Audi carves a turkey
The Citycarver is a mildly crossoverified version of the A1 that doesn’t entirely make sense
Seems a sound plan. While car buyers flock to crossovers like moths to candelabras, dip a brush in the SUV Styling Cues pot and apply it to the A1 (together with a mildly silly name, in best crossover tradition), stand back to admire handiwork, reap possible rewards.
Said handiwork includes an extra 40mm of ride height, a grille swap from the A1’s usual hexagon to an octagon (as per Audi’s Q-series SUVs), and wheelarch cladding – albeit glossily finished, in keeping with the upmarket A1.
The results are mild, more akin to an additional trim level than a standalone model. Other faux-off-road superminis such as the Ford Fiesta Active and Kia Xceed add roof rails for added visual height but the Citycarver disdains that trick. It’s simply a slightly jackedup A1 with chunky sills and bumpers.
That’s exactly how it drives, too. There’s more bodyroll and your head sways a little more in corners than it does in a regular A1, but otherwise it’s business as usual. Recompense for the extra roll is comfier ride quality, like driving an automotive Air Max trainer.
There’s a choice of two petrol engines: a 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder, or a 114bhp 999cc three-cylinder, which is what we’ve tested here with the convenient and swift-shifting (but £1540) DSG automatic gearbox. That would feel extravagant in any other city runaround, but it barely stands out in the A1 Citycarver, because it’s so pricey to start with.
The entry-level 1.0-litre manual costs £22,040, around £2295 more than an equivalent regular A1 and enough to get you into a bigger crossover such as 1.5-litre VW T-Roc, or a topspec Fiesta Active with a chunk of change to spare. Our optioned-up test car weighed in at over £28k. At first, the interior feels worthy of the stiff price with its glossy touchscreen and digital instruments, but then the novelty wears off and the low quality of some of the plastics begins to grate.
Rides nicely and has a strong visual presence but sti price is hard to justify over a roomier crossover or cheaper supermini +++ ++