It isn’t often I drive a car around to review it. As somebody who used to travel a lot for work, I have had my fair share of trials, but there is something rather special about driving a car as if you would be owning it. When Audi got in touch to let me try out their Audi A1 CityCarver, it sounded awesome. The car comes with an engine that is just shy of 1 litre, but being turbo-charged means it packs a mean punch. The drive is both smooth and powerful, meaning that you can get to 60mph in under 10 seconds. Packed with both tech and safety features, this car was an awesome drive, and I don’t say this often, but I miss driving it!
Read on more to find out more about my experience.
|Audi A1 citycarver 30 TFSI (85 kW)|
|Engine type||Inline 3-cylinder engine|
|Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression||999 / 74.5 x 76.4 / 10.5|
|Max. power output in kW (hp) / at rpm||85 (116) / 5000 – 5500|
|Max. torque in Nm (lb-ft) / at rpm||200 (147.5) / 2000 – 3500|
|Top speed in km/h (mph)||198 (123.0)|
|Acceleration, 0-100 km/h (0-62.1 mph) in sec||9,9|
|Combined fuel consumption in l/100km||5.4-5.2|
|Combined CO2-emissions in g/km||122-118|
|Unladen weight according to EU (excluding driver) / (including driver) / gross weight limit in kg (lb)||1140 (2513.3) / 1215 (2678.6) / 1680 (3703.8)|
The Price Options
The absolute basic price to get one of these new costs you £22k.
The one we reviewed came with the most basic engine option of 30 TSI. Add another £1k for 35TSI, and another 2k if you want automatic options for both.
There are various packs you can add on top. Ours came with the Technology Pack, which is an extra £1695. That comes with all the phone and navigation tech you could ask for. However, if you want great speakers and good parking tech like cameras and stuff, you need the Comfort and Sound Pack, which is another £1150. Ours did not come with that.
If you want to go a bit more basic and just settle with Dual Climate Zones and tinted windows, there is the Plus Pack, that costs £695.
Our trial model also included things like heated seats, which are not available in the UK.
Our model had a recommended on the road price of about £26k.
If you go Audi Approved used, you can get a brand new one (registered last month) for £21k, which I am assuming is the basic model.
If you went for just a regular Audi A1 (not CityCarver), and didn’t mind it being a few years old (2013), they come as low as around £7k.
You can obviously shop around as well.
The Look and Feel
The car itself has an SUV vibe about it. In fact, you will not be blamed if you think this is something like the A3 or a much bigger car.
You get the usual LED lights, as well as a sporty metallic grill both front and back to give you the sporty feel. Also included is a whole AUDI dashboard, with their own MMI technology, more on that later below.
So, first thing’s first. What does it feel like to drive? Simple answer: very very good! For a car that is designed to be dynamic and sporty, but somehow fit the city streets, it really works very well. The drive is both smooth and powerful.
Three drive modes are offered: dynamic, eco and auto. Auto worked best in terms of mileage, but if you want to have some fun, just leave it on dynamic. The car perks up a lot and putting the foot down is a serious pleasure. Even ECO has all the power, but it revs up a lot slower than the dynamic mode.
You also have a ‘user’ mode, which allows you to set up a combination of the above three modes.
The car we had came with the technology pack. That means you get the AUDI standard sat nav, Android Auto and Car Play, as well as a wireless charging tray. Two USB ports let you connect and charge your device, and of course there is the 12V charger slot too.
I found the sat nav to be predictably a bit slower than the kind of thing you get on your phone. It does offer a Google search, but for some reason it just wouldn’t work. The Google search is powered by a built-in SIM, so it could be something to do with connectivity.
The dashboard offers two screens. A big central touch screen that lets you play with all the settings as well as get all the media and navigation details.
The second screen is where you would normally see your speedometer, revs, etc. This can be configured to show you any safety features, your sat nav (a smaller screen) as well as media. More TRIP functions can also be played and viewed with over here.
While the bigger screen can happily show you nav through Apple CarPlay etc, it doesn’t come on the more central screen, which is where your eyes more easily go. As such, the built in nav is good enough that you end up not relying on the CarPlay anyway.
Other tech features such as cruise control, speed limit, heated seats, dual climate control and all weather lights were also included in our car, and were brilliant and spot on.
As already mentioned, the ride was very smooth. Even when subjected to the usual potholes that appear every winter, it would go over them rather well. This is more impressive for a car that is designed to give you a fast and sporty vibe.
There is also dual climate control as well as the ability for the car to get warm very very quickly in the cold winter months.
Heated seats is a feature not available in the UK, but that was a perk I particularly enjoyed on the said cold winter mornings.
Being a dad, perhaps my most favourite features were the built in safety ones. While the model I have didn’t come with cameras all around (which I thought would be a basic for the tech model), it did come with rear parking sensors.
What was more impressive was the lane and front collision sensor.
The Lane sensor makes sure you stay in lane. If you drift close to the edge, it would vibrate your steering wheel and gently nudge you away from the edge. Similarly, the front collision sensor keeps an eye on the cars in front, and ensures you have a safe braking distance between yourself and them.
Both of these features kicked in around 37mph, so I am assuming they are designed to trigger at 50kph.
The Small Car for Parents
We have a child, and almost any and every car I will ever look at will have to come with safety features focused towards kids.
The Audi A1 Citycarver offers iso-fix attachment points both in front and the back. You can turn the front airbag off if you like.
You don’t get the usual child-lock on the rear doors. However, as soon as you are driving, all the doors automatically lock themselves.
However, it has to be remembered that this is a small car, so the space inside is one of that. It may look bigger on the outside, but it really doesn’t offer the same kind of room on the inside.
Same goes for the boot space – it is definitely on the smaller side. You can fit in your basic 2 suit cases, but if you end up with a pram, that is going to take most of the space in your boot. So, okay for most city uses, such as shopping, etc, or going to work, but you will struggle to fit a small family and their goods in here if you are going to go on holiday.
More information on the Audi A1 CityCarver can be found on the Audi website. You can see the price discussion above, or obviously look up your local Audi dealer.
I had this car for a week, and it was essentially a very fun week. I am sad that I wasn’t able to drive it more, and or had it longer, but that is the nature of reviews. All in all, if you are looking for a small, reasonably priced but fun car, this is it.