For a small car to do well in our tests it can’t just perform well in the city, it has to be able to handle motorway traffic too. It must also have decent space despite a small external footprint, and it must be decently equipped, well built and extremely practical. Too much to ask? Not for our winners.
1. Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE
Since the Fabia has won the Car of the Year award from What Car? it’s not hard to see how it could be No 1 here. It’s sensibly priced, frugal in many versions such as this – 60mpg really is attainable – quiet and composed. It’s extremely well made and is simply the best supermini on the market.
2. Hyundai i20 1.0T GDi SE
Where small meets big, when exterior meets interior. It’s just not as classy as some of the German rivals, with some cheap touches to the cabin, but all that space represents an attractive proposition.
3. VW Polo 1.2 TSI Match
Hardly one of the cheapest small cars, but you get a lot of class and good engineering for your money. However, given the range of engine and trim options, you can probably find one that suits your budget. We’d recommend this 1.2 TSI Match as the best compromise.
4. Ford Fiesta 1.0T 100 Ecoboost Zetec S/S 5dr
Given the discounts you can get, this is amazing value for money. The handling is terrific, the engines, particularly the Ecoboost petrol ones, are very strong and it’s just a hoot to drive. The cabin is looking a touch dated but it’s easy to see why this is the best selling car in Britain.
5. Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 125 Sport 5dr
It’s all the things you’d expect from an Audi, just smaller. Lots of class, a fabulous cabin and a good line-up of engines are all there. If you get the five-door then at least you can seat four reasonably comfortably too.