The small car market is, without doubt, an extremely competitive one with manufacturers continually looking to offer better value for money. This is not surprising as the cost of a deposit on a brand new small car is probably less than a Lamborghini clutch replacement. This is obviously excellent news for customers who are in the market for a small motor because there are now a plethora of models to pick from. Not only are there lots of choices but the standards are unbelievably high.
So, with all these different models available from a variety of manufacturers, customers could be excused for not knowing where to start looking. So, what sort of things should you expect from a small car and which of those things are most important to you. Are you interested in boot space, lots of extras or a practical spacious interior and a competitive price? To help we thought we’d have at the pros and cons of five of the best models available to consumers.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Probably at the slightly more expensive end, however, the Yaris hybrid has almost double the fuel economy of a conventionally powered small hatchback at almost 80mpg. It is also very reliable and will undoubtedly hold its value very well. On the downside, it is slightly cramped in the rear and a relatively firm ride. Also, the infotainment system that comes with this model is probably of a lower standard than other cars in this range.
With compact dimensions and excellent visibility, the Hyundai i10 is the perfect choice for city driving. However, the 1.2-litre petrol engine means it is not out of its depth on the motorway. The ride is comfortable irrespective of the speed you are travelling at and compares favourably with many larger models. The i10 has five seats and decent rear space and comes with lots of safety features as standard. The cons are, it is quite pricey to buy outright at around £12,500 and the non-turbocharged engines can be a bit lacklustre.
It seems like the Fiesta has been around forever and like a fine wine, it just keeps getting better. The Fiesta offers owners a brilliant drive with great fuel economy and CO2 emissions mainly due to the punchy Ecoboost engines. Another obvious benefit is the good old Ford reliability which now comes in a stylish package. It could be argued that some of its rivals offer slightly better value than the Fiesta and that its practicality is decent but not class-leading. However, the Fiesta is still right up there when it comes to small cars.
If you are looking for a small car that handles sharply then there are undoubtedly better and cheaper alternatives like the Fiesta and Seat Ibiza. However, if you like your interiors plush and spacious and your ride a comfortable one then the 208 could be the car for you. The punchy and frugal 1.2 Puretech 100 engine packs plenty of power meaning you can cruise quietly and efficiently. Things that go against it are it’s relatively expensive to buy, has a so-so infotainment system and probably isn’t as much fun to drive as other makes.
The Sandero is comfortable, nice to drive and has lots of space meaning it compares favourably with some of its much more expensive rivals. The Dacia is the cheapest new small car available in the UK coming in a few thousand pounds less than some of its competitors. However, there have to be compromises and these come in the form of lower safety ratings, entry-level basic trims and the fact they are probably not as quiet as other small cars on the market.
There are of course lots of other options available to you, but we feel the ones listed above are worthy of consideration.