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Best Cars

Best City Cars for 2018

By Martin Pratt

Article 3 of 16

The best city cars are easy to park, reliable and cheap to run. We’ve rounded up our top new and used city cars, as well as three you should avoid.

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City cars may be the smallest cars on the road, but that shouldn’t stop them from being comfortable, practical and good to drive.

A Best Buy city car will be all of those things – but it will also be fuel-efficient, affordable to buy and run, and offer long-term reliability. And, of course, it’ll be a breeze to park on crowded city streets.

Not all city cars are made equal, however. Our testing has revealed three Don’t Buy city cars that simply don't deliver in terms of quality, comfort or safety, including a best-selling model. City cars are some of the cheapest on the road, but that doesn’t mean you need to put up with substandard build quality or a lack of basic safety equipment.

Below are the very best city cars we’ve tested - all bona fide Which? Best Buys that’ll make urban excursions a pleasure. Scroll down to see the three you should avoid.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access to our best city cars and all of our online reviews - join Which?

Best new city cars

Price from £20,485
Which? score 76%
Reviewed Jan 2014
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This city slicker is surprisingly nippy to drive, and surprisingly easy, too - it has all the normal pedals, an automatic gear lever and regular instruments. There are some big differences, though - it's eerily quiet and acceleration is instantaneous. Just watch the limited range and long charge times.

Price from £15,995
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Jan 2011
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat space:
2 out of 52 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This curious looking model was one of the first all-electric cars on the market, and can prove very economical to run. Its size and acceleration make it ideally suited to urban driving.

Price from £9,914
Which? score 71%
Reviewed May 2012
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

With low-powered engines, this model can feel breathless on motorway journeys, but in town it really excels, thanks to its compact dimensions and nippy handling. Ride comfort is excellent for this type off car, too, and front passengers will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of room on offer.

Price from £11,983
Which? score 68%
Reviewed Oct 2012
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This well-equipped and willfully funky model has a comfortable ride for such a small car, and features almost limitlless scope to customise the exterior styling.

Price from £9,165
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Dec 2017
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

What it lacks in looks, this city car makes up for with decent levels of standard equipment, solid interior quality and an effortless driving experience. It's backed by a five-year manufacturer warranty, too.

Best used city cars

Price from £4,195
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Jan 2011
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This diminutive city car costs next to nothing to run and is a doddle to drive. It won’t do well over long distances though.

Price from £2,821
Which? score 69%
Reviewed Mar 2008
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

There's a good range of engine options on this city car and as long as you avoid the 1-litre you'll have the perfect way to jet around town.

Price from £1,779
Which? score 68%
Reviewed Jul 2005
Driving stability:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This tiny city car feels somewhat basic, but it's an accomplished model, being nippy, cheap to run and a doddle to park.

Price from £3,228
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Jan 2009
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Clever interior packaging means this dinky little car is surprisingly accommodating. It excels in urban traffic and it's safe in a crash, too.

Price from £3,790
Which? score 64%
Reviewed May 2011
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A relatively roomy cabin and ease of use are this city car's strengths. It's good value, and all but the earliest examples are likely to still be covered by the lengthy manufacturer warranty.

Not found the car for you? Browse all of our city car reviews

And here are three city cars to avoid

Due to their small size, city cars are often some of the cheapest cars you can buy. Some low-cost models don’t feel like it, though; their interiors may be more basic than your average Audi or BMW, but they are comfortable, and some effort has gone into making the cabin a pleasant place to sit. 

Unfortunately, not all city cars are so well designed. We’ve tested small hatchback models that are light on features and light on comfort, with cheap plastics and drab interiors sapping the fun from your driving.

A small car means a small engine, which leaves some city cars feeling underpowered. High revs and a lot of gear changing is required to keep them up to speed, especially if you plan on taking them out on the motorway. The better city cars we’ve tested don’t have this problem, so you don’t need to settle for a feeble engine in your city car just because it’s small and designed for inner-city driving.

Our testing has identified some of the worst city cars available on the new and used market, so you know which ones to avoid and what to look out for when you’re buying. 

City cars to avoid

Price from £9,223
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

High CO emissions in our tests, which are more stringent than the official ones, and a poor safety score without the optional safety pack mean we really cannot recommend this tiny hatchback. It's a shame, as it's distinctively styled and returns decent fuel economy.

Price from £10,929
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Aug 2017
Driving stability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat comfort:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Don’t be suckered in by the price and space - in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency, it's well off the pace. One to avoid.

Price from £11,272
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Apr 2016
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This isn't the sharpest city car to drive, nor the most commodious or comfortable. Its fashionable charm and low running costs have proved very popular, but poor crash protection seals its fate as a Which? Don’t Buy.

We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations and, because Which? is independent and doesn’t accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test.

Every car we review is subjected to more than 300 individual tests in a lab, on a test track and on real roads – and we really clock up the distance, driving around 900 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs.

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the annual Which? Car Survey, and use it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

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