB radio was amazing and meant I could listen to 6Music at any time, as well as 5Live, without the interference and crackles. The Bose sound system was very good too.

Unfortunately, not everything was quite as smooth as this - including the ride. Sitting on 18-inch wheels and stiff suspension meant that the Audi was rather firm and long journeys could get a little tiring, especially on any stretch of road that wasn’t in a very good state.

If you were opting for an A1, I would order one with smaller wheels. The problem is that, because of the harsh ride, it took me some time before I noticed a puncture. Even with the tyre completely running flat, it seemed the ride was the same as it had always been. Not until things got louder than normal did I pull over to investigate.

Finally, my biggest concern with this car is the cost. It’s been the bugbear throughout my time with the car. Whenever I think how great it is, I’m always reminded that in this specification it costs an eye-watering £25,660.

That’s more than a Skoda Superb estate 1.8 TSI SE Plus. More importantly, that's a whopping £7,730 more than a RenaultSport Clio.

Ouch.

Current mileage: 9,154 miles

Average mpg: 35.4mpg (ind.)