New Audi A1 Inspires Geography Teachers

The new Audi A1 is the supermini equivalent of a high-school geography teacher.

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The new Audi A1 is the supermini equivalent of a high-school geography teacher - but this is not as dreary as it sounds. Whereas many small cars, such as the Alfa Romeo Mito, focus on quirkiness and fun, the A1 only claims to be a dignified cruiser. Sounds fair enough, so much like studying ancient landscapes the A1 is more rewarding than it first appears.

Now, this land loving run-around is available with various engines. The most powerful is the 1.4-litre 120bhp petrol that propels the A1 to 60mph in 9 seconds and races towards the nearest teaching convention at 126mph. This model averages 54mpg, but if your seminar is many miles away the 1.6-litre 103bhp diesel is a more economical choice. This returns an impressive combined average of 70mpg and hits sixty in 10.2 seconds.

The A1's handling is rather familiar as it is based on the cheaper Volkswagen Polo. No need to scoff though. Polo underpinnings mean impressive body control, sharp steering, confidence inspiring traction, and of course minty fresh breath. However, unlike the Polo this prestigious hatchback's ride is rather firm, so long journeys can be more draining than a week long scientific lecture.

On the plus side this robustly constructed vehicle's interior is very sophisticated and easily one of the nicest in class. Entry level SE models feature air-conditioning and an iPod connector to replay your favourite topography sessions. The Sport trim has a leather steering wheel, sport seats, and that mysterious Bluetooth thing - and top of the range S occupants can slip into the half covered leather seats. All this from £13,145 on the road.