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Best used small automatic cars

Looking for a small automatic car? Here’s our pick of the best used small cars with an automatic gearbox.

Cazoo Editorial Team Byline Icon

By Cazoo editorial team

Published: 21 September 2022

An automatic gearbox can make driving easier and less tiring, especially on congested streets. So, if you’re looking for a small car for nipping around town, an automatic could be the best option for you.

There are lots of small automatic cars to choose from. Some are really stylish, some are really practical. Some produce zero emissions and some are very cost-effective to run. Here are our top 10 used small automatic cars.

1. Kia Picanto

Kia’s smallest car, the Picanto may be tiny on the outside, but it’s surprisingly roomy on the inside. It’s a five-door hatchback with enough interior room for four adults to sit in reasonable comfort. The boot has enough space for the weekly shop or your weekend-away luggage.

The Picanto feels light and nippy to drive, and parking is really easy. There are 1.0-litre and 1.25-litre petrol engine options, each available with an automatic gearbox. They give good acceleration around town, although the more powerful 1.25 is more suited if you do a lot of motorway driving. Kias have a good reputation for reliability and come with a seven-year warranty from new that transfers to any future owners.

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2. Smart ForTwo

The Smart ForTwo is the smallest new car available in the UK – indeed, it makes the other cars here look huge. That means it’s perfect for driving in congested cities, darting down narrow streets and zipping into the smallest parking spaces. As the name ForTwo suggests, the Smart only has two seats. But it’s surprisingly practical, with lots of passenger space and a usefully big boot. If you need more space, the longer (but still tiny) Smart ForFour is worth a look.

Since early 2020, all new Smarts have been pure-electric ‘EQ’ models that have an automatic gearbox as standard. Before 2020, the ForTwo was available with a 1.0-litre or a more powerful turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol engine, both of which had the option of an automatic gearbox.

3. Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz is a compact hatchback that’s about the same size as a Ford Fiesta but as practical as many bigger cars. There’s a lot of headroom and legroom in the back seats and the boot is almost as big as that of a Ford Focus. If you fold down the back seats, the Jazz gives you a flat, van-like load space. Alternatively, you can fold up the base of the back-row seats (like a cinema seat) to create a tall space behind the front row that’s ideal for carrying bulky objects or just keeping your dog close by.

The Jazz is easy to drive and its high seating position makes getting in and out less of an effort. The latest Jazz (pictured), introduced in 2020, is only available with petrol-electric hybrid power and an automatic gearbox. On older models, you have a choice of the hybrid/automatic combination or a 1.3-litre petrol engine with an automatic gearbox.

4. Renault Zoe

If you’re looking to switch to a small electric car, there are few more affordable ways to do it than buying a Renault Zoe. This little city car was one of the first mainstream electric cars on the market, which means prices for earlier used examples are lower than for most newer alternatives. As with all electric cars, there’s no manual version available –  just press the right pedal to go and the left pedal to stop.

The Zoe might not be the most premium small car on the market, but it does have zippy performance and can go a surprisingly long distance on a single battery charge – up to 240 miles in the latest version.

5. Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 pulls off the same feat as the Honda Jazz by having as much interior space as a larger car. Even if you or your passengers are quite tall, you’ll all be comfortable on a long journey. The boot is big for a city car, too, holding four adults’ weekend bags. The interior feels more upmarket than you might expect, and you get lots of equipment as standard.

While it’s as light and responsive to drive as a city car should be, the i10 is quiet and comfortable on the motorway so it’s just as well-suited to longer journeys. The more powerful 1.2-litre petrol engine option is available as an automatic, which gives enough acceleration for those longer trips.

6. Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris is one of the most popular small automatic cars, at least in part because it’s available with petrol-electric hybrid power in combination with an automatic gearbox. That means it can drive on electricity alone for short distances, saving you money on fuel and reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The latest version of the Yaris (pictured) – available only with hybrid power and an automatic gearbox – was introduced in 2020. Older models were also available with petrol engines and the 1.3-litre model was available as an automatic.

Read our Toyota Yaris review

7. Fiat 500

The popular Fiat 500 has won lots of fans thanks to its retro style and exceptional value for money. You can choose from an older, more-affordable model, which has been around for a while but still looks great, or the Fiat 500 Electric – an all-new, all-electric version (pictured) that was introduced in 2020.

The 1.2-litre and ‘TwinAir’ petrol engines in the older 500 are available with an automatic gearbox, which Fiat calls Dualogic. While some small cars are quicker and more fun to drive, the 500 has lots of character and is very user-friendly, with a simple dashboard and a great view out that makes parking easy. If you want to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face try the open-top 500C version – it features a fabric sunroof that slides back to stow behind the rear seats.

All versions of the newer Fiat 500 Electric are automatic, because electric cars don’t have manual gearboxes.

Read our Fiat 500 review

8. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s most popular car, offering something for everyone. It’s a fantastic first car and because it’s so quiet and reassuring to drive it’s a great option for anyone downsizing from a bigger car. It’s just as capable on a long motorway journey as it is when nipping around town, with responsive steering that makes it fun to drive. As well as the popular Zetec and Titanium trim levels, there's a luxurious Vignale model and an Active version that has higher suspension and SUV styling details. 

The latest version of the Fiesta (pictured) was introduced in 2017, with different styling and a more high-tech interior than its predecessor. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is available in cars from both eras, including an automatic gearbox that Ford calls PowerShift.

Read our Ford Fiesta review

9. BMW i3

All electric cars have an automatic gearbox and the BMW i3 is one of the best small electric cars. It’s certainly the most futuristic, looking like nothing else on the road. The interior has a real wow factor, too, and is made largely from sustainable materials, which reduces its carbon footprint even further.

It’s also practical. With room for four adults, plus luggage in the boot, it’s ideal for taking your family around town. Although it’s small, it feels strong and safe and it’s remarkably quick and quiet compared with most small cars. Running costs are low, as you’d expect of a pure electric car, while the battery range varies from 81 miles for early versions to 189 miles for the latest models.

10. Kia Stonic

Small SUVs like the Stonic make a lot of sense as city cars. Taller than a conventional car, small SUVs have a higher seating position that gives you a more elevated view and makes it easier to get in and out. They’re often more practical than a hatchback of the same size, but no more difficult to park.

All of that’s true of the Stonic, which is one of the best small SUVs you can buy. It’s a stylish, practical family car that comes well equipped, is enjoyable to drive and has a surprisingly sporty feel. The T-GDi petrol engine is available with a smooth and responsive automatic gearbox.

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