Top 10 Small Cars

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If you’re looking for a new small car then you’ve come to the right place. Here our experts name the top 10 best small cars you can currently buy.

1. Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo is one of those small cars that’s just really good at everything. Want comfort? It’s got it. How about a plush feeling interior? Yep, that’s also present and correct. Add to this a spacious, practical interior and a range of great engines, and the Polo is tough to beat. Its only downfall is that it’s not quite as fun to drive as some cars on this list.Read our review

2. Peugeot 208

In typical French fashion, the Peugeot 208 is a small car that majors on style and panache. It has one of the most eye-catching and upmarket interiors around, as well as a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines. There’s even a zippy electric version. We liked it so much that we gave it our ‘Little Legend’ gong in the 2019 carwow car of the year awards.Read our review

3. Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 might be pretty tiny in stature, but this small car has a good sized boot and enough passenger space to keep taller adults comfy on short hops. It looks the part, and is easy to drive too. The interior feels a bit cheap in places, but it’s backed up by Hyundai’s five-year warranty and there’s plenty of safety equipment.Read our review

4. Mini 5-door hatch

The Mini 5-door hatch is a small car with a big personality. Not only does it have those iconic retro-inspired looks, it’s fun to drive and comes with a range of peppy petrol engines to keep you grinning. However, space in the back is a wee bit tight and the boot is small. Other cars on this list are comfier, too.Read our review

5. Seat Ibiza

The Seat Ibiza might be one of the oldest small cars on this list, but it still looks fresh. It’s also pretty good fun to drive, and has an impressively spacious interior. Its range of punchy petrol engines are very good too, but its cabin doesn’t pack a huge amount of wow factor and feels a bit cheap in places.Read our review

6. Ford Fiesta

If you want a small car that puts driving fun at the top of its priorities list, then you should definitely consider the Ford Fiesta. It’s available with a range of zesty turbocharged petrol engines, and is a hoot on a twisty back road. Alternatives are more practical than the little Ford, mind.Read our review

7. Dacia Sandero

The Dacia Sandero might be the cheapest new car on sale, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of your consideration. Not only does this small car have an impressively spacious and surprisingly stylish cabin, it’s comfortable on the motorway and has decent performance too. It feels a bit low-rent in places, but that’s to be expected. Its safety rating isn’t great, though.Read our review

8. Audi A1 sportback

The Audi A1 Sportback is a small car that goes big on plush, upmarket feel. The infotainment suite looks particularly high-tech, and there’s a good amount of space for passengers and their luggage too. It’s not quite as stylish as a Mini, however, or as fun to drive.Read our review

9. Renault Clio

The Renault Clio is attractive enough on the outside, but it’s on the inside where this small car really impresses. Not only is this stylish interior easy on the eye, it’s well-equipped too. It also has one of the largest boots of all the cars on this list, and is very easy to drive.Read our review

10. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is a small car that appeals on many fronts. Not only does its hybrid powertrain make it very economical, it makes it punchy in a straight line too. The little Toyota is also fun to drive, and comes with a lot of standard kit. There isn’t too much room in the back, though.Read our review

More people buy small hatchbacks than any other type of car, so here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid…

What Car? team


The small car market is one of the most fiercely contested, which is great news if you’re after this sort of vehicle, because it means there are stacks of models to choose from and standards are incredibly high.

To have a chance of topping the class, a car must be as comfortable on the motorway as it is in the city. It must offer a decent amount of equipment, enough boot space for weekly shopping trips and an interior that’s practical enough to cope with the demands of families. And it must, of course, be competitively priced.

In order to help you find the right small car, we’ve picked out our top 10 – and named the ones you should avoid. And remember, if any of them take your fancy, you can potentially save thousands without any haggling by using our New Car Buying service.10

Hyundai i10

The i10’s compact dimensions and great visibility make it ideally suited to the city, yet it doesn’t feel out of its depth on faster roads, thanks to a 1.2-litre petrol engine that has enough oomph for stress-free journeys. Ride comfort is impressive at all speeds, too, even compared with many larger models. However, the i10 is quite pricey for such a small car.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £12,821Save up to £806or from £152pmNearly new dealsFrom £13,795Leasing dealsFrom £171pm

Toyota Yaris

Our True MPG test proves that the new Yaris hybrid has a remarkable ability to sip fuel gently; in town, it achieved 80mpg, which is almost double the economy of conventionally powered small hatchbacks. It should also be very reliable and hold its value well. Just bear in mind that the ride is quite firm and the rear seats cramped.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £19,675Save up to £1,387or from £183pmNearly new dealsFrom £21,357Leasing dealsFrom £201pm

Pros

  • Excellent real-world fuel economy
  • Toyota’s reliability record
  • Slow predicted depreciation

Cons

  • Below-par infotainment system
  • Firm ride – especially on models with 17in alloys
  • Cramped in the back

8

Audi A1

Now in its second generation, the A1 offers an enjoyable driving experience and has room for two adults to sit comfortably in the back. There’s even a spacious boot, remedying one of the criticisms of the original model. However, while there are still some nice touches, the interior doesn’t feel significantly classier than the cheaper Volkswagen Polo’s, which is why Audi’s smallest car goes no higher on this list.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £19,238Save up to £959or from £199pmNearly new dealsFrom £19,990Leasing dealsFrom £232pm

Pros

  • Smooth ride and tidy handling
  • Relatively quiet at higher speeds
  • Very slow depreciation

Cons

  • Cheaper trims not well equipped
  • Mini feels much plusher inside
  • Peugeot 208 offers more for less money

7

Ford Fiesta

While plenty of small cars feel surprisingly grown-up, nothing puts a smile on your face like the Fiesta. It’s particularly good in sporty ST-Line Edition trim, which brings stiffer springs to help the car stay more composed through corners, yet has barely any impact on ride comfort.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £16,398Save up to £1,001or from £224pmNearly new dealsFrom £18,000Leasing dealsFrom £207pm

Pros

  • Brilliant to drive
  • Punchy Ecoboost engines, especially the Hybrid versions
  • Good fuel economy and CO2 emissions

Cons

  • Some rivals are better value
  • Decent but not class-leading practicality
  • Important safety kit not standard

6

Seat Ibiza

The Ibiza is almost as enjoyable to drive as the Fiesta, plus it’s more spacious and should hold its value better. Even the 94bhp version of the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine pulls eagerly from low revs.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £16,034Save up to £1,248or from £206pmNearly new dealsFrom £14,999Leasing dealsFrom £195pm

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Roomy by class standards
  • Strong TSI petrol engines

Cons

  • Lots of road noise
  • Resale values could be better
  • Firm ride in FR versions

5

Peugeot 208

If you are searching for a sharp-handling small car, there are better and cheaper alternatives – including the Fiesta and Ibiza. But if a rich interior, a comfortable ride, quiet cruising manners and decent interior space drive your purchasing decision, the 208 could well be the car for you.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £17,630Save up to £1,969or from £232pmNearly new dealsFrom £18,500Leasing dealsFrom £227pm

Pros

  • Very comfortable for a small car
  • Smart and high-quality interior
  • Punchy and frugal 1.2 Puretech 100 petrol engine

Cons

  • Steering wheel design can cause issues
  • So-so infotainment system
  • Not much fun to drive

4

Volkswagen Polo

The latest Polo is available with a broad range of engines and trim levels, ensuring that there’s something for everyone in the range. It also has a classy interior that’s well equipped even in entry-level Life trim. Previously, the Polo has lost out to the Ibiza because it couldn’t justify its additional expense, but impressive deals mean that’s no longer an issue.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £17,588Save up to £1,030or from £183pmNearly new dealsFrom £16,000Leasing dealsFrom £206pm

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Generous interior space
  • Attractive PCP finance deals

Cons

  • Ford Fiesta is more fun to drive
  • Gutless entry-level petrol
  • Standard safety kit could be better

3

Dacia Sandero

The Sandero is comfortable, generously equipped (at least in our recommended Comfort trim) and very spacious, so it would be well worth considering even if it cost the same as its rivals. Except it doesn’t; it’s the UK’s cheapest new car. Just bear in mind that there are quieter and safer small cars if you’re prepared to spend (quite a lot) more.Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £11,245or from £130pmUsed car dealsFrom £4,995Leasing dealsFrom £149pm

Pros

  • Amazingly good value
  • Lots of space for passengers and luggage
  • Comfortable ride

Cons

  • Poor safety rating compared with rivals
  • There are more entertaining small cars to drive
  • Some other small cars are quieter

2

Skoda Fabia

While it’s not as cheap as the Sandero, the latest Fabia is still well priced. Plus, it’s similarly spacious, even more comfortable and a hell of a lot safer. So, it’s worth the extra if you can afford it..Read our reviewNew car dealsTarget Price from £14,980Save up to £447or from £189pmNearly new dealsFrom £13,495Leasing dealsFrom £196pm

Pros

  • Huge boot
  • Roomy interior with clever features
  • Fairly supple ride

Cons

  • Interior is hardly plush
  • Not as practical as the Honda Jazz
  • Bug-prone infotainment system

1

Honda Jazz

The Jazz’s space and seating flexibility puts other small cars to shame, but crucially it’s not just a box on wheels; it’s brilliant even if you take practicality out of the equation. Its hybrid engine, for example, delivers strong performance and excellent real-world fuel economy. In fact, the Jazz is the best small car on sale today.

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