Smallest four-door cars

The smallest four-door cars will give you the best passenger access with the least hassle on the road and when parking

Joe Holding
Feb 27, 2021

If you’re of a certain generation, chances are that you’ll have vivid memories of having to climb into the back seat of your parents’ car through the small gap between the door pillar and the front seat, with the seat folded forwards just far enough to let you squeeze into the back.

Nowadays we’ve grown rather tired of this habit, with three-door cars becoming something of a rarity. Four-door and five-door (those that have a hatchback for the boot as well as four passenger doors) vehicles are vastly more popular in modern times, and as such fewer and fewer manufacturers are giving two-door and three-door (those with two passenger doors and a hatchback) options a moment’s thought.

It’s important here to make it clear what we mean by three- and five-door cars, as most people take these to mean two- and four-door vehicles respectively. The extra ‘door’ usually refers to the boot, although few people consider the boot to be a genuine access point.

If you’re after a small car that’s genuinely a four-door with a hatch to access a separate boot, your best bet is something like the Hyundai Ioniq or Toyota Prius. But if four passenger doors are all you’re concerned about, and you’d prefer to drive something small, then the following cars will fit the bill. And all of them are just a few clicks away on BuyaCar.

Small four-door cars

1. Toyota Aygo

Size 3,455mm long
Used deals from £5,395
Monthly finance from £107*

The latest, second-generation version of the Toyota Aygo arrived in the UK in 2014, and it’s one of the most recognisable small cars on the road thanks to the ‘cross’ borne across its front end. While there is a three-door option, this only appears on the most basic trim levels, with five-door alternatives available further along the lineup.

Although having five doors makes access to the rear easier, it’s very cosy back there and only really suitable for short journeys owing to the lack of headroom. The boot is also small, and it's not the most useful shape for filling with luggage, with the deep floor making it tricky to load and unload bags.

Expect to pay around £4,500 for some of the older Aygos available on BuyaCar. Examples from 2020 with a couple of thousand miles on the clock, meanwhile, will cost around £11,000.

TOYOTA AYGO BUYERS’ GUIDE

2. Citroen C1

Size 3,466mm long
Used deals from £5,000
Monthly finance from £117*

The second-generation Citroen C1 is another child of 2014, and while it suffers from the same lack of space as the Aygo, the light steering does at least make it easy to drive around town. Selecting the five-door model costs £400 more than the three-door on new cars - with a smaller premium for used models - but we reckon this is worth it for the added practicality.

You get 196 litres of boot space, which isn’t much, but you can’t expect a great deal more from a car that’s less than 3.5m long. The small dimensions do at least contribute to decent fuel economy, with both 1.0-litre VTi and 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engines achieving more than 60mpg on paper, which means that you shouldn't spend much on fuel.

Six-year-old C1s will set you back around £4,000 - very little for a car of this age - while 2020 models that are almost undriven can be bought for as little as £8,500.

CITROEN C1 BUYERS’ GUIDE

3. Peugeot 108

Size 3,475mm long
Used deals from £4,699
Monthly finance from £95*

The Peugeot 108 was launched with a choice of two petrol engines in 2014: the 1.0-litre was perfectly adequate for driving around town, although you really needed the 1.2-litre variant if you were planning to spend much time on the motorway, as it offers much greater muscle at higher speeds. With both units you can expect in the region of 50mpg.

Since 2018 however, only a 1.0-litre engine (with more power than the one before it) has been available, although you also get the choice of a manual and automatic gearbox. Unlike most small cars, a soft-top roof version is offered as part of the lineup; ideal for those hot summer days. There’s just enough legroom for two adults in the back, and while the 196-litre boot is small, the low-lip does at least make it easy to access.

The 108’s price usually drops quite quickly when new, which means one-year-old cars are very good value on the used market. £7,500 will get you a good one on BuyaCar, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included on all but Access entry-level cars.

PEUGEOT 108 BUYERS’ GUIDE

4. Smart Forfour

Size 3,495mm long
Used deals from £6,000
Monthly finance from £116*

Smart makes the smallest car in the UK - the Fortwo - but it’s not available with five doors, so the next best thing is the Smart Forfour. As the name suggests it can carry up to four people, although the 185-litre boot doesn’t leave a lot of room for luggage.

The Forfour is most at home in the city and around town it can make the most of its nine-metre turning circle, which means it can turn very tightly compared with most cars. The steering is satisfyingly light, although be wary of this on faster roads as it can make the car feel a little sensitive at high speeds.

The Forfour has used two engines over the course of its life, with a turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol unit providing more power and performance than the standard 1.0-litre petrol. An electric version came along in 2016, and this is the only one left on sale today. A one-year-old car will set you back a chunky £13,000 (electric cars tend to be more expensive as the technology is new), while a two-year-old petrol will be more like £8,000.

SMART FORFOUR BUYERS’ GUIDE

5. Volkswagen Up

Size 3,540mm long
Used deals from £5,000
Monthly finance from £118*

The Volkswagen Up has set the benchmark in the city car class for several years now. It manages to seat four adults reasonably well, and previous owners have said that it’s hard to fault in terms of reliability. It feels solid and well engineered and lasts well.

Its dinky dimensions make the Up very enjoyable on urban roads, but unlike the Smart above, it also feels at home on the motorway too. This is because the soft suspension absorbs bumps extremely well, so you don’t feel like you’re being thrown around at higher speeds.

The 1.0-litre turbocharged engine strikes the best balance of performance and fuel economy, although if you’re unlikely to spend much time doing long journeys then even the low-power non-turbocharged 60hp version will serve you well.

A 2020 example will cost you around £11,000 on BuyaCar, while early versions - which were a little bit shorter than the current car’s 3,600mm - can be purchased for half that amount.

VOLKSWAGEN UP BUYERS’ GUIDE

6. Seat Mii

Size 3,557mm long
Used deals from £7,250
Monthly finance from £137*

Clever packaging of the engine, gearbox and other important components has allowed the Seat Mii to pull off a trick that few other cars on this list can manage: it feels spacious inside. Adults in the rear should have enough room to feel comfy on a longer journey, and the 251-litre boot - while not gigantic - will serve most people just fine. As the Mii is closely related to the VW Up above and the Skoda Citigo below, all of these cars offer a small footprint but decent practicality.

If it’s let down anywhere, the interior feels a little simplistic and the materials somewhat cheap, although this is to be expected at this price point. There’s no touchscreen multimedia system either, just a smartphone holster so you can use your phone and your own apps to navigate with.

There’s an electric model nowadays too, although the petrol car is still where you’ll find the most value for money currently. Expect to pay around £7,000 for a two-year-old example with 10,000-15,000 miles on the clock.

SEAT MII BUYERS’ GUIDE

7. Skoda Citigo

Size 3,563mm long

Used deals from £5,000
Monthly finance from £106*

The Skoda Citigo is basically the same car underneath as the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii above. This means that its behaviour on the road is more or less the same, while levels of practicality are almost identical as well.

It’s not particularly fast and it can be a little noisy when you do eventually get up to speed, but running costs should be relatively low thanks to fuel economy of around 50mpg. Reliability should be good too: early versions of the car had some gearbox issues, but since then very little has emerged as problematic among owners. The three-cylinder engines are simple mechanically, and shouldn’t go wrong in a hurry.

Nearly new examples of the electric Citigo e iV (launched in 2020) can be found on BuyaCar for around £19,000, but for now most people will be interested in the conventional, petrol-powered cars that can be acquired for £9,000 and below, depending on age.

SKODA CITIGO BUYERS’ GUIDE

8. Kia Picanto

Size 3,595mm long
Used deals from £5,555
Monthly finance from £116*

The Kia Picanto is now in its third generation, with this version on sale since 2017. And much like the version that came before it, the Picanto is one of the best cars in this sector for equipment. The most basic examples come with Bluetooth connectivity, 14-inch alloy wheels and air-conditioning, while ‘3’ spec cars introduce a touchscreen media system.

Two petrol engines - a 1.0-litre and a 1.2-litre - are available, and while the latter is slightly less efficient on paper, you won’t need to work the engine as hard in order to get up to speed. Here, 0-62mph takes under 12 seconds - reasonably nippy for a car of this size. At the back, the doors open wide enough to make entry very simple, and there’s enough legroom to be comfortable on longer trips. In the boot, 255 litres is pretty good for the size of the car.

Of the latest-generation Picantos, a budget of £6,500 will give you plenty of choice. On BuyaCar, that could translate into monthly payments of just over £100 per month on PCP finance.

KIA PICANTO BUYERS’ GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 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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