Audi A1 Sportback hatchback: 'worth every penny'

Jan 23, 2014

What the motoring press is saying about the Audi A1 Sportback hatchback:

Price: £14,735 - £22,080

Pros: Top quality interior, superb engines, very stylish

Cons: Expensive to buy, limited rear-seat space, uncomfortable ride

3.9/5, Carbuyer “The Audi A1 supermini follows a similar formula to the ever-popular MINi: cute looks, great handling, efficient engines, and a desirable badge. The Audi A1 Sportback adds a little practicality to that recipe with the addition of two rear doors.

The five-door Audi A1 is a little wider and higher than than the standard A1, which means there is a little more interior space, and there is a great range of turbo petrol and diesel engines, which offer decent levels of power and fuel efficiency. The 1.4-litre petrol engine with Audi's innovative “cylinder on demand” technology is particularly good – it's able to automatically shut down two of its four cylinders when they’re not needed – and restart them when they are, in order to save fuel.

Designed for those who want a premium supermini but are starting to need more space, the Audi A1 Sportback is an upmarket alternative to the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. Don’t be under any illusions, though, the space in the back is still very limited and anyone other than a small child is going to find it a tight squeeze.”

4/5 AutoExpress “On our twisting test route, the two-cylinder mode didn’t have a chance to engage very often, but when we encountered a straight or downhill section of road, the switchover was imperceptible. Considering how popular stop-start has become, this fuel saving technology looks like being the next big thing.”

4/5 What Car? “Back-seat passengers get slightly more head- and shoulder room than they do in the three-door A1, thanks to the Sportback's extra height and re-designed rear seat. The wheelbase remains the same, so legroom and boot space are unchanged.”

4/5 MSN Cars “Exclusive to the Sportback is a contrasting roof to differentiate it from the 'smaller' A1, as well as a clever new engine that has the ability to shut down two of its four cylinders for super-economical driving.” 

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Overpriced for what it is and clearly aimed at the badge snobs. For less than the price of the basic A1 you could buy something like a Hyundai i30 or Toyota Auris, both of which are far more versatile and offer much better value for money than the tiny A1. Quality and reliability are likely to be better too. Auto Express, What Car? etc. are very pro-VW Group (and Ford) and their reviews should therefore be taken with the pinch of salt they deserve.