“You can think of the Volkswagen Polo GTI as a mini-Golf GTI. It’s well built and good to drive, but lacks the fun factor of the Ford Fiesta ST.”
£16,230 - £20,775
"The BMW 2 Series convertible is a compelling package, offering top-down thrills, superb handling, an excellent range of engines and very attractive styling."
£26,045 - £37,715
The Ford Focus estate offers the practicality of an estate car with the low running costs and involving driving experience of a compact family hatchback. It perhaps looks a bit dull and unexciting compared to some of the competition (which includes the VW Golf estate, Skoda Octavia estate, SEAT Leon ST, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, Kia Cee’d SW and Peugeot 308 SW), yet it offers a great range of petrol and diesel engines at a fairly reasonable price.
£18,180 - £26,985
The all-new Mercedes B-Class made its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show is essentially a more practical version of the current Mercedes A-Class. The new model features a sportier body, sleeker styling and increased interior space. Priced above many of its more mainstream rivals, the B-Class will remain a premium product offering well-equipped, high quality interiors.
£21,500 - £25,695
The Citroen C5 Tourer is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable family estates on the market – but it’s stylish and luxurious too. With sales of premium cars such as the BMW 3 Series now outstripping those of mainstream models (including the Ford Mondeo), you can understand why Citroen bosses decided to move the Citroen C5 estate (known as the Tourer) upmarket.
£25,260 - £29,275
If you want a compact and genuinely sporty hatchback that combines strong performance with agile rear-wheel-drive handling, only one car will figure on your shopping list: the BMW 1 Series. All of its main rivals, which include the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class, are front-wheel drive. While still being fun to drive, they feel a little more familiar and predictable than the BMW.
£20,245 - £31,855
The original Smart ForTwo two-seater was developed with inner-city driving in mind – famously, it could park perpendicular to the kerb, thanks to being no longer than a conventional car is wide. Small turbocharged petrol engines also meant it was cheap to run.
£11,125 - £14,220
The Skoda Fabia is a spacious and comfortable supermini that rivals cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. It's based on the Volkswagen Polo and shares a lot of components with that car, feeling very similar to drive and with a lot of familiar buttons and switches on the dashboard and steering wheel.
£10,600 - £17,240
The Mazda2 is a smartly styled and robustly built supermini that's also great to drive. It’s well equipped and cheap to run, too. However, the interior is cramped and the engine line-up is limited.
£11,995 - £17,395
"The Fiat 500 is a great buy if you want a stylish retro-looking city car that offers good value and decent running costs."
£10,690 - £16,000