Audi five door is a real sporty saloon

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THREE door hatchbacks look more stylish but five door models are far more practical and that is still my view after road testing the latest version of the Audi A1, the Sportback, writes Bryan Longworth.

For the Sportback is the five door version of the A1 which is a premium small car from the German manufacturer that has created a big impression in the UK - I know one young owner who is extremely pleased with his car that has impressed his friends - particularly the females!

That in effect sums up the A1 for the three door with its sporty styling has bigger appeal to younger owners especially while older motorists like me prefer the practicality of a five door which has much easier access to the rear seats for passengers and shopping bags.

But the A1 Sportback will have added appeal to those younger owners with families for that easier access and egress from the rear seats will be very useful for young and very young children and the paraphernalia that goes with such passengers.

This model is slightly larger than the three door A1 and there is room for three on the back seat although rear space is best for average sized passengers otherwise they would be rather cramped.

Sportback like the three door A1 is available with a mix of diesel and petrol engines and my test car was the 1.6 TDI Sport costing £15,675 that had a top speed of 118mph, a zero to 62mph time of 10.7 seconds, C02 emissions of 99g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 74.3mpg.

It was loaded with options including a technology package including satellite navigation (£1,375), xenon headlights (£765), BOSE sound system (£690) and mobile phone preparation (£720) taking the overall total of this car to £22,360.

The Sportback costs £560 more than the equivalent three door which is not a lot considering the extra versatility and practicality involved and I also prefer four doors because they are not as large which makes it easier to get in and out of in tight parking situations.

I found the diesel engine was not the quietest I have driven but it provided plenty of pulling power through the five speed manual gearbox and was extremely economical even when it was driven quite hard and I liked the way it handled which is a feature that also impresses my young friend with the three door A1.

The test car looked good in its red paintwork with a black roof and I liked the interior which had a classy look about it

My Verdict: The most practical premium small car.