City cars are the perfect vehicle when you’re travelling around urban Britain. They have clever designs and come with plenty of practicalities which makes driving around in one a truly enjoyable experience.
When you add the fact that most city cars are known for their value for money and with plenty of great options out there, finding the right one might just be one of the most rewarding challenges you’ll ever have.
We’ve made finding the best city car a little easier by putting together a list of top picks. All available at Cargiant too.
First on our list is the aptly named Skoda Citigo, crowned ‘best City Car’ in the Auto Express new car awards four years in a row, the Skoda Citigo is the compact urban hatchback with plenty to offer.
The initial thing you notice when you take the Citigo out for a spin is the agility you get from a car that looks rather solid and robust. The light but precise electro-hydraulic power steering reinforces the sensation that you’re in a vehicle nimble enough to get you in and out of traffic.
Inside the Citigo you have a respectable cabin with all the controls and features you’d expect from cars of its generation. More noticeably in the centre console is a removable 5-inch multimedia device that can be used for navigation, hands-free phone or on-board computer – this is also integrated into the car’s audio system.
The Skoda Citigo is not only for the meandering of the city streets either, despite a relatively simple range of engines to choose from, the Citigo manages to cover all bases. The 1.0 litre three cylinder petrol with 74 bhp is the standout choice for most drivers, whilst the high powered GreenTech engine will give you that extra injection you need for long country roads and busy motorways.
The GreenTech also returns a noteworthy 67.3mpg and 97g/km CO2 which exempts it from Vehicle Excise Duty, this means you’ll keep running costs low while filling the 251 litre boot on all models for those impromptu city adventures.
The Toyota Aygo is a small city car with an element of playfulness about it. Toyota insist the Aygo’s striking face is inspired by manga comics but however you want to interpret the bold, sharp and eye-catching angles of the Aygo you certainly cannot deny there’s also maturity beneath the layers.
The Aygo provides a high-quality interior, a distinguished reprieve from the hard and shiny plastics you got from older models. There’s a bold coloured strip that matches with the exterior, which promises to provide vibrancy to the dullest of journeys.
The Toyota Aygo becomes a lot more serious in the engine department. With two models giving you 1.0 litre, three cylinder petrol engine that can produce a more than proficient 68bhp – you’ll be able to reach 0-60mph in 13.9 seconds.
Toyota also seem to only do things in twos when it comes to the Aygo: you have the option of the manual gearbox or an automated manual with a paddle shift.
The Aygo is certainly an impressive choice for a practical drive with plenty of urban edge, and you won’t be left with a case of style over substance as every Aygo produce CO2 emissions of below 100g/km and can return close to 70mpg.
True to Volkswagen nature, the Volkswagen Up! gives you a smart, non-superfluous look with excellent build and an engine that rivals every other car in its segment.
Since it was introduced in 2012, the VW Up! has been one of the most popular city cars out there. Surprisingly spacious and an impressive engine choice, the Up is one of the few city cars you actually enjoy on a motorway.
It’ll be hard to talk about the VW Up! without mentioning the turbo Up!, from 59bhp and 74bhp, the 1.0 TSI top spec and high trim option now gives you 89 bhp. This clearly makes the car more fun and competitive to drive. It also has a far more stable drive than most cars in its category, giving you the comfort of driving a much bigger car.
This is not to say the VW Up! offers space sparingly, head and legroom are more than adequate for the driver and both passengers at the front and back respectively. The boot space is also respectable and you can also fold the rear seats down with ease to manage some of the trickier shopping trips.
Some of the newer models have moved away from the optional dash top sat nav and you now have a smartphone dock with higher end infotainment system from a 5-inch screen beneath the heater controls.
It’s safe to say the Citroën 1 is up against some strong competition in the city car class, but since it shares its engineering DNA with the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108 it garners a reputation almost by default.
Like the Aygo, it also offers two three-cylinder petrol engines, a 1.0-litre 68bhp petrol available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automated manual, plus a slightly pokier 1.2-litre petrol that produces 82bhp and emits 99g/km of CO2.
The entry-level motor called VTi 68 also has the option of engine stop-start which heps bring its emissions down to 88g/km. If you want a low-emission model, however, or the bigger 1.2 engine, you have to go for the top-spec trim.
The Kia Picanto is the South Korean answer to a well built and reliable city car. Since it’ launch in 2004, the Picanto has built quite a brilliant reputation for itself as one of the best city car options.
The Picanto stands out from the crowd with its cabin quality. The interior looks and feels more expensive than the cars in its class. The interior is also well laid out and has plenty of storage cubbyholes. The front seats are ergonomically designed providing a comfortable cradle for longer journeys.
The GT Line offers the larger capacity engine option of any car in its class, a 1.2 litre four cylinder, which produces 83bhp. Power is injected into the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox and it takes the Picanto 12 seconds 0-62mph.
The Kia Picanto’s engine choice alone qualifies it as one of the best city cars you can buy, however it also has an inspiring interior that adds extra life and vitality to the small hatch. Newer models come with a 7-inch touchscreen attached to the dashboard, this includes 3D maps and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functions so you can fully connect your smartphones.
The boot space is a respectable 200 litres but if you drop the rear seats down then this increases to 1,010 litres, the bonus is this is accessible via a wide opening. Elsewhere in the cabin there are door bins that can fit larger bottles, a centre armrest with more storage underneath and a tray in the centre console.
The Honda Jazz is arguably the unsung hero in this category, this is because it offers great value for money living up to Honda’s respectable reputation when it comes to frugality.
For a city car, it’s remarkably spacious – despite being shorter than a Ford Fiesta, its boot is larger than that of a Ford Focus. The practicality doesn’t stop there, as well as being able to lower the backrests so they lie completely flat like other cars, you can also flip the bases up, so you can fit bikes and other large items across the car.
The seats are also mounted higher so passengers can easily climb in and out without the discomfort you might get from cars in the same class. Rear seat passengers can also enjoy a comfortable journey with the added bonus of not having to wedge their knees behind the seat in front of them.
Light steering also makes the Honda Jazz enjoyable and effortless to drive around the city in. The 1066KG kerbweight also makes the Jazz more agile and nimble on the road, and with a singular 1.3 litre petrol engine delivering 100bhp, you’ll have plenty of power to get you around.
Some trims on the Jazz come with a high spec kit as standard, with the SE trim you’ll get everything you need in a small city car – above the standard air con and automatic lights it adds an infotainment system, parking sensors and alloy wheels.