What’s not to love about a good small car? Almost every car owner has had a bite-sized runner at some point in their life, enjoying their ability to navigate city streets and open motorways without guzzling fuel.

The best small cars combine low running costs and surprising power with accessible parking and comfy interiors. However, these gems can be hard to find. Thankfully, we’re here to help.

Below, we list our favourite small cars to answer the age-old motor question “what small car should I buy?”

seat ibiza

 Source: Red House Car Sales Ltd

Spain-based car manufacturer Seat has seen its reputation grow in recent years and its most celebrated car – the Ibiza – shows why. Thanks to its three excellent petrol engines, a focus on suspension and excellent handling, the model is standing out as the go-to small car.

 The interior ticks all the boxes, too, with modern infotainment, good-quality safety additions and care taken with interior materials. This makes the Seat Ibiza a car that is as comfy as it is easy to drive, navigating tough roads and tight parking angles with ease. 

 All these positives are further reflected in the awards the Ibiza has won throughout the years. In 2017, the Ibiza was named Auto Express’ used car of the year, while the Business Motoring Awards chose the Ibiza as its best small car just five years later.

 Its overall quality makes it one of the most reliable used small cars. See for yourself with our Seat Ibiza listings today.

nissan micra

Source: Wellington Motors Limited

The Nissan Micra has, in recent years, rebuilt its reputation. Previously seen as an affordable-but-timid vehicle, modern refinements have made the Micra a competitive small car.

Newer models have maintained its legacy of being easy to drive, but have added to it by improving the interior, adding decent boot space, and increasing its engine power. Not only this, but the exterior has received a major facelift, taking the Micra from its bubbly-looking roots to a more modern appearance that competes with the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Honda Civic.

This facelift brought with it a slew of awards, as it was crowned FirstCar’s New Car of the Year award in 2018 and 2019; a standout showing for the new generation that was launched just one year prior.  

The modern engine options – a 1.0L petrol, 1.5L turbocharged and a 1.5L diesel – has given the little Micra some much-needed power, making it one of the best small cars on the market.

Discover our range of used Nissan Micra cars from experienced dealers.

renault clio

Source: Car Motive Limited

The Renault Clio is a mainstay on UK roads, and for good reason. This small car has had years to refine its design and offerings, leading to a stylish vehicle that excels in the right areas. While it hasn’t always ranked as one of the best small cars, the Clio has used the competitive small car market as fuel to evolve.

Modern Clio cars boast a sharp, distinctive design complemented by comfortable seating, good engine choices and excellent handling. It’s ideal for a seasoned driver looking for a runaround, or even a new driver learning the ways of the road.

2020 saw the Renault Clio begin its three-year run of award nominations and success. This was started by its winning of the CarBuyer car of the year award, as well as BusinessCar’s best small car. In 2021, The Clio broke into the first car market having been named FirstCar’s car of the year, before closing 2022 by picking up AutoExpress’ supermini of the year award. With such a strong backing from so many publications, the Clio is a force to be reckoned with in the small car market.

Built to handle all that is thrown at it, discover Renault Clio listings from trustworthy dealers today.

hyundai i10

Source: Bridgend Group - Ayr

The Hyundai i10 has attained a reputation for value. At competitive price points, the i10 boasts an array of features, including seating for up to 5 people, a spacious boot and a small frame. So, with an i10, you can enjoy some of the benefits of larger cars with small car upsides.

The i10 represents a real push from Hyundai to embed itself in the city-car market. With a focus on intuitive handling and in-car comfort, it  has everything urban drivers will need. This push has resulted in the i10 being Hyundai’s most successful car launch of recent times, with it claiming various awards throughout the years. In 2013, the i10 started a four-year dominance in WhatCar?’s best city car category, before picking up Car Dealer’s used small car of the year just one year after. If there’s ever a list of models to keep an eye out for, it’s these.

Take a look at our Hyundai i10 listings today.

volkswagen up!

Source: JJ Premium Cars Ltd

Volkswagen is usually associated with larger, powerful cars like the Passat and the medium-sized Golf, but the up! shows the brand can translate its characteristics to a small, urban-ready frame.  

Thanks to the choice of two strong petrol engines, comfortable seating and a comparatively small frame, the up! captures all the benefits of small cars without sacrificing speed, precision or power. It’s a car designed from the ground-up for the city.

Although some berate the up! for being a less-exciting Golf or Polo, it does have some strong adoration. This adoration began in 2011 when Top Gear named the Volkswagen up! its small car of the year. Then, the World Car Awards announced the up! as winner of its 2012 Car of the Year award. After a few years of silence, the up! returned to the awards scene, picking up Auto Express’ City car of the Year award in 2020. With such high acclaim, can you really afford to miss out on this nippy little motor?

Despite its urban attitude, the up! can handle rural roads and motorways with ease too. Whether you’re using it for your commute, to drop the kids off at school or simply as a runaround, it could be the car for you.

great things come in small packages

As car engineering matures, so does the performance of small cars. These days, you’re not hamstringing yourself too much by opting for a smaller car, plus you get benefits like easier parking and lower running costs.

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