Whether you’re tight on space to park, or simply looking for a car that’s cheap to run and benefits from low exhaust emissions, the city car category offers plenty of choice.
Inexpensive needn’t mean miserable, either, as each of the cars listed here proves – they’re all great fun to drive in their own right, as well as being excellent choices for newly qualified drivers.
Here are our top 10 city and micro cars for 2018:
10. Vauxhall Viva
The Viva is much more fun to drive than its rather ordinary looks suggest, with a free-revving three-cylinder engine, lively acceleration and an entertaining chassis. The newly introduced ‘Viva Rocks’ also introduces a level of SUV-style and funkiness to the sector, with raised ride height and chunky plastic body protection.
9. Suzuki Celerio
It’s not the most handsome car in this company, but the Celerio is one of the cheapest to run by quite some margin, with the 1.0-litre SZ3 DualJet model producing just 84g/km of CO2, along with fuel economy of 78mpg. It’s surprisingly spacious, too, making it an ideal second car for budget-savvy families.
8. Renault Twingo
The rear-engined Twingo is refreshingly different, as well as having the unique claim to fame of being the only small car to be offered with three ISOFIX car seat securing points. The 0.9TcE engine emits 95g/km of CO2, putting it in the lowest VED bracket, while it also gives surprisingly peppy performance. It’s not the most practical, but it’s great fun.
7. Fiat 500
The retro-styled 500 never gets old, thanks in part to the fact it looked like an old-timer when it first came out. The car remains popular among younger drivers for its low running costs and funky image, along with a vast range of personalisation options. The soft-top option adds further appeal, as does the Twin Air two-cylinder engine, with its characterful engine note.
6. Citroen C1
The Citroen C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo are cut from essentially the same cloth, built in the same factory, and all three are superb city cars. The Citroen is available in three trim levels, Touch, Feel and Flair. The ‘Airscape’ fold-back roof is a nice option, albeit a pricey one at £950. Two petrol engines are offered – 1.0 and 1.2, with the latter offering a surprising turn of pace.
5. Peugeot 108
The 108 has a slightly more mature appearance than the C1, with a front end reminiscent of the larger models in the Peugeot line-up. Otherwise it’s essentially the same car, but its more sober appearance gives it appeal to a broader age range of buyers. Truthfully, there’s little to choose between the two, but the Citroen feels like a more youthful car, so the buyer demographic is slightly different.
4. Toyota Aygo
The third car of the PSA-Toyota triumvirate is the Aygo, and while it isn’t offered with PSA’s 1.2-litre Pure Tech engine like the other two, it does benefit from Toyota’s quibble-free five-year warranty. In a market where keeping costs to a minimum is often critical, this swings the sensible buyer’s choice more in the Toyota’s direction.
3. Skoda Citigo
The Citigo is a fabulous little car, available as both a three and five-door, and with prices as little as £7,995. It shares its architecture with the SEAT Mii and Volkswagen Up!, and of the three it’s the cheapest and arguably best value for money, though it doesn’t have the youthful image of the SEAT nor the broad range of the Volkswagen. Irrespective, it’s still a great city car.
2. SEAT Mii
The SEAT Mii is essentially the same car as the Citigo, but with a funkier, more youthful appeal. It also comes with the additional option of ‘City Assist Braking’, which is a semi-autonomous system that causes the car to apply its own brakes in traffic if it senses an impending low-speed bump. Trim levels are aimed at younger drivers, names after fashion brands or, in the case of the ‘sporty’ FR-line, SEAT’s own performance models.
1. Volkswagen Up!
Our top choice in the city car sector is the Volkswagen Up!, in part because the prestigious Volkswagen badge helps it retain its value better than the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo with which it shares most of its components, but also because, for city dwellers, there’s an electric model available. The E-Up! may sound like a Yorkshire greeting, but its 82PS electric motor and pure electric drivetrain make it the perfect urban companion.