Top 3 used city cars for £6,000
“Dear Carbuyer, I have £6,000 to spend on a city car for nipping about town. I want something small and cheap to run. What do you recommend?”
City cars have always made great sense for some motorists, owing to their manoeuvrability, compact dimensions and low running costs. Traditionally they’ve offered a relatively no-frills experience to keep prices down, with sparse interiors, dull driving dynamics and little in the way of style.
In the last 10 years, however, they’ve become more versatile and the best city cars now come with some of the options and refinement you’d have previously expected in bigger cars. Because of this, there’s a good selection of affordable used city cars to choose from, and they aren’t all bland and boring.
A budget of £6,000 is fairly healthy for a used city car and there are plenty to choose from with reasonable mileage and useful features like parking sensors and cameras. For this money you can also expect mod cons like smartphone connectivity and infotainment, making the ownership experience much more pleasant.
We’ve put together our top three city cars that tick all the boxes for life in and around town, as well as offering a little extra in the way of convenience. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices but read on for our favourite.
The affordable choice: Hyundai i10
- For: Great around town, cheapest, low servicing costs
- Against: Fuel economy could be better, so-so handling
Hyundai’s affordable i10 isn’t as engaging from behind the wheel as some rivals, but it’s highly capable in town thanks to a relatively high driving position and accurate steering.
The i10 only offers up to 50.4mpg, which puts it at a disadvantage against its rivals here, but you should be able to get one with a year or so left on its warranty, while servicing costs start at about two-thirds of those of the Citigo and Aygo. For £6,000, you can have a 66-plate, 34,000-mile 1.0-litre 66bhp petrol i10 SE, with air-con, Bluetooth connection, RDS radio and cruise control.
The i10’s interior has been built to more of a budget than those of its rivals here, but it is relatively well equipped. A touchscreen infotainment system is available only on top-spec Premium SE post-facelift cars, yet the SE’s Bluetooth connectivity and radio work well enough. We would advise you to avoid the rather spartan base-spec S trim, though. The rear seats offer a surprising amount of legroom and headroom for two adult passengers, while the 252-litre boot is the largest in this test.
The nippy choice: Skoda Citigo
- For: Well made inside and out, good to drive, spacious
- Against: VW up! cousin arguably has more character
The Citigo offers up to 55.4mpg, so it should be suitably frugal. What’s more, the well weighted steering and excellent visibility make it very decent to drive, and it’s more refined than you might expect. Your £6,000 will buy a 2016 1.0-litre 74bhp petrol Citigo with 45,000 miles, in MPI trim. This comes with rear parking sensors, manual air-con and Bluetooth to connect your phone.
Despite not being quite as plush as that of the Volkswagen up! with which it shares its DNA, the Citigo’s cabin is still well made and user-friendly, although somewhat unexciting. The removable PID infotainment system is okay, but not very responsive, and post-August 2016 cars get a dedicated smartphone holder in its place. The Citigo offers decent rear legroom for a car of its size, and there’s no shortage of headroom, either. Its 251-litre boot is 83 litres up on the Aygo’s.
The stylish choice: Toyota Aygo
- For: Swish looks, touchscreen infotainment, economical
- Against: Tiny boot, not as fun to drive as a Citigo
The Toyota Aygo is arguably the most striking of these three city cars, and it’s great in town, too, although its handling isn’t as well rounded as the Citigo’s. Equipment levels are good and sound reliability is backed up by a five-year warranty – you may struggle to find a car new enough for this cover to still be valid, however. Your budget will secure you a 65-plate 42,000-mile 1.0-litre 67bhp Aygo x-play, which gets air-con, touchscreen infotainment and a reversing camera. As with the Citigo, the Aygo is a platform sharer, so look at the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 too if you’re considering one.
The Aygo’s cabin is characterful, but some hard plastics let it down, while getting comfortable can be a challenge for tall drivers because the steering wheel doesn’t offer a huge range of adjustment. One standout feature of the Toyota’s interior is the seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which comes as standard across
the range. On the other hand, a drawback is the lack of legroom in the rear seats, which are tight even for small passengers. The boot has a minuscule 168 litres of capacity, too, which is uncompetitive with the other cars tested here.
Carbuyer’s choice as picked by content editor Charlie Harvey
While the Hyundai may be the cheapest pick and the Toyota the most striking, the Skoda Citigo gets the balance right in all other areas. It may not stand out as much aesthetically but the conservative styling should stand the test of time and it has a bigger boot than the Toyota and a little more charm than the Hyundai. The driving experience is the best of the three overall but if the Skoda badge puts you off (it shouldn’t), you could even consider its cousins the SEAT Mii or Volkswagen Up!, as they’re very similar.
Looking for something a little newer? Check out our best city cars of 2021…