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Audi A1 Sportback

SECTOR Supermini  PRICE From £13,980 – £21,270  FUEL 47.9 – 74.3mpg  CO2 99 – 139g/km

There’s always a lot of talk of company car drivers downsizing, but at what point do they decide to stick rather than twist?

Dropping from a big saloon to hatch is obviously a fairly well trodden path, but from hatch to supermini? I’m not so sure. There are too many compromises involved, especially for drivers doing a decent amount of business mileage. Perhaps only the MINI has proved a genuine downsizing option in this regard.

However, the new A1 Sportback should make those with a mind to go minimal think on. With its five doors, refined and well-proven engines, classy Audi styling and good build quality it could prove a useful downsizing proposition.

The A1 Sportback range will initially feature three TFSI petrol engines and one TDI diesel producing between 86bhp and 185bhp, and will be joined in the summer by a fifth engine – the 2.0-litre TDI with 143bhp.

But we drove the 122bhp petrol and 105bhp diesel, and the diesel is easily the best of the two for a company car driver: lower emissions, quiet, more urgent and long legged on the motorway.

Luggage compartment capacity for the five-door is on a par with the three-door A1, while it is marginally bigger too, by a matter of millimeters, and can seat five, not four. It also gets a contrasting colour roof that the three-door doesn’t.

Features common to the SE, Sport and S-Line options include alloy wheels, remote central locking, air conditioning, electric windows and mirrors, split folding rear seat and a six-speaker single CD Concert audio system and a 6.5-inch retractable display.

The 99g/km 105 diesel costs just over £15,000 on-the-road, which in these days where the price of a family hatch will easily bust through the 20 grand barrier, means this looks decent value from a downsizers perspective, but fairly expensive (but not prohibitively so) from a supermini.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.