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2002 Audi A2 1.4TDi SE £3999

Seen the price of fuel? As I write, diesel costs 142p per litre average, while regular unleaded is just 4p cheaper, says Ray Castle. Looking globally, argy-bargy across the Middle East inevitably pushes up world prices for oil. So don’t expect a price drop at the pumps anytime soon.

Could it be time to ditch your fuel-heavy luxo-barge for something smaller, simpler and cheaper? Fortunately, taking such a step doesn’t mean you must forsake prestige badging. Look, if you will, at this baby Audi offered by our friends at thecarwarehouse.co.uk of Middlesbrough.

While the A2 hasn’t been part of Audi’s new-car line-up for some years, it was in many ways a design ahead of its time. A small, efficient turbodiesel motor and a body made lighter by use of aluminium means fuel economy of 80mpg at best, and emissions low enough to qualify for £30pa road tax.

It may be small but inside it is every inch an Audi. This 2002 car hails from when the make really hit its stride in building vehicles with top quality cabins, and many of the bits used here also found their way into far more costly models. It’s nicely kitted out and safe, too, having four airbags.

All A2s are strictly four seaters – there’s no fifth belt, and so squeezing in an extra passenger is illegal. But its high-set seating helps free up sufficient legroom for all occupants, while the big windows add light and a sense of space.

And although its dinky size suggests it’ll be perfect for town trips and commuting, the A2 remains quiet and comfortable at motorway speeds, too, making it fine for long trips.

Judging from the dealer’s photos, this is a very ‘clean’ example, and that mileage is below average for a diesel of this age. Do bear in mind, though that its running costs (particularly spare-parts prices) will be Audi-sized and consider that those aluminium components will mean that even a minor bump may result in an insurance write-off.

We like this small Audi, a lot. If you’re used to prestige motoring but looking to downsize, could there be a better choice?

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