Can the Audi A1 Citycarver Really Carve Up the City?

3d ago

6.5K

Audi have always shown it has the innate ability to fill gaps in the market which you didn’t think needed to be filled. However, there was obviously a number of buyers out there who loved the A1 Sportback, but wished it had just that little bit more ground clearance. Audi also are no strangers to putting their cars through their paces off the beaten track, a la the original quattro and their ever-expanding Q SUV range. This brings us to the jacked-up A1 Citycarver, which as the name suggests is more about handling all weather in the urban jungle, rather than jungle interior. Let’s see how it stacks up. Get it?

The A1 Citycarver starts at $45,900, and looks just as chiselled and clean cut as the A1 Sportback, be it with added butch-ness front and rear. That aforementioned ride height has been raised to 40mm. While you won’t be climbing every mountain and fording every stream, that gravel driveway will be a bit easier to negotiate.

Under the bonnet, sits Audi’s 1.0L TFSI three-cylinder turbocharged engine with 85kW and 200Nm of torque, and you also get Audi’s uber slick seven speed automatic box. Oddly with the Citycarver, it is a case of front-wheel-drive only, though you can spec your Citycarver with Sports Suspension and Adaptive Dampers for an $2300NZ. You also get 17-inch alloys as standard. The A1 Citycarver weighs around 40kg more than the standard A1, but you will still reach the New Zealand national limit in eight seconds, all while sipping away at 5.3L/100km.

Inside things are pretty much identical to the regular A1, which is not bad thing. The only tell-tale sign of Citycarver-ness is a slightly higher driving position. You do get the feeling you are sitting on it rather than in it. However, you do still feel rather cocooned by your surroundings.

The driver focused Audi MMI Infotainment system is a cost option, but worth it. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard kit along with two USB ports. Everything feels well-built in typical Audi fashion, and the digital instrument cluster is clear and concise. Would love to have seen dual zone climate control, but that’s just me.

Front and rear seat passengers can find plenty of room to get comfy, though lankier folk may feel somewhat compressed in the rear. Luggage space ranges from 335L to 1090L with the rear seats folded flat.

On the move, the A1 Citycarver shows itself to ever so slightly more comfortable at commuting. Audi in general has come a long way in terms of ride comfort in recent years, but it is nice to have the A1 following suit. Every pothole is dealt with easily. The only trade-off is the Citycarver not as planted in the bends as its siblings.

The turbo three pot is not the most powerful engine in this segment, but the Citycarver still manages to chug along nicely. Things don’t really take off until the turbo pressure builds above 1800rpm, but once you are there, its great. Despite being devoid of all-wheel-drive, the Citycarver has grip to spare, and its direct steering gives it a point and shoot feel, allowing you “carve” up the Friday night traffic with ease.

At a mere $2,000NZ more than the regular A1, there is plenty to like about the Audi A1 Citycarver. While the absence of quattro may deter some, it is still a pretty decent package. A combination of a decent drive, great quality and good looks means this carver of the urban jungle is worth considering.

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