By Sarah ToozeIf a company car driver or fleet manager decides to opt for a smaller vehicle to save money, one of the trade-offs is usually less interior space.For a small three-door car, the Audi A1, however, fares pretty well on this front. The boot space was put to the test during a recent trip to the airport. With the rear seats up a suitcase and rucksack swallowed up a fair chunk of the space. That's fine for one person but not so good if you have luggage for two people or more. However, fold the split rear seats forward - which can be easily done in seconds rather than minutes - and you get a flat loading area. The boot space increases from 270 litres to a generous 920 litres.In comparison, the A1's main rival the Mini offers drivers just 160 litres with the rear seats up and 680 litres with them folded. The Citroën DS3, meanwhile, has the edge over the A1. With the rear seats in place it offers another 15 litres over the A1 Sales figuresNewsinsightManufacturernewsFleetprofileRemarketing analysisNews digestCar RecruitmentreviewsOur fleet Audi A1 1.4 TFSI 185 S LineFactfileCost P11D price £20,516BIK tax band 17%Class 1A NIC £481Annual VED £115RV £6,275Running cost 34.27ppmCurrent mileage 1,533Test mpg 36.4SpecificationEngine (cc) 1,390Power (bhp/rpm) 185/6,200Torque (lb/ft) 184/2000CO2 (g/km) 139Official mpg 47.9Max speed 1410-62mph (sec) 6.9* Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)Compact A1 surprises with space and versatility(285) and another 60 (980) with the seats down.But what about space for rear passengers? The DS3 comes out on top again as it can fit three passengers in the back while the A1 only has space for two adults.However, when a 5ft 10in colleague sat in the back of the A1 he found there was plenty of legroom. The coupé like roofline does cause a problem for headroom though. My colleague found his head was against the roof and he wasn't enthusiastic about the prospect of a long journey in the A1. We also discovered that putting the front seat forward to allow someone to scramble into the back wasn't as straightforward as it could have been. The headrest of the driver's seat skims the roof so you either have to put the headrest down or give the seat a decent push forwards. There are no complaints about space up front though and the driver's seat is one of the most comfortable I've sat in.Headroom in the back is tight for a man of average height
Our fleet Kia Sportage 2 1.7 CRDi 2WDDiesel proves its worth over petrol counterpartFactfileCost P11D price £20,425BIK tax band 20%Class 1A NIC £564Annual VED £115RV £4,975Running cost 35.92ppmCurrent mileage 8,935Test mpg 44.4SpecificationEngine (cc) 1,685Power (bhp/rpm) 114/4,000Torque (lb/ft) 192/1,250CO2 135Official mpg 54.3Max speed (mph) 1070-62 (sec) 11.9* Running cost data supplied by KeeResources (4yr/80k)By Gareth RobertsThe Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi took a backseat to its petrol counterpart, the 1.6 GDi, at Fleet News recently, allowing us to compare the two.The 1.7 CRDi is achieving around 44.4mpg, as opposed to a claimed combined of 54.3mpg, while the 1.6 GDi returned 33.1mpg, significantly less than its claimed combined of 44.1mpg.Not good if you're a high-mileage driver, even when you take into account the price differential between fuels and employee's BIK charges.The problem is that while the 1.7 CRDi engine is very responsive, the 1.6 GDi is sluggish and requires you to rev the engine at a much higher rate to get any sort of performance. Admittedly it's difficult when comparing against the slightly bigger diesel engine, but the performance of the petrol version was extremely disappointing. The P11D value of the 1.6 GDi is £17,110 compared to £20,425 for the 1.7 CRDi, while CO2 emissions for the petrol version are 149g/km as opposed to 135g/km for the diesel.Given the 3% diesel BIK surcharge, an employee driving the diesel variant would fall into a 20% BIK tax band, compared to 19% for the petrol car. That would mean a 20% taxpayer driving the 1.6 GDi paying £650 per year compared to £817 for an employee driving the 1.7 CRDi.But how do the employer's costs compare? First year VED rate for the 1.6 GDi is £130 compared to £115 for the 1.7 CRDi, while Class 1A NIC costs are £449 and £564 respectively.Meanwhile, the all-important running costs on a three-year/60,000-mile cycle favour the petrol variant on paper. Its 37.07p per mile rate includes fuel at 13.72p per mile, compared to 38.18p per mile with fuel at 11.64p per mile for the diesel. However, if you travel 100 miles in the 1.7 CRDi at 44.4mpg you will pay around 14.38p per mile for the diesel, compared to 18.75p per mile at 33.1mpg for the petrol.