Is The Audi A1 A Good First Car? (Explained)

The Audi A1 is an efficient and premium small car. With newer models all following the five-door body layout, it is once again gaining popularity with those in search of a spacious, reliable vehicle.

But is an Audi A1 a good first car?

The Audi A1 makes a great first car. They are safe, reliable, and fuel-efficient. They also sport a stylish body and interior. However, Audi A1s are not available in dealerships in the US. The only way to get them into the country would be through importation, which could be expensive and time-consuming.

Continue reading to discover the reasons why the Audi A1 may or may not be an excellent option for a first car.

7 Reasons An Audi A1 Is A Good First Car

Let’s take a look at the top six reasons an Audi A1 is an excellent first car.

1. It Gets Excellent Safety Ratings

The NCAP gave the Audi A1 a five-star safety rating in 2019.

Its safety features include lane departure warning signals, speed limiters, and collision avoidance automatic braking when an obstruction is detected.

The Audi car brand is well-known to be one of the safest in the world, so if you’re looking for a high-quality vehicle that will keep you safe, the A1 is an excellent choice.

2. It’s A Reliable Car

Despite occasional issues with the dual-clutch auto transmission, the chance of encountering any major engine issues is relatively small.

The Audi A1 has received 5-star reliability ratings from owners on the Automobile Association website.

Typical of the Audi brand, the A1 is built for reliability and is a great option for a first car if you want to avoid excessive repairs and service needs.

Audi A1Mercedes AMini CooperVW Golf R
  Class Hatchback Hatchback
Avg. Reliability Rating (out of 5 stars)53.54.54

3. It’s An Affordable Car To Maintain Out Of Warranty

The A1 is built with many of the same mechanical parts as the Volkswagen Polo Vivo.

This makes out-of-warranty repairs affordable as well.

Even without a service plan, the yearly maintenance price of an Audi A1 rarely surpasses $650.00, as reported by ClickMechanic.

 Audi A1Mercedes A-Class HatchbackMini CooperVW Golf R Hatchback
Avg. Annual Maintenance Cost (in USD)650.00900.00846.00903.00

The low service costs, along with the car’s excellent reliability, mean you’ll have peace of mind even after the service warranty expires.

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4. It’s Cheap To Insure

Compared to other compact luxury vehicles, the Audi A1 is very cheap to insure.

Audi A1 owners can obtain comprehensive coverage for just $113 a month, taken as an average from reports by

Since most first-time car owners aren’t looking for expensive insurance and maintenance bills, the Audi A1 is an excellent choice for individuals not looking to make a massive dent in their budgets.

 Audi A1Mercedes A-Class HatchbackMini CooperVW Golf R Hatchback
Avg. Annual Insurance Cost (in USD)1,358.001,540.001,276.001,580.00

5. It’s A Stylish Car

As basically the only competition for the Mini Cooper Hatchback, the Audi A1 sports an impressive body shape and interior finishes for its price range and size.

The A1 is classified as a luxury supermini and supplies high-tech finishes that others in the category may not support.

Suppose you are willing to spend a little extra.

In that case, accessories like tailpipe trims, illuminated door sills, and roof racks could add an urban touch or rugged edge to your vehicle, which could be a gratifying possibility for first-time car owners.

6. It Holds Its Value

The Audi A1 holds its value exceptionally well.

This is a wonderful trait as first-time car owners will eventually look at upgrading their vehicle for something possibly bigger, more powerful, and more expensive.

You might also like: Why Are Audis So Expensive?

 Audi A1Mercedes A-Class HatchbackMini CooperVW Golf R Hatchback
Avg. Value Depreciation At 35,000 Miles (in %)47.352.446.047.3

7. It Is Fuel Efficient

Taking either diesel or petrol, the Audi A1 has one of the best fuel efficiencies available in a small, luxury vehicle.

An Audi A1 with a diesel engine could reach a combined MPG of 76.3, while the petrol 1.4-liter version achieves about 58.9mpg.

Audis are some of the most economical brands of cars when it comes to fuel consumption. Driving one ensures you get way more bang for your buck.

 Audi A1Mercedes A-Class HatchbackMini CooperVW Golf R Hatchback
Combined MPG58.941.230.026.0

2 Reasons An Audi A1 Is A Bad First Car

Despite its stellar reviews, there are some drawbacks to buying an Audi A1 as a first car.

1. They’re Not Widely Available In The USA

The States have never had an extensive market for Audi A1s despite their many advantages.

Even though the Audi A1 is an incredibly affordable compact luxury vehicle, with a base price of $27,500 in Europe according to Car and Driver, its lack of availability in the US means the only way to get one is through importation.

Finding an Audi A1 in a US dealership is close to impossible.

This means getting an imported A1 serviced could be a challenge as well.

2. Importing One To the US Is Expensive

Despite the incredibly affordable price of the Audi A1 in Europe and the UK, this price skyrockets for US buyers as the only way to get an A1 in America is by importing it.

Shipping and clearance fees, along with government taxes, make it an altogether unaffordable endeavor when there are many similar quality cars available in-country at a much lower price.

Is An Audi A1 A Good First Car For A Teenager?

If you’re looking for a first car for your teen, the Audi A1 could be a good option if the quality is your concern.

Although A1s are slightly more expensive to insure than other starter cars marketed toward teens, their overall fuel economy, safety, and stellar reliability ratings make them an excellent choice for a responsible teen with a slightly bigger budget for monthly expenses.

What Audi A1 Years Are the Best For A First Car?

The most reliable and best-value Audi A1 models include the:

  • 2014 Audi A1 1.4 TFSI
  • 2015 Audi A1 1.6 TDI
  • 2020 Audi A1 Sportback

Although slightly pricier, the 2020 Sportback has five doors, which is a far more practical and spacious design making it great for road trips.

Are There Better First Cars Than The Audi A1?

The Audi A1 is not a very popular first car, regardless of its advantages over others in its class.

Competitors in popularity include the Mini Cooper, VW Polo, and Mercedes A-Class. In this section, we compare them to the Audi A1’s suitability for first-time car owners.

1. Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper is the strongest competitor against the Audi A1.

Its overall safety and reliability ratings are right up there with the A1, and its smooth driving experience gives it a slight edge over the Audi.

However, in fuel efficiency, the Audi A1 beats the Mini Cooper hands-down, not only in MPG but the cost of each gallon of fuel as Minis require the premium kind.

If monthly fuel costs are not a concern, the Mini Cooper makes a more than capable alternative to the Audi A1.

You might also like: Is A Mini Cooper A Good First Car?

2. VW Polo

With cheap insurance rates, great fuel economy, and excellent resale value, the Volkswagen Polo provides serious competition to the Audi A1.

It is also far more affordable to acquire, although it does not offer the elegance, spaciousness, sleek feel, or power provided by the A1.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to an Audi A1, the VW Polo may be your best bet.

3. Mercedes A-Class Hatchback

The most significant disadvantage of a Mercedes A-Class Hatchback compared to an Audi A3 is in fuel efficiency and maintenance costs.

The A1 also boasts much better depreciation rates than the Mercedes A-Class, making it a much better long-term investment.

Despite the Mercedes A-Class Hatchback providing a competitive MPG and rivaling the A1 in class and style, cost-wise it is at a disadvantage.

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