High 10 greatest small automobiles to purchase 2023
Metropolis automobiles and superminis make up the majority of latest automotive gross sales within the UK – and with good motive. The perfect small automobiles on sale are low-cost, sensible, simple to drive on congested trendy streets and – as trendy superminis and metropolis automobiles change into extra refined, refined and protected – they more and more characterize real options to bigger hatchbacks, saloons and even SUVs.
Vehicles just like the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta have come a good distance over a number of generations and now are nearly as sensible, spacious and comfy as family-sized hatchbacks from a couple of years in the past. Equally, metropolis automobiles just like the Kia Picanto and small crossovers just like the Ford Puma show there’s exceptional breadth of means throughout the small automotive section.
Small automobiles additionally make plenty of sense in relation to working prices and upkeep; small, environment friendly engines return nice gasoline economic system and emit low ranges of CO2 for cheaper first-year highway tax, small wheels imply cheaper tyres and most are topic to the bottom tier of servicing pricing at a most important seller. Insurance coverage must also be cheaper than that for a automotive from the courses above.
This high 10 includes a vary of the perfect superminis and metropolis automobiles that we’ve examined. All provide an ideal steadiness of practicality, economic system, consolation and a good driving expertise, with every providing a unique tackle an analogous recipe. Whether or not it is a sporty driving expertise, comfy trip or an uncompromised give attention to worth, there’s a small automotive to go well with all tastes and budgets.
Finest small automobiles to purchase
- Renault Clio
- Skoda Fabia
- Fiat 500
- Dacia Sandero
- Ford Puma
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Volkswagen up!
- Hyundai i10
- Kia Picanto
- Peugeot 208
1. Renault Clio
A agency favorite of many UK drivers, the fifth-generation Renault Clio has lots of its rivals crushed in key areas together with tools ranges and total driving expertise.
We discovered the Ford Fiesta extra enjoyable to drive within the supermini class, however the Clio continues to be a pleasure behind the wheel due to its superior platform. The steering offers loads of suggestions and there’s a well-judged steadiness between physique management and luxury.
The Clio is on the market with 4 completely different petrol engines and a diesel, and there’s additionally a E-Tech hybrid model to select from. We preferred the TCe 100 – which makes use of a turbocharged petrol creating 99bhp, however the 129bhp 1.3-cylinder four-cylinder TCe petrol engine makes higher use of the superb chassis.
The inside is the place the Clio actually shines. Even within the lower-spec ‘Iconic’ model, the standard of the cabin is spectacular for a automotive of this measurement and commonplace tools contains cruise management, LED headlights, autonomous braking, lane-keep help and traffic-sign recognition.
At 391 litres, boot house is greater than you get in a Fiesta and with the rear seats folded there’s a wholesome 1,069 litres obtainable. Costs for the Clio begin from beneath £19,000 so it’s additionally cheaper than the Fiesta.
2. Skoda Fabia
Though the Fabia sits on the identical MQB-A0 platform because the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza (and shares loads of know-how in addition to), it’s the Skoda that’s our favorite of the VW Group superminis.
That feat might be attributed to a powerful vary of engines with a number of wonderful turbocharged petrol models, in addition to its refinement. The Fabia feels extra akin to a shrunken Golf lately, with out the annoying infotainment touch-sensitive controls.
The expansion over the previous-generation Fabia implies that Skoda’s supermini is extra sensible than ever. The 380-litre boot house is similar to a Golf’s and there’s an assortment of useful storage bins and baggage hooks.
Though the Fabia’s entry-level mannequin is barely costlier than the Ibiza, it’s a very good £4,000 cheaper than the VW Polo.
3. Fiat 500
The second-generation mild-hybrid 500 continues to be on sale from beneath £15,000, however the third-generation Fiat 500 is barely obtainable as an electrical automobile. Present 500 house owners, tempted to make the soar into an EV, will discover that the entry-level worth is available in at round £24,000. whereas we discovered the driving place a lot improved on the earlier mannequin’s. If it’s essential to, you possibly can quick cost at as much as 85kW, which provides you with an 80% cost in 35 minutes or 30 miles of vary in simply 5 minutes.
Area inside is healthier within the entrance – helped by a rise in inside width of 42mm and headroom by 10mm – however fairly restricted within the again, although there are solely two seats. The boot stays at 185 litres, however there are helpful cubbies dotted across the cabin. For these in search of drop-top enjoyable then the convertible 500c will enchantment.
The five hundred stays an ideal wanting metropolis automotive, delivering loads of enjoyable with an upmarket really feel that belies its metropolis automotive standing, we expect so extremely of the small Italian automotive that we gave it the 2021 and 2022 Metropolis Automotive of the 12 months award. 2023 will see the introduction of the new Abarth model which goals so as to add some all-electric scorching hatch flavour to the vary.
4. Dacia Sandero
The Dacia Sandero’s trump card has at all times been its low price ticket. Now based mostly on the present Renault Clio (the outdated Sandero was based mostly on a decade-old Clio), the brand new Sandero is rather less refined than among the newest crop of superminis however nonetheless holds up nicely towards its extra polished competitors.
Go for probably the most trendy 1.0-litre petrol and also you’ll be met with a supermini that’s good to drive and comfy, even when it’s not probably the most refined automotive in its class. The Sandero is a no-frills new automotive that prioritises worth for cash, however low-cost doesn’t equal nasty on this occasion. Do keep in mind that the Sandero solely has a two-star security ranking from Euro NCAP, nevertheless.
Costs begin at slightly below £13,000 for the Important model, whereas the top-spec Consolation automobiles are priced at round £14,000 and include cruise management, rear parking sensors, an eight-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
5. Ford Puma
The Puma compact SUV is among the hottest automobiles in Britain, and for those who handle to get behind the wheel it received’t take lengthy to determine why. It makes use of the model’s World-B platform that additionally sits beneath the Fiesta, so it drives brilliantly.
The controversial alternative of utilizing a compact coupe’s nameplate from the flip of the century appears to have settled – a mirrored image on how good the Puma is. The present automotive comes with Ford’s mild-hybrid unit and begins from beneath £25,000, undercutting the Focus by round £2,500.
A completely-electric model of the Puma is about to reach in 2024, which is able to broaden its enchantment even additional.
6. Vauxhall Corsa
The most recent Vauxhall Corsa shares a platform with the Peugeot 208, together with an all-new petrol engine. The excellent news is that the Corsa is a breeze to drive in on a regular basis circumstances, with the steering and different controls all feeling mild at low speeds.
From the surface, Vauxhall’s supermini seems neatly styled, with its clear, trendy traces serving to it to face out from the group, whereas the comfy cabin boasts good trim high quality and up-to-date tech.
Away from the petrol and diesel-engined choices, there’s the all-electric Corsa-e, with its 134bhp electrical motor and 50kWh battery set-up offering a 200-mile-plus vary, together with the advantages of zero emission driving.
Vauxhall has carried out an ideal job with the most recent Corsa, and patrons clearly agree as a result of it was the perfect promoting new automotive of 2021. A brand new facelifted mannequin in 2023 will incorporate Vauxhall’s ‘Visor’ grille design, bringing it into line with the Mokka and Astra.
7. Volkswagen up!
The Volkswagen up! has been with us since 2011, however a refresh in 2016 has saved the small German automotive aggressive towards fierce metropolis automotive rivals such because the Fiat 500 and Kia Picanto.
The usual up! comes with a 64bhp 1.0-litre engine, whereas there’s additionally a frugal all-electric e-up! mannequin, offering low working prices and a spread of as much as 159 miles. The GTI model makes use of a 113bhp 1.0-litre TSI unit and begins from round £17,000 – making it the most cost effective bona fide scorching hatch in the marketplace.
The up!’s social gathering piece is that it manages to really feel like a a lot greater automotive than it truly is, due to a mature inside and refined driving expertise. It’s nonetheless a small automotive nevertheless and there are solely 4 seats, so these in want of a central rear seat might want to step as much as the supermini class.
With an aesthetic picture and an inside unmatched on this section, the up! affords an air of spectacular high quality in comparison with its shut rivals. The residuals needs to be higher for patrons too, due to the extra premium badge.
The up! received our greatest Metropolis Automotive award in 2017, 2018, 2019 and once more in 2020, bringing deserved recognition for its spectacular breadth of skills and demonstrating that it may compete within the robust small automotive section as nicely.
8. Hyundai i10
Hyundai has added tech, house and enjoyable to its i10 metropolis automotive to create a convincingly well-rounded bundle. The third technology Hyundai i10 made a very good first impression after we drove it earlier this 12 months with loads of devices obtainable on mid-range SE Join and Premium fashions plus a lightweight, ethereal cabin throughout the vary.
The charms of the i10 don’t cease at its relative roominess (its class-leading 252 litres of boot house is barely 40 litres lower than a Ford Fiesta) because the i10 can also be enjoyable to drive. A faster steering rack conjures up confidence on a twisty highway and makes the i10 really feel agile within the corners.
A alternative of two petrol engines are supplied via many of the i10 vary – a 66bhp 1.0-litre unit which may really feel sluggish on motorways, and an 83bhp 1.2-litre which is £500 costlier. Each are frugal engines, however we’d stick with the handbook gearbox as the automated isn’t the smoothest throughout shifts. High-spec N Line variations embrace a extra highly effective 99bhp 1.0-litre variant, though this implies a rise in worth to over £16,000.
The i10 is bigger than the outdated mannequin and extra comfy too, whereas the Premium trim provides luxuries comparable to heated seats and a heated steering wheel. Contemplating that is on high of an eight-inch show full with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth and a DAB radio, the i10’s potential gadget checklist is spectacular.
9. Kia Picanto
The Kia Picanto affords a number of package and a driving expertise extra akin to that of a automotive from the category above. A latest facelift has seen extra environment friendly engines and improved on-board tech added to the vary, whereas Kia’s wonderful seven-year guarantee additionally options – an ideal incentive for those who plan on maintaining your automotive for greater than the standard size of a PCP finance deal.
Practicality is sweet for a automotive of this measurement too; all include 5 doorways and there’s sufficient house within the again for 2 adults to sit down in relative consolation. The boot measures in at 255 litres – significantly greater than the 211 litres supplied by the MINI 3-door from the category above.
The Picanto’s vary is sort of lengthy, going from the base-spec ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, X-Line, X-Line S, GT-Line and GT-Line S. We’re significantly fond of upper trim ranges within the Picanto as a result of these provide a very good quantity of package and characterize good worth. Go for 3 trim and also you get a regular 8.0-inch infotainment display screen with Android Auto and Apple Carplay connectivity, cruise management, auto-folding mirrors and a reversing digicam.
10. Peugeot 208
We praised the Peugeot 208 after we first drove it in 2019 for its spectacular exterior and inside design, construct high quality and vary of petrol, diesel or pure-electric powertrains.
The supermini section is among the hardest and the brand new 208 definitely focused the higher-end of the sector. Equal Renault Clios are available round £3,000 cheaper so that you’d count on the 208 to excel in each space to make up for the deficit.
Fortunately, the Peugeot 208 has among the finest interiors within the supermini class, arguably the automotive’s stand-out characteristic. There’s piano black plastic which seems the half, though it may not be probably the most sturdy materials, and the cabin feels nicely put collectively. Configurable ambient lighting is a pleasant contact, too. Area inside is enough and the boot is average-sized for the category at 311 litres.
Driving the Peugeot 208 is a pleasant expertise nevertheless it does spotlight how polished the Ford Fiesta’s chassis is. The 208’s steering is brief on really feel, a deficiency which is amplified by the small steering wheel. The 128bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine is great, nevertheless, and for those who match it to the eight-automatic gearbox you may have a remarkably refined powertrain.
Finest small automobiles: shopping for recommendation
It’s price beginning your hunt by having a transparent concept of your small automotive wants earlier than you begin. Think about your seemingly mileage, variety of passengers, boot house necessities, variety of required doorways and any must-have options or choices.
Think about your price range, and keep in mind to consider gasoline and insurance coverage prices, too. Trendy petrol engines have come a good distance in the previous few years, particularly in smaller fashions – as such, diesel-powered small automobiles have gotten more and more troublesome to advocate. We advocate solely selecting one for those who plan to do largely long-distance motorway work. Small turbocharged petrol engines are designed to offer respectable efficiency with out sacrificing economic system – they’re nice all-rounder choices for combined driving.
One of the vital necessary facets of shopping for a brand new automotive is a check drive; a automotive that matches your wants on paper could not really feel that approach in individual. Make sure to check your small automotive on roads just like these you intend to do most of your day-to-day driving on – it is smart to get an correct concept of what to anticipate as soon as you purchase.
Preserve an eye fixed out too for nice offers – small automobiles are sometimes topic to among the greatest reductions. Deposit contributions and 0% finance offers are widespread, as are insurance coverage offers.
Seeking to make an enormous saving on the used market? Take a look at our checklist of the perfect used small automobiles.