Volkswagen up! hatchback

£8,870 - £13,580

The Volkswagen up! is one of the best small city cars on sale today. It competes with our car of the year, the Hyundai i10, and shares many of its parts with the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii.

Arguably one of the most appealing parts of the up! is the VW badge on the bonnet. Inside, the up! is pretty basic, but it's well built and simple to operate, while buyers can choose to fit a removable sat-nav system that's handy for town driving.

The up! can be specified with a choice of two small three-cylinder petrol engines that are cheap to run, but quick enough for city driving and the occasional motorway trip. They suit the up!'s agile handling and city-friendly dimensions.

A high level of personalisation keeps the up! and its driver in touch with their youthful side. You can choose from a wide range of colours and alloy wheels, plus a number of option packs that add neat touches such as chrome trim. For the bolder buyer, the Rock up! model (a latecomer to the range) comes with a striking grey stripe running along the bonnet, roof and bootlid.

While the up! costs about £500 more to buy than the equivalent Skoda Citigo or SEAT Mii sister model, its superior desirability and style just about justify the extra money. But bear in mind that the entry-level Take up! misses out on some basic equipment, such as air-conditioning, so you'll probably end up paying for some optional extras. You’re better off making sure that you choose the right spec at the outset.

The Volkswagen up! starts from under £9,000 for the basic Take up! model, with the high-end special-edition Groove up! and Rock up! models costing over £12,000 and £13,000 respectively.