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Sunday 5th February

Buying

What should I be paying?

The A1 won’t be a cheap car to buy. Oh sure, there’ll be tempting finance deals around boasting low entry tickets, but if we take the 94bhp three cylinder as our £18,910 starting price, watch what happens. You’ll want it in Sport trim. With the twin clutch gearbox. With those two packs. And suddenly £18,540 has become £24,595. And that’s a very non-supermini amount of money. After which you’re looking at CO2 emissions of 137g/km and the promise (never kept) of 47.9mpg. Hardly standout for a small car, is it?

Case in point: when TG drove the 1.5-litre, 147bhp engine in S line trim equipped with the seven-speed auto, the spec sheet claimed 44.8mpg. Not brilliant, but you’d expect some drop-off with more power. The real-world figure? 37mpg. Which is a little hard to swallow when the engines can’t even compensate with an inspiring soundtrack.

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Still at least the A1 is a car to be proud of. It’s a handsome hatch, aggressively detailed and distinct from anything else in the class. One million different visual connotations too, says Audi. It’ll certainly take you some time to sort on the configurator.

Rivals are numerous. Mini, which took its foot off the gas a few years back, is the most obvious. The five door is not a looker, but it drives with a measure of alertness and interest that distinguishes it. After that you’re into the mainstream where everyone from Peugeot to Ford will sell you a very able, well rounded supermini for thousands less. And you just know they’ll be deals on them for thousands more. But none is an Audi, and when push comes to the shove of resale values, that matters.

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