Best automatic city cars

No clutch, no worries! These are the best automatic city cars for people who want simplicity

Sep 28, 2018

Small dimensions, economical engines, and cute looks. There’s a lot to like about the humble city car.

Good ones have enough space for four adults assuming the two in the rear aren’t afraid of being in each other's personal space, and the boot should be big enough for the weekly shop too.

New and modern city cars should have also have new and modern tech in them, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

And while there are plenty of city cars that excel at these tasks, finding one with an automatic gearbox is trickier. Although trends are changing, the UK still buys more manual cars than automatic cars every year.

Truth be told, even with the most technologically advanced and efficient gearboxes to date, small engines and automatics aren’t a brilliant mix.

If you want or need an automatic, have you considered slightly larger cars like the Volkswagen Polo, Citroen C3, or Mini Cooper? They are bigger in size, but, are still small enough for the city route. Buying used, or even pre-registered, will bring down the costs to roughly the equivalent of a brand new city car.

But, if you do want a new city car with an automatic gearbox, these are the best on the market.

Hyundai i10

Best automatic city car for practicality

Latest Hyundai i10 deals from £4,979
Finance from £87 per month

The i10 is a thoroughly grown-up city car with decent quality materials inside, and it’s generally pretty comfortable too.

It can be optioned with a four-speed auto, plus, it has a 1.25-litre engine to team it with, which suits the automatic gearbox better than smaller engines. Official fuel economy takes a tumble in comparison with the manual, going from 57mpg to 47mpg.

Still, at least it comes with Hyundai’s five-year warranty.
Hyundai i10 buying guide

Volkswagen up!

Best automatic city car for grown-up styling

Latest Volkswagen up! deals from £4,463
Finance from £77 per month

The Volkswagen up! looks a bit like a shrunken Golf, and in truth, it feels a bit like one too. Which is a massive compliment. It has a smooth ride and enough power to accelerate onto a motorway without leaving occupants feeling terrified too.

Technology is pretty good - a recent update has replaced the sat-nav with an app that you download to your smartphone.

The automatic gearbox is slightly jerkier than the manual, but, it only robs the up! of around 5mpg compared to the manual.
VW up! buying guide

Fiat 500 

Best automatic city car for style

Fiat 500 Exterior

Latest Fiat 500 deals from £4,375
Finance from £74 per month

Fiat’s cute 500 is a relatively expensive city car, but it makes up for it with its retro throwback looks and charming array of pastel colours.

Various trim levels are on offer, with personalisation on-par with the likes of the Mini. There are two engines on offer - a 1.2 and a 0.9. The 1.2 is cheaper, but the 0.9 is more economical. On paper at least.

Fiat’s automatic gearbox comes with the least powerful version of the 0.9-litre engine. Don’t expect it to be quick, but, according to Fiat, it’s actually around 2mpg more economical than the manual.
Fiat 500 buying guide

Kia Picanto

Best automatic city car for warranty 

Latest Kia Picanto deals from £4,195
Finance from £78 per month

The Picanto offers a relatively spacious boot in this segment (255 litres), with rear seats that can hold fully grown adults, as long as they’re not asked to be in there for too long.

This Kia is mechanically similar to the Hyundai i10 further up in this list, which is no bad thing. Automatic cars come with the larger 1.25-litre engine, which should be plenty quick enough for people seeking a city car.

It’s the same four-speed automatic as the Hyundai, so expect a hit in mpg in comparison to manual cars. The Picanto does come with a seven-year warranty in comparison to the Hyundai’s five-year warranty though.
Kia Picanto buying guide

Renault Zoe

Best automatic city car for zero emissions driving

Latest Renault Zoe deals from £6,000
Finance from £115 per month

Aha. We have somewhat cheated here. The Renault Zoe is an electric city car built from the ground up to deliver zero-emissions driving for city-dwelling-avo-on-toast types.

This does mean that technically it doesn’t actually have a gearbox. However, it works in the same way as an automatic. Except there aren’t any gears, which means it is the smoothest car on offer here.

Real world range is around 150 miles thanks to an update in 2017. You can also get a Zoe with around 110hp, which makes it easily the quickest car on this list. A quick and worthwhile note: most Zoes are sold without their batteries (only cars badged ‘i’ have them included). You’ll need to lease the batteries for these cars, which will cost around £49 a month, depending on the number of miles that you drive.
Renault Zoe buying guide

         

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