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Best Small Cars

Best Small Cars

By Swansway Motor Group 15-12-2017


The best small cars combine easy handling with style and deceptive space. Discover the best small cars for economy, reliability and boot space at Swansway Group.

The best small cars combine easy handling with style and deceptive space. Discover the best small cars for economy, reliability and boot space at Swansway Group.

Built for City Driving and Easy Handling

The best small cars aren’t as impractical as they might sound! Perfect for navigating through narrow city roads and squeezing into tiny parking spaces, car manufacturers continue to improve the quality and practicality of small cars to give buyers the best of both worlds. Some of the best small cars now offer plenty of boot space as well.

So, if you’re looking for a compact car that’ll still fit the kids comfortably in the back and hold up against motorway driving, there’s plenty to choose from: small cars with big boots; cheap small cars; the most reliable small cars and of course the most economical small cars. Even the small 4x4 car has taken its hold on the market.

With compact cars making up the majority of new car sales in the UK, they’re proving to be a very popular option with drivers at all stages of life, which means that there’s plenty of choice out there - great for all of our customers! Here’s our list of some of the best small cars from across the Swansway Group.

The most compact Citroën on the market is the Citroën C1. This hatchback is available as a five-door model if accessibility and practicality are your main priorities, or you can go for the three-door alternative for a sleeker look and slightly lower price tag. As with all of the best small cars, the Citroën C1 is economical to run, with fuel consumption of around 68.9 MPG.

Automatic transmission options also make the Citroën C1 a great candidate for the best small automatic car. You can go for other extras to give your C1 some added flair, such as the Airscape model that comes with a folding fabric canopy roof. Then there’s the Flair specification that adds a 7-inch touchscreen to the dash and a reversing camera to really help you fit into those small city spaces. Voted one of the most reliable small cars by Carbuyer, you’ll be onto a winner with this one.

The C1’s size makes it fun to drive through narrow roads, but still robust enough to handle longer drives. It’s efficient at handling corners and also comes with hill hold control to assist you with steep starts. Despite its compact nature, there’s still plenty of space for the kids in the rear of the car, although taller adults might find it a tight squeeze. Citroën has increased the boot space since the older models of the C1, and the back seats also fold down if you need some extra storage space - who said compact cars aren’t practical?

Another of Citroën’s contenders for the best small cars is the C-Zero. That’s ‘Zero’ as in zero emissions, because this sleek city car is Citroën’s only fully electric model, making it a contender for the most economical small car on this list. It comes at a higher price than the C1, but its low running costs easily make up for this.

The car’s sleek, aerodynamic design gives it a cool, futuristic look and puts the driver in a great position for a complete view of the road with its almost vertical front. The C-Zero has a spacious interior for a city car, with a high roof allowing plenty of room for two passengers in the back of the car and ample boot space for shopping bags or luggage.

Buying this electric car doesn’t mean compromising on the essential functions. Electric power steering, automatic headlights, and air conditioning are all on offer. But, bear in mind that using these features will cause the battery to drain at a quicker rate, so you should factor this into your journey times and itineraries. Make sure you know where you can access charging points on longer journeys and you’ll soon be whizzing around, fuel-free!

View Citroën C-Zero Now

If you’ve got a taste for retro style cars, then the Fiat 500 is a good place to look. Modelled on the 1957 Fiat 500, this up-to-date version carries with it all of the charm of the original with today’s safety technology, more power and more customisable options. This compact car is perfect for city driving, and even features a ‘city’ button which improves driving conditions in a busy setting.

The front seats are mounted fairly high so the driver is in a good position to see clearly out of the car. Still, there’s plenty of space in the front so you’re not short on headroom or legroom. While you might think that the Fiat 500 isn’t the best small family car on this list, three doors and two rear seats make it is spacious enough for a small family who might appreciate that size isn’t everything. There’s a decent amount of boot space in the back, as well, which can be extended further by opting for 50/50 split folding back seats.

The Fiat 500 is great value for what it provides and is also in the running for best small automatic car with the option of five-speed Dualogic auto transmission. The car is fitted with seven airbags to keep the driver and passengers safe, as well as other safety features including ABS.

Another contender for most economical small car is the fully electric Peugeot iOn. The iOn is a five-door car, providing comfortable accessibility for up to four passengers. The driver’s seat is height-adjustable, making it even easier for them to see out of the expansive front windscreen. For an added touch of comfort, the driver’s seat is also heated.

Looking beyond comfort, the Peugeot iOn is one of the best small cars for safety features with a number of driver aids to help you drive safely, including Electronic Stability Control, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist, and Active Stability Control. If you do have kids to fit in the back, the iOn also comes with ISOFIX anchor points to easily equip car seats.

The iOn’s battery can last up to 93 miles from fully charged, which may be reduced if you use in-car features such as air conditioning. So, if you’re planning a long journey, make sure there are charging points along the way for you to ‘refuel.’ Its narrow body makes it perfect for city driving and for fitting into tight spots - not that you’ll find many with this fab little runabout!


Another of the entry level small cars out there that really stands up to the test is the SEAT Mii. This is one of the best small cars with big boots, the SEAT Mii boasts a 251-litre boot. Space inside the cabin is impressive too, with plenty of head and legroom for adults in the front. Legroom might be tight in the back for tall adults, but there’s definitely plenty of space for small kids to travel comfortably, making this a good choice for best small family car. Opt for the five-door version to improve accessibility for passengers in the back.

The SEAT Mii is also a good option for safety having been awarded a 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. It’s also one of the most reliable small cars with hill-hold assist to help you set off safely on steep hills without rolling backwards, while Electronic Stability Control can reduce the risk of skidding, keeping you in control at all times.

Its compact and agile frame makes the SEAT Mii a good small car for zipping in and out of city streets, and it’s a fun and comfortable drive with great control over speed bumps or potholes. Still, the SEAT Mii also holds up to scrutiny when driving on larger and faster roads, planting the SEAT Mii firmly on the list of best small cars on the market this year.

Our final contender is one of the best small cars around right now, voted Best City Car by Auto Express. The Volkswagen up! has one of the most spacious interiors of similar small cars, with room enough for four adults. It’s available with either three or five doors, covering all angles from sleek to practical, depending on your needs and preferences.

Like the SEAT Mii, the up! is stable and easy to control over uneven surfaces, impressively so for a small car. It’s a delight to drive and remains smooth at higher speeds, while also being easy to handle at low speeds and around tight bends. Visibility out of the car is also good, with narrow pillars to the sides of the windscreen not obstructing too much of your view.

The Volkswagen up! also offers you a touch of class and luxury at an incredibly reasonable price. The up! has a deep boot that provides a good amount of space for bags, with flat folding rear seats as standard to provide extra room. Higher end trims offer 60/40 split-folding seats for greater flexibility. Great inside and out, what’s not to like about the VW up!?

We’ve covered six of the best small cars on the market at the moment, offering affordability, practicality, reliability, style, and the odd touch of luxury. Still undecided? Here’s a reminder of some of their top features:

Of course, at Swansway Group, we’re always on hand to offer honest and impartial advice about all of our cars. If you’re looking for a stylish compact car to cruise around in, get in touch with Swansway Group for expert guidance when buying your new car.

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