Downsizing is a big trend in motoring at the moment. Buying a smaller car is a great way to cut your insurance premiums and boost your fuel economy so there's more attention than ever directed at the best small cars on the market.
Choose wisely and a top city car or supermini can deliver most of the qualities you'd expect from a larger vehicle. If you can forgo a little cabin and boot space it's possible to make giant gains in terns of the purchase price, running costs and general ease of use.
Small cars these days aren't even all that small once you get inside. Modern packaging techniques mean most superminis can comfortably sit adults in the rear while smaller city cars are more than adequate for children. City cars don't tend to offer that much in the way of boot space but you can usually fold the rear seat backs down to increase capacity. Go for a supermini and you can expect a generous boot.
Parents buying a first car for their teenage children will be concerned about safety but they needn't be. The best small cars have performed well in Euro NCAP crash tests, and come with plenty of airbags and safety features. Just make sure ESP stability control is included; some manufacturers only offer it as an option.
The low running costs are probably the big draw for buyers considering a small car – some models promise fuel consumption figures in excess of 80mpg and CO2 emissions low enough to qualify for free road tax. Adding to the appeal for younger drivers will be these cars’ low insurance group ratings, which should keep premiums down as much as possible.
City cars and superminis really come into their own around town. Their compact dimensions make for easy parking and manoeuvring in the tightest spots, while the best models have responsive steering and agile handling to ensure nipping around urban streets is fun. But that’s not to say they can’t be taken on the motorway. The top choices in this market offer impressive refinement at speed, plus enough power to keep up with the flow. Just make sure you try your new small car on a mixture of roads on a test drive, so you can be happy it performs well in every situation.
We've rounded up the 10 best small cars on the market. Click the links on the left to find out which one is right for you.