Best small cars and superminis

Last updated: Aug 11, 2014

The best small cars currently on sale offer more than just cheap running costs, small dimensions and stylish looks. The latest crop now boast quiet engines and improved practicality, wrapped up in a fun-to-drive package that also makes them easy to park and simple to drive around town.

 

There's plenty to choose from, with almost every manufacturer offering a small hatchback to compete with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Kia Rio. However, if you’re not a fan of those, there are plenty of other brilliant superminis worth their weight in gold. Below, we’ve rounded up our top 10 from Skoda to Suzuki, and everything in between.

Ford Fiesta hatchback

The Ford Fiesta sums up the supermini class. It’s everything a small car should be, combining stylish good looks, cheap running costs and a fun driving experience, while offering a decent level of standard equipment, room for four and a reasonable-sized boot. It’s easy to drive around town, yet won’t feel out of depth on a busy motorway. It’s a perfect first car too, thanks to the inclusion of Ford MyKey, allowing parents to set the car’s maximum speed and stereo volume to reduce the risk of accident. Read more.

Key points

4.7 / 5
Price 
£9,995 - £17,995

Skoda Fabia hatchback

The Skoda Fabia shares a large number of parts with the popular VW Polo and SEAT Ibiza. It costs less to buy than the others, yet comes with a smart looking exterior and a high-quality dashboard. There’s a wide range of petrol and diesel engines, including a high-powered Skoda Fabia vRS version, which will do 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds. It’s worth noting that there’s a new model due later this year, but if that doesn’t concern you, there’s plenty of deals to be had on the current car. Read more.

Key points

4.3 / 5

Kia Rio hatchback

The Kia Rio is arguably the best value car on this list. It’s cheaper to buy than the Volkswagen Polo, yet packs way more standard equipment – and even comes with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. Reliability is good, economy is excellent and if you go for one of the fuel-sipping diesels, you’ll pay no road tax either. That said, the Ford Fiesta is still the one to beat for driving fun. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£10,095 - £16,695

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

The Volkswagen Polo has been around for nearly four decades – and for good reason. It may be one of the more expensive cars on our list, but the high quality interior, grown-up driving experience and comfortable ride make it one of the best, too. It’ll hold its value better than near enough every car in our top 10, and if you go for one of the frugal BlueMotion models, should cost just pennies to run. Read more.

Key points

4.1 / 5
Price 
£11,250 - £19,865

MINI hatchback

The MINI (in one form or another) has actually been on sale even longer than the VW Polo. Nowadays, however, the brand is owned by BMW, and from the inside it’s clear to see. Thanks its high quality materials, comfortable driving position and high-tech user interface, the MINI feels just as grown up as the Volkswagen. It’s loads of fun to drive, and while it might be more expensive to buy than a lot of the cars on this list, it’s surprisingly cheap to run. Read more.

Key points

4.1 / 5
Price 
£13,750 - £21,070

SEAT Ibiza hatchback

The SEAT Ibiza is starting to show its age, but that’s not a reason to discount it in light of newer rivals. It’s stylish, cheap to run, and if you go for one of the turbocharged petrol engines, feels brisk and fun to drive, too. The Volkswagen Polo feels like a higher quality product, and the Skoda Fabia is slightly better value, but there’s no denying the Ibiza is still a beautifully rounded small car. Read more.

Key points

4 / 5
Price 
£11,410 - £17,635

Renault Clio hatchback

Clever styling makes the current Renault Clio look like a three-door car, when in fact, all models boast five-door practicality. The rear door handle is hidden high in the door frame, giving it a sleek look that even the most style-conscious buyers will struggle to turn their noses up at. There’s a decent-sized boot, and thanks to some big car features, it’s much more comfortable and quiet on the motorway than ever before. Read more.

Key points

3.9 / 5
Price 
£10,995 - £17,895

Hyundai i20 hatchback

With a new model on the way, the Hyundai i20 is starting to feel its age. While that’s hardly going to work in its favour, the Korean manufacturer is still offering a five-year unlimited mileage warranty on all its cars, along with decent fuel economy, a quiet interior and a decent list of standard equipment. Some models do look a bit pricey, but secure yourself a good deal and there’s no avoiding the fact that the Hyundai i20 is still a brilliant small car. Read more.

Key points

3.9 / 5
Price 
£10,180 - £13,680

Suzuki Swift hatchback

The Suzuki Swift is a great, but little known supermini that offers an interesting alternative to more mainstream alternatives on this list. It’s fun to drive, great to look at and full of standard equipment. There’s a small boot and the interior is noisy at motorway speeds, but for a great value and nippy small car, it’s certainly worth considering. Read more.

Key points

3.8 / 5
Price 
£10,799 - £16,439

Peugeot 208 hatchback

It’s probably a reflection of how competitive the supermini class is, to discover the stylish Peugeot 208 at the bottom of this list. There’s a wide range of economical petrol and diesel engines to choose from, with the top-of-the-range Peugeot 208 GTI challenging the Ford Fiesta ST for driving fun. There’s enough room for two adults in the back of the spacious 208, but up front a clumsy dashboard design disappoints, with the small steering wheel obscuring the driver’s view of the dials. Read more.

Key points

3.8 / 5
Price 
£9,995 - £18,545

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