Best city cars

Last updated: Dec 3, 2013

City cars sit at the bottom of the automotive tree in terms of size and running costs, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice driving enjoyment or quality, in the pursuit of a well-rounded small car. 

Manufacturers are increasingly trying to cut costs by teaming up with neighbouring carmakers and sharing platforms. Cars like the VW up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii share a large proportion of their parts, but with individual bodies and badges.

There's plenty of choice in the city car market, all of which guarantee low running costs, a comfortable ride and practical interiors. But choice can be confusing, and if you’re unsure of where to look, or are baffled by the options, take a peek at our comprehensive top 10.

Hyundai i10 hatchback

The new Hyundai i10 is one of the best city cars money can buy. For starters, it’s affordable to buy and cheap to run. The 1.0-litre engine can do 65.7mpg with emissions of 98g/km CO2 – making it road tax-exempt. But it also offers class-leading practicality, with excellent interior and boot space; a genuinely fun drive; and possibly the most stylish looks in the city car class. And it comes with a five year warranty – what more could you want? Read more.

Key points

5.0 / 5
Price 
£8,495 - £11,350

Skoda Citigo hatchback

Our city car of the year 2013 went to the Skoda Citigo, and for good reason, too. Its compact dimensions hide a practical interior – and space for four – all wrapped up in a great-value package. Both 1.0-litre petrol engines are full of character and return decent economy, while the light but responsive steering makes it a joy both in and out of town. Read more.

Key points

4.9 / 5
Price 
£8,090 - £10,865

SEAT Mii hatchback

The Skoda Citigo’s Spanish cousin is the SEAT Mii. The two share their platform with the VW up! and offer outstanding value, a comfortable ride and a spacious cabin. Its bargain list price places it above the up! in this list, while impressive economy and emissions ensure running costs are kept to a minimum, too. Read more.

Key points

4.8 / 5
Price 
£8,060 - £11,000

Volkswagen up! hatchback

Technically, the VW up! is the same car as the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii. However, its premium badge means the German carmaker is able to justify a slightly higher price tag. It still offers outstanding value, and brings lots of big car features to the tiny city car market. It’s comfortable, roomy and reliable, while economical petrol motors will rival even the most frugal hybrids. Read more.

Key points

4.7 / 5
Price 
£8,635 - £24,270

Fiat Panda hatchback

Although the Fiat Panda name has been around for over three decades, the current car has been updated beyond recognition. It’s cheap to buy and fun to drive, while the practical cabin is the most versatile version yet. The lively TwinAir, two-cylinder engine is the highlight, but even the frugal diesel feels nippy and responsive. Standard equipment is sparse, but running costs are low. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£8,945 - £12,645

Kia Picanto hatchback

The Kia Picanto is arguably one of the most stylish city cars, and with its extensive seven-year warranty and generously equipped interior, it represents one of the most sensible new car packages on sale today. It’s a more premium car than the model it replaces, and manages to move upmarket in both look and feel. The Picanto is quiet, comfortable and refined as well as economical and cheap to run, too. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£8,045 - £12,495

Citroën C1 hatchback

The tiny Citroen C1 was subject to a light facelift in 2012, and as a result looks more attractive than ever. With list prices on average £500 less than its Toyota Aygo sibling, the C1 is undeniably great value. Entry-level cars are sparsely equipped but top-spec cars come with alloy wheels, Bluetooth and a leather steering wheel as standard. Read more.

Key points

3.6 / 5
Price 
£8,245 - £11,935

Peugeot 107 city car

The agile Peugeot 107 impresses on the move, while the light gearbox and direct steering making town driving particularly stress-free. It gets noisy at high speed, and the sparsely equipped cabin is really starting to show its age. Reliabilty is proven and practicality is on a par with the other cars on this list. It doesn’t do anything superbly, but the tiny 107 is still a great all-rounder. Read more.

Key points

3.6 / 5
Price 
£8,220 - £10,970

Toyota Aygo city car

Based on the same platform as the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107, but the Toyota Aygo has a comprehensive five-year warranty and superior after-sales package. Its tiny dimensions make it a doddle to drive around town, and an economical 1.0-litre engine keeps running costs down. The five-door body offers the best practicality, but the boot is still quite small. Read more.

Key points

3.5 / 5
Price 
£8,700 - £11,620

Toyota iQ city car

If the Toyota iQ was slightly cheaper to buy, it’d be up there with the best in class, including the Skoda Citigo and VW up!. However, its prohibitive list price and cramped interior mean it slips to the bottom of this list. It feels like a higher quality product than the Aygo, and it gets the same five-year warranty. But the bouncy ride and compromised interior space, mean you’ll need a good reason to pick it over its more rounded brother. Read more.

Key points

3.2 / 5
Price 
£11,100 - £14,100

Sponsored Links