Whilst not a cheap and cheerful option, the A1 is certainly one of the most affordable options in the Audi range.

With its main competitors — the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Mini Cooper how does a used Audi A1 fair? A never-ending stream of plaudits from both consumers and critics alike, as well as being the What Car? Car of the Year 2011, suggest that it's doing pretty well. We take a quick look at this stunning supermini both inside and out.

Whilst certainly not the cheapest supermini on the market, this doesn't seem to be deterring consumers with a little extra pocket money. The prestige of owning an Audi is one thing, but there are plenty of other advantages that make the A1 a seriously tempting buy.

At first glance, the interior is the most obvious pointer as to where your money is going. While the exterior of the A1 looks good, it's when you get behind the wheel that you realise you've got a better class of vehicle. Turn on the ignition and that's where your choice of engine becomes important.

The entry-level 1.0-litre 5-speed petrol engine is fine for city living but doesn't fare so well on a motorway journey, so if you're using it for a long commute or take regular weekends away, you'd be well advised to opt for the 1.4-litre 6-speed option instead. If power is more your thing, there's a top of the range 2.0-litre that can get you from 0-60 in under six seconds (just bear in mind the price-tag). The drive itself is a neat mix of sturdy reliability with the odd element of hair-raising fun; the basic model drives confidently, and with the higher-spec A1 you can go full pelt into a corner without losing any traction.

On the inside, the build quality is superb and the dash is full of well-labelled and clear instruments. You also get a decent entertainment system across the range, with plenty of additional extras should you have a little extra in the budget. In terms of space, it's a great car for those with a young family; leg room in the front is excellent, but due to the roof design, it can be a tight squeeze in the back if you've got a full car. Giving your friends a lift to town is all well and good, but it may get a little uncomfortable on a longer journey. Boot space in the Audi A1 is decent – better than most competitors in its class – and with the back seats down it's capable of carrying bulkier items.

All in all, there is enough choice in terms of engine and optional extras to separate it from its main competitors. If you want to experience the joy of driving an Audi (and who doesn't?) then the A1 is a great place to start.

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