Audi A1 (2010-2015) Review logo

Audi A1 (2010-2015) Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2010
      Body type
      Small hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“ Small slice of Audi goodness ”

Best bits

  •  Light and compact to drive in and around town with excellent visibility for the driver
  •  Very well kitted out as standard in any trim
  • Efficient, perky engines that are cheap to fuel and run

Not so great

  • Three-door not as practical as some rivals or its own five-door Sportback sister
  • Prices are higher for A1 than equivalents from the opposition
  • Ride is too crashy and firm in S Line models

Read by

Audi A1 Exterior Side

Overall verdict

Audi A1 Steering Wheel

On the inside

Audi A1 Driving Front

Driving

Audi A1 Driving Side

How much does it cost to run

Audi A1 Driving Back

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Audi A1 (2010-2015)

"Audi wasn’t mucking about when it went back into the small hatch market with the A1 in 2010. While this rival for the MINI, DS3 and Alfa Romeo MiTo may have been a while in coming, it more than made up for it in the quality it offers."

Audi A1 Exterior Side

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-litre and 1.4-litre TFSI turbo petrols. Both come with claimed fuel economy in the mid-50s and CO2 low enough to make road tax a non-issue. Both could be had with a manual gearbox or you there was a seven-speed S tronic with the larger petrol motor.


Audi also offered the 1.4-litre engine with cylinder-on-demand technology with 140PS and later 150PS. 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 gives you around 60mpg.


On the diesel front, the A1 started with a 105PS 1.6-litre TDI with claimed economy of more than 70mpg. A 143PS 2.0-litre TDI became part of the line-up in 2011, while in late 2014 the improved 1.6 TDI boosted claimed economy to more than 80mpg.


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 among high quality small hatchbacks.


If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Audi A1 (2018-) review.

Is the Audi A1 (2015-2010) right for you?

The A1 encapsulates all that’s best about Audi in a compact, well equipped and good looking design. Every surface that you come into contact with has a solid feel, making the A1 seem very substantial even though it’s actually quite a light car thanks to the use of aluminium for some exterior panels.


This lightness makes the A1 easy to drive through town and there’s the option of the seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox with some engines. Those engines deliver decent pep in all but the base 1.2 petrol version, which is best limited to urban use.


Practicality is augmented in the A1 range with the five-door Audi A1 Sportback making life easier for loading kids into the back than with the three-door version. Taller adults will find it a little restricted back here, but the A1 makes up for this with a large boot for a small hatch and a split/fold rear seat.


What’s the best Audi A1 (2010-2015) model/engine to choose?

While the S Line trim holds much appeal with its half-leather upholstery and larger alloy wheels to give it the edge in the style stakes, we’d opt for the Sport trim. Despite its name, it has slightly softer-set suspension than the S Line while still being more athletic through corners than the SE.


If you can afford to look for a later version of the A1, the 1.0 TFSI turbo petrol is the pick of the bunch. It may not have the outright power of the 1.4 petrol, but it’s keen as mustard when you want to get a move on.


The decision between three- and five-door A1s will come down to a mix of availability and what you need from the car. The three-door reviewed here has a sportier look and still offers the same rear seat and boot space as the five-door Sportback.


What other cars are similar to the Audi A1 (2010-2015)?

The MINI hatch is the clear rival to the Audi A1 and comes in three- and five-door versions too. While the MINI undoubtedly has an advantage in looks and handling, the A1 is the more rounded overall package.


Others to consider are the Alfa Romeo MiTo and DS3 if you want to go down a more sporting route, though neither is as well finished as the Audi. Don’t discount the Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo as both are superb to drive and offer a huge selection of trim and engine choices.


Learn more

Audi A1 Steering Wheel

On the inside

Audi A1 Driving Front

Driving

Audi A1 Driving Side

How much does it cost to run

Audi A1 Driving Back

Prices, versions and specification