Best city cars for 2021
City cars might 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 will be a breeze to park on crowded city streets.
Not all city cars are made equal, however. Our testing has revealed Don’t Buy city cars that simply don't deliver in terms of quality, comfort or safety, including a bestselling model.
City cars are some of the cheapest on the road, but that doesn’t mean you should 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 will make urban excursions a pleasure. And scroll down further to see the city cars you should avoid.
The best new city cars
The ideal city cars are nippy and easy to drive around town, with great fuel economy and reliability. Our experts have selected the very best models from our rigorous lab tests to show in the table below.
The best used city cars
Looking for a bargain? Find the perfect used city car for you from the top-performing models in our comprehensive tests.
What to avoid when buying a city car
Due to their small size, city cars are often some of the cheapest cars you can buy. However, while their interiors won't rival that of your average Audi or BMW, most are comfortable, and some effort has usually gone into making the cabin a pleasant place to sit. You shouldn't need to go without essential kit such as air conditioning or electric windows, either.
Unfortunately, not all city cars are so well designed. We’ve tested small hatchback models that are light on both features and 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 are 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.
Most critical, however, is safety. To save costs, some manufacturers don't fit their city cars with the latest active safety technology. Any car that scores particularly poorly for safety, or scores three stars or less in its Euro NCAP crash test, is automatically rendered a Don't Buy.
Here are the models you should avoid.
City cars to avoid
We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else
Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations and, because Which? is independent, 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 500 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.