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Audi A1 interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

Sit in the driver’s seat and you feel like you’re getting the full Audi experience. Through the leather steering wheel – which is flat-bottomed on high-spec cars for a sporty feel – you’ll see digital dials that run the same system as more expensive Audis. To your left is a large infotainment screen that’s subtly angled towards the driver, with physical climate controls and a bank of buttons underneath. It’s very much like sitting in a smaller Audi A3.

We like the mix of physical and digital controls, and the dials and buttons are all very tactile. The steering wheel buttons could perhaps be more clearly marked but, once you’ve played with them and cycled through the display screens, they’re easy enough to use.

Most of the switchgear feels high quality, and the textured panel across the dashboard both feels great and lifts the interior ambiance. Without it, the A1 would feel quite dour inside. Elsewhere, the materials used aren’t quite up to the same standard as you’d find in costlier Audis, and we found more soft materials in the 2022-on Volkswagen Polo. Both these cars use the same cheap-feeling creaky door handles, however, which is disappointing especially as you’ll use these handles daily.

The A1 has a sportier look than the Polo, but that does impede rear and over the shoulder visibility. That’s something to bear in mind on the entry-level Technik trim in particular, which misses out on parking sensors.

Standard equipment

While you don’t get the beepity beeps on Technik trim, you still get plenty of standard equipment. There’s cruise control to stay at a set speed and a speed limiter to make sure you don’t go faster than you want, plus a lane-departure warning system that’ll alert you if the car thinks you’re drifting out of lane. You also get air conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, bright LED headlights, auto lights and wipers, an alarm and an infotainment system with DAB radio and phone connectivity.

Going for the Sport trim nets you rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloys and a bigger touchscreen, plus all the features fitted to Technik.

Audi’s S Line trim adds a sportier look, with reprofiled bumpers, a bootlid spoiler, tinted rear windows and alloys that are a size bigger than Sport. An A1 S Line also gets slightly firmer suspension for improved handling and part-leather-effect seats with an S Line logo.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that the Black Edition spec adds black exterior trim to S Line models. This extends to the badges, grille surrounds, wing mirrors and roof. It also has 18-inch alloy wheels.

S Line Competition trim comes exclusively with the 40 TFSI petrol engine – it’s rare but is the closest thing Audi makes to an A1 hot hatch, so is worth looking out for if you want rapid acceleration. The similarly rare Vorsprung is a top-spec edition with kit like climate control, heated front seats, parking assistance and a reversing camera. Finally, there’s also the A1 Citycarver, with jacked-up SUV styling like the Ford Fiesta Active.

Infotainment and audio

The infotainment system is one of the most impressive parts of the A1, especially considering the car’s cheaper price than other Audi models. The system includes a home screen with tiles and a sidebar with shortcuts, both of which make it easy to navigate around the various menus. It’s fast to react and has haptic feedback, so you know when the system has reacted to your prodding.

Entry-level Technik cars have an 8.8-inch touchscreen, while all other versions have an upgraded 10.1-inch screen. While the bigger screen fills out the space better, both systems have the same main features – including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity.

You may need to use your phone’s apps for directions, because sat nav isn’t included on many A1s – even many high-spec cars miss out on it when it’s standard on well-specced Polo models. Although, with that being said, the Polo’s sat nav isn’t the easiest system to use, so you may prefer to use your phone in the VW anyway.

Rear seat space

Rest assured – the latest A1 can actually fit adults in the rear seats, which is already an improvement on the previous-generation A1. That’s helped by the latest A1 being only sold as a five-door car, whereas the last car came with three or five doors. There’s enough leg and knee room for two relatively tall adults to sit behind one another, and space for your feet beneath the seats. The A1 pretty much matches the Polo in this area, and beats the Ford Fiesta.

Headroom in the A1 is marginally less impressive than those cars, but it’s still generous enough. The Polo does have more window glass for the back-seat occupants, which makes it feel slightly airier and improves visibility. Like the Polo and like many of the cars in this class, there’s just enough room for three adults to sit side-by-side on the rear bench, although it’s going to feel cramped and is only really an option for short journeys.

The A1 might feel like a more expensive Audi up front, but not so much in the back seats. As well as the cheap-feeling door handles, the materials generally feel quite hard and there’s basically nothing back there – in our high-spec test car, there were no rear USBs, no centre armrest and no seatback pockets.

Both the outer rear seats have Isofix child-seat mounting points, and there’s a third set on the front passenger seat, too. The doors open wide, making it easy to get child seats in and out.

Boot space

The A1’s 335-litre boot is 65 litres up on the last-generation car, and that figure puts it nearer the top of the supermini class than the bottom. It’s bigger than the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris, but smaller than the Polo, SEAT Ibiza and Renault Clio. Fold the seats down and the space increases to 1,090 litres.

The seats themselves don’t fold completely flat, and there’s a step in the boot floor. Some rivals offer a false floor to create a flat load bay, but not the A1. That means you always have the 335-litre boot at your disposal, but it does also mean there’s a bit of a lip to haul heavy items over.

The boot opening is wide and square, and there are a couple of hooks that can be used to secure items.

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