Best city cars

Small, nippy and economical, but with space for four. Find out which are the best city cars on sale

BuyaCar team
Nov 22, 2016

The best city cars are little wonders: small and nippy but with enough space for four people. They cushion you against speed bumps and potholes, yet remain steady and feel safe on the motorway.

You’ll also find much of the equipment that’s fitted to larger cars, and all for a bargain price.

With so many demands, not all city cars get the formula right, and there’s a big difference between the good cars and the bad. Choose one from the list below and you can be sure that you’ve picked well.

VW up!

★★★★★ Best city car for the feel of a bigger car

Volkswagen has taken the ingredients that made its Golf a success and downsized them into the up!. There’s no zany design: this looks like a conventional car and behaves like one, with a smooth ride in town, and enough power on faster roads, as long as you avoid the slowest 1-litre engine with 60 horsepower.

There’s enough space in the back for two adults, for short journeys at least, and the boot is amongst the largest of all city cars too.

A recent update has updated the car’s technology, replacing the sat-nav with the option of a VW app that you download to your smartphone, which is then used to navigate.
Read the VW up! buying guide

Our pick VW up! 1.0 75 High up!
Acceleration (0-62mph) 13.2sec, Fuel economy 64.2mpg, CO2 101g/km
See the latest new and used VW up! deals 



Skoda Citigo

★★★★★ Best city car for value for money

Take the badges away and the Citigo looks very much like the VW up!. That’s because both cars are virtually identical.

The Citigo has not been redesigned as recently as the up!, though, which means that its interior, with a digital radio display, feels less up-to-date. It’s also not available with the same engine choice as the Volkswagen.

To compensate for this, the Skoda costs a little less and performs just as well as the VW. Both cars are best as five-door models: the four side doors (the boot opening counts as the fifth) allow you to make the most of the interior space.
Read the Skoda Citigo buying guide

Our pick Skoda Citigo 1.0 75 PS SE L GreenTech 5dr
Acceleration (0-62mph) 13.2sec, Fuel economy 67.3mpg, CO2 98g/km
See the latest new and used Skoda Citigo deals



Hyundai i10

★★★★ Best city car for peace of mind

With a five-year warranty that has no mileage limit, the Hyundai i10 comes with plenty of reassurance. And it’s also a great city car. It feels well made and is spacious inside. With the back seats folded down, you’ll have a luggage area that no other city car can match. Put them up and you’ve got three seatbelts, so you can fit in five - at a squeeze.

Neither one of the two engines available feel sporty, but the smallest 1-litre motor has enough power in town, while the larger 1.2-litre engine is better if you’ll be taking your i10 on the motorway.
Read the Hyundai i10 buying guide

Our pick Hyundai i10 1.0 SE
Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.9sec, Fuel economy 60.1mpg, CO2 108g/km
See all new and used Hyundai i10 deals



Renault Twingo

Best city car for driving fun and personalisation

Designed with a bit more style than your average city car, the Renault Twingo’s looks benefit from a short bonnet because the engine isn’t underneath there - it’s fitted at the back of the car. This helps to make the renault more manoeuvrable: able to turn in a smaller area than many other city cars.

It also helps to make the Twingo spacious inside, with four proper seats - although the rear passengers will have to make do with windows that pop out rather than wind down. The car’s SCe 70 petrol engine is smooth but it needs gentle acceleration for eveb average fuel economy.

Our pick Renault Twingo Play SCe 70 5dr
Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.5sec, Fuel economy 56.5mpg, CO2 112g/km
See the latest new and used Renault Twingo deals



Vauxhall Viva

★★★★ Best city car for space at a low price

The Viva is a great-value city car that’s comes with plenty of equipment - cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, with air conditioning an extra costing less than £500. It’s spacious too. The back of the Viva is roomy enough for three people, although don’t expect the biggest boot; something had to give.

The Viva is best in town, where its 1-litre engine feels nippy,. Take it on a motorway and it becomes noisy, and you’ll constantly be changing gear unless you can keep to a steady speed.

If you can live with this, then you’ll almost certainly be able to get a discounted Vauxhall Viva deal: there are plenty of new car offers and reduced prices on nearly new models.
Read the Vauxhall Viva buying guide

Our pick Vauxhall Viva 1.0 SL 5dr
Acceleration (0-62mph) 13.1sec, Fuel economy 62.8mpg, CO2 104g/km
See all new and used Vauxhall Viva deals

Seat Mii


This close relative of the Citigo and up! is billed as the fun member of the family but it’s not as cheap as the Skoda. Otherwise, it’s more or less the same in terms of body styles and engine choices. It comes down to personal taste and what kind of deal you can find.
Read the Seat Mii buying guide

Our pick Seat Mii E 60PS 5dr
Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.4sec, Fuel economy 64.2mpg, CO2 102g/km
See all new and used Seat Mii deals



Peugeot 108


Also available as the Citroen C1 and closely related to the Toyota Aygo, the Peugeot 108 is a classy-looking city car that’s fun to drive but which also feels quite flimsy. There’s not a lot of space, either. The optional full-length fabric roof is a blast, though.

Our pick Peugeot 108 PureTech 1.2 VTi Allure
Acceleration (0-62mph) 11.0sec, Fuel economy 65.7mpg, CO2 99g/km
See all new and used Peugeot 108 deals

Toyota Aygo


The little car with lots of attitude: that’s the Aygo. Its edgy styling won’t please everyone but those who fall for it will also like the car’s quick and accurate steering. All but base versions have a rear-view camera, too, helping to make light work of tight manoeuvres. Economy’s a strong point.

Our pick Toyota Aygo VVTi 1.0 x-play 5dr
Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.2sec, Fuel economy 68.9mpg, CO2 95g/km
See all new and used Toyota Aygo deals



Suzuki Celerio


Value for money is the Celerio’s battle cry. Alloy wheels, air-con, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth are all standard. It’s spacious, too. A city car should be at its best in the city and the Celerio really is, but on open roads it’s noisy and the steering is lifeless.

Our pick Suzuki Celerio SZ3 1.0
Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.0sec, Fuel economy 65.7mpg, CO2 99g/km
See all new and used Suzuki Celerio deals



Kia Picanto


Getting a little long in the tooth now but still impresses with its mix of distinctive styling, a comfortable ride and a smart, good quality interior. Economy is excellent, too, but the boot is on the small side. No arguing with the Picanto’s warranty, though. It’s a class-leading seven years.

Read the Kia Picanto buying guide

Our pick Kia Picanto 1.0 SE 5dr
Acceleration (0-62mph) 14.4sec, Fuel economy 68.9mpg, CO2 102/gkm
See all new and used Kia Picanto deals

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