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Used Car Bargains: The Audi A2

Does Audi's most controversial car to date make for an ace affordable family hatchback 20 years on?

Nearly 21 years ago, Audi released the A2, an all-new aluminium framed hatchback designed to shake up the family car market with its excellent fuel economy and distinctive design. However, sales figures were poor, and Audi ended up losing £4,000 on every A2 that they sold. As a result of their unpopularity amongst buyers, these futuristic family cars can now be picked up for less than £1,000 on the second hand market.

Despite driver satisfaction not being top of the A2's design team's priorities, the plucky Audi is at least easy to drive. All-round visibility is excellent thanks to thin A-pillars and a commanding driving position. Furthermore, the steering is light, yet predictable (perfect for city driving) and the five-speed gearbox is silky smooth.

The A2's interior is built to last and still feels solid after two decades. (Image Credits: Aleksandr Vasilevsky)

The A2's interior is built to last and still feels solid after two decades. (Image Credits: Aleksandr Vasilevsky)

The A2 should also be extremely easy to live with. All models boast extraordinary fuel economy thanks to the Audi's lightweight aluminium space frame - all diesel A2s are capable of over 70mpg on the motorway. The cabin is light and airy thanks to the A2's huge windows, not to mention that all of the interior components have a reassuring sense of solidity about them.

Practicality is also excellent - the A2 is perfectly capable of carrying four passengers in comfort, with unparalleled levels of headroom in both front and rear and a surprisingly spacious boot with over 385 litres of capacity.

In terms of reliability, the Audi A2 is, generally speaking, satisfactory. All of the engines used in the A2 had been tried and tested in various other VAG group vehicles and, when looked after, are relatively reliable and easy to maintain. However, the Audi A2 is known to suffer from a wide range of electrical faults, almost all of which are both difficult and expensive to fix.

Prices for Audi A2s start from as little as £700, although you'd have to pay up to £1,500 for a car with a full service history and the more desirable 1.4 TDi diesel engine, still great value when you consider that an equivalent VW Golf would almost certainly cost more to buy, despite being less practical and far more expensive to run.

All things considered, then, the Audi A2 is a far better car than its critics would have you believe. Once you look past the divisive styling, you will find an immensely competent family car that feels just as modern today as it did 20 years ago.

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