Smallest cars to buy
Looking for the smallest cars on sale in the UK right now? Read on for our rundown of the tiny cars that should be on your shortlist.
When it comes to parking in congested cities, compactness is king. Narrow cars help with slotting through congested streets, but no car is as efficient as a bike – so here we’re focusing on the shortest cars you can currently buy, rather than the narrowest – ones that make finding a parking space simple and that are able to squeeze onto the shortest of driveways.
The original Smart ForTwo was one of the UK’s smallest cars and much was made of its ability to park at right angles to the kerb – it was as long as most other cars were wide. Today’s buyers want more interior space, so the current ForTwo is a little longer, and so are its contemporaries – but as all other cars have become so much larger recently, the cars on this list are still remarkably tiny.
Read on to discover what are the smallest cars for sale in the UK right now.
At just 2,338mm long, the Renault Twizy is the tiniest car on our list by some distance. It’s also the narrowest, thanks to a seating arrangement that means you sit one behind the other. It’s a quirky, all-electric car that’s certainly eye-catching, but with no side windows or doors fitted as standard and a spartan interior, it’s little more practical than a scooter. At least the interior is easy to wipe down, but unless you’re driving it in the warmest of weather, you’ll need to wrap up. For the majority of us, the other cars on this list will be of more use, more of the time.
Think of the smallest car in the UK and the Smart Fortwo is likely to come to mind. Although the current car is larger than the original, it’s still so tiny that you’ll wonder how Smart managed it. Measuring 2,695mm from nose to tail, the Fortwo is just about short enough to pull off its perpendicular parking trick. As its name suggests, the Smart Fortwo has seating for two (the Forfour below has, you guessed it, four seats, and is bigger as a result), and a remarkably large boot. In fact, it’s almost as big as a Ford Fiesta. It’s great to drive around town, and a clever crosswind assistant means the narrow Fortwo is unaffected by winds when driving at speed.
Despite its diminutive size – just 3.6 metres long and 1.6 metres wide – the Suzuki Celerio has a remarkably spacious interior with room for four adults. There’s an impressive 254-litre boot, too; fold down the rear seats and that increases to 725 litres. The Celerio has a 1.0-litre petrol engine that’s at its best around town, managing an average of 65.7mpg (less if you do lots of urban driving) and offering decent performance for nipping through city traffic – something that’ll be made even easier by its tight 9.4-metre turning circle.
The Toyota Aygo is all but identical to the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108, which is why we’ve bundled them together. The 3,455mm Aygo is ever so slightly shorter than the others, which measure 3,466mm and 3,475mm respectively. They’re about the same price as the VW/SEAT/Skoda trio below, but while the Aygo and friends are slightly larger on the outside, their boots are smaller. Nevertheless, they look great and offer the option of a fold-back roof panel that gives a convertible feel without the cost and complexity.
The all-electric Peugeot iOn has been on sale for a while now, but the car’s high purchase price means it remains a rare sight on the road. It measures just 3,474mm long and has space for four – although adults in the rear might start to complain long before the battery’s 93 mile range is depleted. There’s a 166-litre boot, which is smaller than most other cars on this list, but the rear seats fold if you need more. Performance is lively around town, and the weight of the batteries makes the car feel more stable when cornering than its narrow and tall stance suggests.
It’s the second entry from small car specialist Smart. As its name suggests, the Forfour is a four seater and is a more useable car than it’s smaller sibling. The 3,495mm car is remarkably nimble, and having the engine positioned under the boot floor means it has a turning circle that’ll make a black cab jealous. But the engine’s location comes at a cost – the boot measures just 180 litres – although this can be increased by tilting the seats forward. Power comes from a 1.0-litre or a more powerful 0.9-litre engine with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
Although the Volkswagen up! is mechanically identical to the SEAT Mii and the Skoda Citigo, it’s also the shortest of the three – although not by much. The up! measures 3,540mm, against the 3,557mm SEAT Mii and the 3,563mm Skoda Citigo. But with only 23mm – less than an inch – between them, we’ve included them all here. Whichever you one you choose, there’s space for four inside and a boot that’s far bigger than you’d expect in a car like this. All are powered by a 1.0-litre petrol engine (although there’s also an electric Volkswagen e-up!), and they’re good fun to drive around town while still capable of a motorway cruise.
Few cars offer the retro chic that oozes from the Fiat 500. And measuring 3,571mm from end to end means it provides the compact dimensions vital for parking in Milan or Manchester. Inside, it’s surprisingly roomy with (just) enough space for four adults, although the lack of a five-door model hampers practicality. Boot space isn’t amazing but its 185 litres of space grows to 550 litres when you fold the back seats. With the wheels pushed right out into the corners of the car, and great visibility, it’s an easy car to park. And a ‘city’ mode makes the steering ultra light so moving into tight spaces is a cinch.
The smallest car in Hyundai’s range is also one of the smallest on sale in the UK, at 3,670mm long and 1,680mm wide. Inside and out, the latest i10 is even more stylish and is finished to a remarkably high standard despite its low price. There’s also plenty of space for five people, plus 252 litres of boot space. It still uses the same 1.0 or 1.2-litre engines from the old car, both of which work well around town, with the latter offering better motorway performance. The i10 might be one of the smallest cars you can buy but it has more technology and interior space than ever before. Combine those qualities with improved driving dynamics and Hyundai’s five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, and you have a car that’s well worthy of consideration.
The Renault Twingo might be the Smart Forfour’s sister car, but at 3,595mm, it’s a full 10cm longer. In pretty much every other regard, it has the same attributes as the Forfour: a tiny turning circle, five doors, a small boot and folding rear seats. To our eyes it’s more attractive than the Smart – and then there’s the benefit of its cheaper prices right though the range.