Best value city cars: Fiat 500 vs Hyundai i10

Small cars with small prices, these are the best value city cars that you can currently buy

If you want to lease a car and spend the absolute bare minimum in the process, then right now, things don’t get any cheaper than the Fiat 500. For £166 per month and a £1,491 up-front payment, you could get a 500 on a four-year lease deal.

 Fiat 500Hyundai i10
Contract type:Personal Contract Hire (PCH)Personal Contract Hire (PCH)
Monthly cost:£166£179
Length of contract:48 months48 months
Initial payment:£1,491£1,615
Mileage allowance:5,000/year5,000/year

The 500 is getting long in the tooth these days – this isn’t the all-electric version, but its combustion-powered predecessor – yet its retro looks and subtle changes back in 2016, plus new mild-hybrid powertrain options in 2022, have kept the Fiat relevant even into its 17th year of production. 

What you’re getting for very little money is a car whose compact size is perfect for urban environments. At barely 3.6 metres long, it has held on to the appeal of the iconic 500 by being more compact than the competition on the outside, which makes it incredibly easy to drive in tight spots. It also has styling that echoes the original 500 both inside and out to give it a charm that is hard to find for twice the price. 

It’s not even as if you’ll need to scrimp on kit. Seven airbags, a seven-inch digital driver’s display and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system are standard on the Dolcevita trim linked to that £166-per-month outlay, as are part-leather seats. Under the bonnet, there’s a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine that gets mild-hybrid assistance to help save fuel and cut emissions. 

With 69bhp, performance is adequate rather than thrilling, but attributes such as light steering and agile handling make the 500 incredibly easy to drive at low speeds. On the downside, the ride can be a touch bouncy, and there’s a bit more body roll through the turns than in some rivals, but it’s hard to complain for the money. 

But for the added cost of a streaming subscription each month, you could step into a Hyundai i10 instead. Beside the 500, some people will be turned off quickly by the Korean model’s straight-laced looks. But dig beyond that and there’s a huge amount to like. 

First of all, the extra pair of doors means that it’s much easier to carry friends and family in the back. There’s plenty of room inside for a car so small, and unlike the Fiat, it can cater for five, even if it’s a bit of a squeeze. Thanks to a 252-litre boot, 67 litres more than in the 500, there’s space for their things, too. 

The SE Connect trim is at the lower end of the i10 range, but still comes as standard with 15-inch alloy wheels, electric windows front and back, air- conditioning, cruise control, a reversing camera and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen. 

Driving the i10 reveals a level of maturity that the 500 can’t quite match. In terms of ride comfort and refinement, the i10 is really impressive at this price point, yet its light weight still gives a nimble feel that makes it fun to drive, too.

A compromise comes in the powertrain, though. The 1.0-litre petrol engine is sweet and refined, but with only 66bhp to play with, driving can feel like a bit of a slog out of town. While an automatic transmission isn’t available at the monthly figure above, that’s a bonus. 

It’s really not up to the standards that the i10 shows everywhere else. The five-speed manual gearbox is sweet enough, and lets you keep the engine’s modest output where you need it.

Verdict

Winner: Hyundai i10

Despite its leisurely performance, everything else about the i10 makes it a first-rate city car. It’s comfortable, refined, fun to drive, and its boxy proportions help to make the most of the Hyundai’s compact exterior dimensions.

Throw in the fact that the best current lease deals price it only just above the 500, and you’ll feel like you’re getting a very strong deal indeed.

Second place: Fiat 500

The choice here is between two cars competing in the same segment, but with very different approaches in their appeal. While we’ve picked substance over style in this case, the 500’s low price and obvious personality mean that we wouldn’t blame you if you fell for its charms. 

As long as you rarely need to carry passengers or much in the boot, then it’s a great choice for the city, too.

Figures 

 

Fiat 500 1.0 Mild Hybrid Dolcevita

Hyundai i10 1.0 MPi SE Connect

Monthly lease/total lease cost

£166/£9,442

£179/£10,231

Powertrain

3 cyl/999cc mild hybrid

3 cyl in-line/998cc

Peak power/torque

69bhp/90Nm

66bhp/96Nm

Transmission

6-spd manual/fwd

5-spd manual/fwd

Fuel tank capacity

35 litres

36 litres

Length/wheelbase

3,571/2,300mm

3,670/2,425mm

Height/width

1,488/1,627mm

1,480/1,680mm

Boot capacity (seats up/down)

185/550 litres

252/1,050 litres

Kerbweight/towing weight

980kg

921kg

Turning circle

9.3 metres

9.7 metres

Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.

29th/N/A

18th/12th

NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars

66/49/53/27/3 (2017)

69/75/52/59/3 (2020)

0-62mph/top speed

13.8 secs/104mph

14.8 secs/97mph

WLTP mpg/CO2

61.4mpg/106g/km

54.3mpg/119g/km

   

Parking sensors/camera/LED lights

Rear/no/no

No/yes/no

Cruise control/lane keep/blindspot

Yes/yes/no

Yes/yes/no

Climate ctrl/leather/heated seats

Air-con/part/no

Air-con/no/no

Sat-nav/digital dash

No/no

No/no

Wireless/CarPlay/Android Auto

No/yes/yes

No/yes/yes

Recommended

Car Deal of the Day: Flamboyant Peugeot E-208 electric supermini for £211 a month
Peugeot e-208 - front static
News

Car Deal of the Day: Flamboyant Peugeot E-208 electric supermini for £211 a month

Our Car Deal of the Day for 21 February is the classy and recently facelifted Peugeot E-208 all-electric supermini
21 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month
Defender Hard Top - downhill off road
News

Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month

The current Defender is a fantastic SUV van for businesses and is our Car Deal of the Day for 20 February
20 Feb 2024
Best convertibles and cabriolets to buy 2024
Best convertibles - header image
Best cars & vans

Best convertibles and cabriolets to buy 2024

Love the feeling of the wind in your hair while driving? These are the best convertible cars for the job
19 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: SEAT Leon is a sporty family hatch for under £200 per month
SEAT Leon e-Hybrid - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: SEAT Leon is a sporty family hatch for under £200 per month

This SEAT Leon comes in stylish FR trim and is our Deal of the Day for 19 February
19 Feb 2024

Most Popular

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes
Ford Ranger - side
News

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes

HMRC scraps its plan to axe the benefit-in-kind ‘loophole’ for pick-ups, a week after announcing it
19 Feb 2024
“Some manufacturers are losing their appetite for electric cars”
Opinion - Ford Explorer
Opinion

“Some manufacturers are losing their appetite for electric cars”

With EV market share shrinking, Mike Rutherford thinks there might be delays to the proposed 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars
19 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month
Defender Hard Top - downhill off road
News

Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month

The current Defender is a fantastic SUV van for businesses and is our Car Deal of the Day for 20 February
20 Feb 2024