Smallest cars in the UK

If you only really drive to town and back, chances are you’ll only need a small vehicle. These are the smallest cars in the UK

Joe Holding
Dec 12, 2020

There are plenty of reasons why a small car may be all the car you ever need. If you only drive short distances - for example to work and back, or to the shops at the weekend - a small car will do you just fine. And it should cost less and use less fuel than a bigger model, too.

If you’re unlikely to carry passengers and if you don’t own a pet, then again a small car will be more than suitable. And if you have teenage children who are learning to drive, a small car with a tiny engine is the best place to start. And that’s before you’ve thought about the insurance costs.

A small car doesn’t necessarily mean making do, either. A light vehicle with a tiny footprint should be fun to drive, and if you’re like a bit of enthusiastic driving, at least you can push a small car to its limits before troubling the local speed cameras.

But what are the smallest cars in the UK? We’ve been through the BuyaCar listings to dig out the smallest cars we can find. Each come with their own pros and cons, but they’re all only a few clicks away from being yours and can be delivered to your door.

The smallest cars in the UK

1. Smart Fortwo

Size 2,695mm long
Used deals from £4,999
Monthly finance from £102*

At a smidge over 2.5m long, the Smart Fortwo is just about the smallest car on the road today. As the name suggests, it’s a two-seater, and while it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum to the people carriers of days gone by with tonnes of space all around, it does at least offer a surprising amount of boot space with 260 litres in the back.

There are two types of Smart Fortwo; a hatchback and a convertible. Both have had two petrol engines over the course of their life, with a 1.0-litre 71hp version that can hit 0-62mph in around 15 seconds, and a turbocharged 0.9-litre model with 90hp that slashed the 0-62mph time to 10.4 seconds. Both claimed fuel economy well above 60mpg, so your money will go a long way at the pumps.

Smart started selling electric versions of the Fortwo in 2016, and now only sells electric models new. Nearly new versions of these can be yours for under £15,000 on BuyaCar, although the 90-mile range offered will only suit those who very rarely go on long trips. Early petrol models can be secured for far less cash, however, so are worth considering if you need a very small car that can still do long trips with lengthy recharges being needed.

SMART FORTWO BUYERS’ GUIDE

2. Toyota Aygo

Size 3,455mm long
Used deals from £4,297
Monthly finance from £78*

The Toyota Aygo has been around for yonks, with the current, second-generation model hitting our shores in 2014. With its distinctive ‘cross’ face there’s no mistaking it for anything else on the road, not least the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, with which it shares the platform it's built on.

There are both manual and automatic versions of the Aygo, with the former a little bit faster on paper. The 1.0-litre petrol engine produces just 72hp, and combined with low purchase prices that makes the Aygo very cheap to insure. It’s no wonder it ends up being a first car for so many teenagers who’ve just passed their test.

Going by our listings, a five-year-old model with some 60,000 miles on the clock could cost from £5,000, while nearly new models that have barely been run in will cost double that. It depends on your budget of course, although we’d recommend going as new as possible in order to get the best reliability and the latest equipment.

TOYOTA AYGO BUYERS’ GUIDE

3. Smart Forfour

Size 3,495mm long

Used deals from £4,995
Monthly finance from £84*

Not content with selling the UK’s smallest car, Smart also makes the third smallest car, too. The Fourfor is 3,495mm long, 1,665mm wide and 1,554mm tall, giving it enough space to squeeze in two rear passenger seats. Boot space is compromised though, only measuring 185 litres. You can at least lower the back seats to make a bit more room for luggage when needed, though.

With a turning circle of less than 9.0m, you’ll have not trouble getting around on urban roads. If you do venture onto the motorway though, just be wary of the light steering, which makes the front of the car feel less than precise at high speeds.

With the same engines (and electric motor in the case of the electric versions) as the Fortwo, the Forfour has similar performance figures. On BuyaCar, you can find four-year-old models for less than £6,000. The electric editions are much more expensive, but running costs will be far lower, and if you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time this could be the better financial bet.

SMART FORFOUR BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Fiat 500

Size 3,571mm long
Used deals from £4,485
Monthly finance from £85*

The Fiat 500 is about as close as you can get to a household name in the world of cars. It sold in its millions during its initial run from 1957 to 1975, eventually being relaunched in 2007. The car we’re familiar with today is a bit longer and wider than its predecessor, although it’s still one of the smallest cars going.

We love it for its retro styling and the fact that it’s bound to put a smile on your face as you pootle around town, although you’ll need to get used to the 0.9-litre ‘TwinAir’ petrol engine if you go for one of these - which produces a deep, throbbing sound when you work it hard - as it’s a bit noisy. The 1.2-litre petrol alternative is generally cheaper to buy, and while it isn’t as fast as the 0.9 you’ll be seeing around 40mpg either way, so fuel should cost you too much.

Prices for the Fiat 500 start from around £4,500 on BuyaCar. A mild hybrid version was launched in 2020, but although these are a lot more expensive, fuel economy doesn’t appear to have improved as much as you’d expect. A standard petrol model would be a good bet if you're on a budget, therefore.

FIAT 500 BUYERS’ GUIDE

5. Kia Picanto

Size 3,595mm
Used deals from £4,332
Monthly finance from £96*

The latest, third-generation Kia Picanto was launched in 2017, and like its predecessor it’s one of the better equipped city cars out there. Entry-level ‘2’ trim cars come with Bluetooth, 14-inch alloy wheels and air-conditioning, while ‘3’ versions - the next step up - get improved smartphone connectivity and a more sophisticated touchscreen media system.

There’s a 1.0-litre engine that helps the car to cover 0-62mph in 13.8 seconds and a 1.2-litre alternative that takes more than two seconds off that figure. The latter only comes with the more expensive GT-Line and GT-Line S trims, but the extra outlay means you’ll be changing gear less often as the 1.2-litre engine doesn’t need to be worked as hard.

Nearly new versions of the Picanto are on BuyaCar for around £11,000, but the arrival of a new model means the old one has come down in price considerably. Five-year old cars are doing the rounds for less than £5,000, and while these will be less capable, you should still benefit from the tail end of the seven-year warranty Kia places on every car it sells.

KIA PICANTO BUYERS’ GUIDE

6. Renault Twingo

Size 3,595mm long
Used deals from £4,989
Monthly finance from £99*

Thanks to a partnership with Daimler - the parent company of Mercedes and Smart - the Twingo is based on the same platform that underpins the Smart Forfour above. It’s not quite as small as the Smart, but by putting the engine in the back, Renault can afford to place the front wheels further forward, reducing the turning circle and making the Twingo as easy to wind through tight streets as possible.

The handling around corners isn’t that remarkable, but the Twingo does at least cope with speed bumps perfectly well. Of the two engines in the line-up - a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder option producing 70hp, and a 0.9-litre unit that uses a turbocharger to bump power up to 90hp - the latter is the better choice as it’s both faster and more fuel efficient. And if you want to maximise fun behind the wheel, there’s a GT version of the Twingo that ups this to 110hp.

When new the Twingo was thought to be a bit expensive compared to the competition, but cheaper used models are much more comparable on price. Four-year-old cars cost as little as £5,000 on BuyaCar, which puts it right in the ballpark with its main rivals.

RENAULT TWINGO BUYERS’ GUIDE

7. Volkswagen Up

Size 3,600mm long
Used deals from £4,100
Monthly finance from £98*

The Volkswagen Up - which is basically the same car underneath as the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii - is actually one of the more spacious city cars going, and that’s in spite of the car being one of the shortest. The Up will seat four adults comfortably (although perhaps not over a long distance), and owners say it’s very reliable.

Not only is it a hoot around the city, but the Up also fares well at motorway speeds thanks to its soft suspension, which irons out bumps in the road very well. The 1.0-litre turbocharged engine found in the GTI version is probably the sweet spot in the engine line-up, as this delivers the performance to cope on fast roads without sacrificing too much fuel economy. If low running costs are your priority there’s an electric version too, called the Volkswagen e-Up.

Five-year-old Up models are available on BuyaCar for the bargain price of £5,000, while 2020 editions cost around £12,000, depending on trim level. For even better value for money, consider the Citigo and the Mii, as these offer much the same package at slightly lower price points.

VOLKSWAGEN UP BUYERS’ GUIDE

8. Suzuki Celerio

Size 3,600mm long
Used deals from £4,001
Monthly finance from £71*

Just because a car is small doesn’t mean it has to be impractical. The Suzuki Celerio makes a decent effort at being spacious despite its short length. Inside, you’ll be fooled into thinking that you’re sitting in a much larger car.

In the back there’s a 254-litre boot, which stacks up pretty well against your average hatchback - cars that are much larger on the outside. The rear seats are split-folding too, meaning you can boost the available load space to accommodate luggage or, as many owners have done, to make space for a dog. The 1.0-litre petrol engine is the only option on the Celerio, and while 0-62mph in 13.5 seconds isn’t terribly fast, the 55mpg fuel economy figure is pretty good.

There are two trim levels on recent Celerios: SZ2 and SZ3. The former has a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a digital radio and not a lot else. The SZ3 adds air-conditioning, a USB connector for your phone, alloy wheels and remote central locking. It might be a tad more expensive but it’s the one to go for, and you can secure a two-year old model on BuyaCar for less than £6,000 if you’re prepared to put up with a bit of mileage.

SUZUKI CELERIO BUYERS’ GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta Titanium:

Monthly payments over 48 months: £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage allowance: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

Buyacar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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