Very small cars

If you don’t need much space, check out our guide to some of the smallest cars on the road

BuyaCar team
Oct 4, 2021

Some cars show that less really is more. Why buy a car bigger than you need, if it’s just going to be one or two people sat in it? And a very small car will make parking in tight spaces less of a struggle.

Small cars come with plenty of other benefits. They’re cheap to buy and often cheap to insure, plus a small amount of bodywork means they’re light. Not lugging around much weight brings additional perks like amazing fuel economy and agile handling, so the smallest cars are often some of the most fun to drive.

Most of the cars on this list also come with the modern essentials you’d expect, like smartphone connectivity and safety features. There are two- and four-seat cars, and a choice of petrol or electric models, while the absolute smallest cars mentioned below aren’t even classified as proper cars.

The Smart ForTwo is one of the most famous examples of a modern small car. Specifically designed for the city, it measures just 2.7m nose-to-tail; that’s around a metre shorter than a conventional city car, and even half a metre shorter than the classic Mini. Its tiny length means you can actually park a ForTwo lengthways in a space that other cars would have to parallel park in, still leaving a little room for a small car to park conventionally in the same space.

We’ve drawn up a list of five very small cars. If simply the idea of parking brings you out in a sweat, fear not; these cars should make your life much easier.

Best super-small cars

1. Renault Twizy

Length 2,337mm

The Renault Twizy is so small and light it's not even technically classed as a car in legal terms. It's a quadricycle - positioning it between a motorbike and a conventional car.

A back-to-basics cabin and precious few safety features are a result of its quadricycle status. Euro NCAP, the European car crash safety organisation, awarded it just two out of five stars when it crash tested the model. That doesn't make it dangerous - it's safer than being on a motorbike, for instance, it's just not as safe as conventional cars, which in particular offer much greater protection in side impacts.

The Twizy is powered by a 17hp electric motor and its battery has a 45-mile range. It can only be charged from a domestic three-pin socket, although it is possible to buy an adapter for public charging. It’s very much an urban vehicle, though, it's not at all well-suited for long journeys. Driver and passenger sit in line inside an open body shell - upwards-opening doors are available for an additional cost.

As for the boot, there’s very little luggage space, but if you live in the city and the idea of a simple and cool-looking runabout that is safer than a motorcycle but even cheaper to run appeals to you, then the Twizy makes a lot of sense.

The Renault Twizy has finally got a rival after a few years on sale. You could instead choose the new Citroen Ami, which might even pip the Twizy for coolness. It’s another quirky small electric car with a near-50-mile range, but the top speed is just 28mph. Neither car is eligible for the plug-in car grant, but the Ami should substantially undercut the Twizy’s price. In France, the Ami starts from less than £6,000 and a similar price tag is expected here.

2. Smart ForTwo

Length 2,695mm
Used deals from £6,559
Monthly finance from £128*

Anyone coming from a conventional car will have no trouble adapting to the ForTwo. It's like a normal car, only smaller and with just two seats.

The ForTwo’s two occupants (hence its name) sit inside a tough safety cell. This version of the ForTwo was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2014, when it achieved an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. That's a good rating for such a tiny machine.

The ForTwo is powered by a small petrol engine mounted at the rear, behind the seats. Its clever packaging means that most of the car is devoted to occupant space, with just a small space taken up by the engine.

Thanks to the Fortwo's dinky dimensions and small turning circle, the ForTwo makes a great little city car. There’s even an electric version that’s even more at home in the urban jungle. Think twice about the model if you're considering longer drives, though, as it offers a very limited real-world range per charge. In the last couple of years, the electric version is the only one that has been available new.

SMART FORTWO BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Toyota Aygo

Length 3,455mm

The Aygo is pretty small compared to most cars, but it used to sit alongside an even smaller Toyota iQ model. Clever though the iQ was, the Aygo proved more popular. These days, the Aygo is styled to look like something out of Japanese comic books, and even comes with a reversing camera and the technology required to use your phone’s apps through the car’s screen.

Both the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1 share their parts with the Aygo, so give different options if you’re not convinced by the Aygo’s x-shaped face. They’re ever-so-slightly longer, though, and the Toyota comes with an unbeatable 10-year warranty.

TOYOTA AYGO BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Volkswagen Up

Length 3,540mm

The Volkswagen Up packs an awful lot into its 3.5m size. Its boxy shape allows genuine space for four people, and the boot can fit a lot more than you might initially think. All new Ups get Bluetooth, digital radio and air-conditioning, while higher models get ‘big car’ features like cruise control and heated seats.

Its 1.0-litre engine is just about powerful enough for most driving situations (although the 60hp version does start to struggle up the steepest hills), or there’s a fully electric e-Up version that manages a decent 160-mile range - more than the similarly small Honda e. Seat and Skoda did their own versions of the Up, but the VW is now the only one left new. All three, however, are very good value on the secondhand market.

One of the few things the Up does miss out on is a touchscreen, so if that’s a must then check out the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto, which are both a few centimetres longer.

VOLKSWAGEN UP BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Suzuki Ignis

Length 3,700mm

Suzuki really has made an SUV out of a city car, with a raised ride height and roof rails. You might be surprised to learn that the Ignis even offers four-wheel drive, so you don’t even need a big car if you encounter tricky driving conditions. It’s the smallest car to offer four-wheel drive, and definitely gives the Ignis a USP.

Like the Up, it’s essentially a square box on wheels, so there’s plenty of space inside. All versions get LED headlights, Bluetooth and air conditioning, and the mild hybrid petrol engine promises to achieve up to 58mpg - giving low running costs to go with the reasonable price. A used Suzuki Ignis can be bought for £7,586 on BuyaCar.

SUZUKI IGNIS 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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