Fiat 500 city driving

Best used city cars

Fancy an inexpensive, economical used city car? Here’s our guide to eight of the best.

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By Cazoo editorial team

Thinking about buying a small car for your commute instead of a season ticket for the train? Do you need an inexpensive runabout for those times when your partner is driving the family car? Or maybe you’re looking for a first car that fills you with pride.

There are many scenarios where owning a small, efficient city car can make a lot of sense, especially because modern ones often feel like smaller versions of bigger cars. They give you more space and equipment than you might expect, with solid quality and a fun driving experience.

You’ve got lots of city cars to choose from, including a growing number of battery-powered electric cars. That amount of choice can make it tricky to choose the right one for you but we can help – here’s our round-up of the best used city cars.

1. Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 may not be the most eye-catching of city cars but its talents run deep. The current generation of i10 has been sold new since 2020 when it replaced a model sold from 2014 to 2020.

Not only does the i10 look rather smart, it’s very user-friendly, well equipped in most models and feels like it’s built to last a long time. It’s also good to drive, with responsive steering and a comfortable ride. Long journeys won’t present problems either, as it feels safe and stable at motorway speeds.

But the i10’s best feature is how spacious it is. There’s generous headroom and legroom in the front, adults fit in the back, and while you won’t exactly fit a dining table and chairs in the boot, there’s more than enough space for a week’s shopping.

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2. Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto is one of the sportiest-looking city cars and the driving experience lives up to the looks, thanks to sharp steering that lets it change direction quickly and confidently. It can be a lot of fun to drive, but that doesn’t come at the expense of comfort when driving along roads strewn with potholes and speed humps.

Inside, you’ll find space for four adults and, in the boot, room for a weekend’s worth of luggage. You also have a generous helping of standard equipment in most models and it’s an easy car to get acquainted with because the driving controls, buttons and knobs are straightforward to find and use.

3. Volkswagen Up

The Volkswagen Up is one of the most upmarket city cars, thanks to a high-quality interior and VW’s premium image.

It feels light and nippy around town, yet solid and comfortable enough to be relaxing on long motorway journeys. It’s also a great option if you really enjoy your driving, with responsive steering and engines. The sporty GTI model in particular is a little pocket rocket – it’s great fun to drive.

Practicality is another strong point for the Up. There’s room for four and the boot can hold a few carry-on suitcases. Five-door models are the more practical choice because your passengers will have easier access to the back seats.

4. Fiat 500

The Fiat 500’s chic looks have made it a style icon and its retro interior, inspired by classic Italian cars of the 1950s, has a real feel-good factor. That’s particularly true in the special-edition models with their trims and colour combinations – some have a bright and fun atmosphere, like the Vintage ‘57 edition, while others, like the Riva model, feel rather luxurious.

Small back seats and a rather tiny boot mean the 500 isn’t the most practical of city cars, but it’s light and easy to drive and you have a great view out through the comparatively large windows. If you have mobility issues this could be a solid choice because the seats are mounted quite high and the doors open wide. This means getting in and out is easier than in lower cars.

5. Toyota Aygo

The Toyota Aygo is a favourite of young drivers, partly because of its bold styling, but mostly because it’s very affordable to run. The Aygo’s insurance group ratings really help with the cost-cutting, as even the top-spec model is only in group 7 of 50 – you could save a lot of money by getting an Aygo instead of a car in a higher insurance group. You can read more about insurance groups here.

The Aygo’s also very efficient, capable of giving you an average fuel economy of up to 61mpg. Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax) is free on models sold new before September 2017, and servicing and repairs are inexpensive because it’s easy to work on. The Aygo appeals on other levels too. It’s light, a doddle to park, reasonably spacious and practical, and most models are well-equipped with useful tech.  

Read our full Toyota Aygo review

6. Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe has the longest range of any small electric car. According to official figures, the latest models can go as far as 245 miles on a fully charged battery, so it’s perfectly possible to do longer, cross-country journeys.

If you do, the Zoe’s interior is a nice place to spend that time. There’s lots of space, it’s well-equipped with tech to keep you entertained, and you and your passengers get a good view out thanks to the high-mounted seats. The Zoe also has the biggest boot of all the cars listed here, with space for a week’s worth of holiday luggage.

7. Honda E

Few cars are more relaxing for city driving than the electric Honda E. With light flooding through big windows, sofa-like seats and a wood-effect dashboard that looks like high-quality furniture, the E feels more like a living room than a car. It’s a very high-tech living room, too, and one that lives up to the futuristic styling. Five screens are spread across the dashboard – one each for the driver and passenger, another in the middle and one at each end showing images from the rear-facing, side-mounted cameras, which the E has instead of door mirrors to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

The E has enough interior and boot space for you to take your kids to school, or your friends to the shops. It’s also quiet and smooth to drive. It can go around 130 miles on a fully charged battery, so long out-of-town journeys may prove tricky. It’s also the costliest car on this list, but its design and tech make it very desirable.

8. Fiat Panda

The Fiat Panda is unique among city cars because there’s a four-wheel-drive version available alongside the regular, two-wheel-drive models. This, together with its raised ride height, means the Panda 4x4 is very capable when driving off the beaten track, so it could be ideal if your hometown is prone to winter snow.

Whichever version of the Panda you get, it’s a lot of fun to live with. The cute exterior is matched by an interior full of bold shapes, bright colours and chunky buttons. There’s space for four adults and a relatively big boot; fold down the back seats and it can double as a small van. It’s also very easy to drive because the steering is light and responsive, the gear stick is right next to the steering wheel and you get a great view out through huge windows.

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