Fiat 500 city driving

Top 8 used city cars

Fancy an inexpensive, economical and easy-to-drive used city car? Here’s our guide to 8 of the best.

Have you been wondering about buying a small car for your commute instead of taking the train? Do you need a cheap runaround while your other half uses the family car for work? Or maybe you’re looking for a first car you can be proud of?

Either way, we’ve got good news. No longer does an inexpensive used car have to feel like one. Modern city cars have become rather nice places to be, and offer more space, equipment and driving fun than you might imagine. 

Which one to choose, though? Well, with so many options, we wouldn’t blame you for feeling baffled. But we can help. Below, you’ll find our round-up of the best used city cars you can buy.

1. Hyundai i10

At first glance, the Hyundai i10 may not be the most head-turning of options, but its beauty is more than skin deep.

For starters, there’s a smart interior that feels well put-together, with slick switchgear and a decent slew of equipment as standard on most models. It’s good to drive too, with responsive steering and a smooth ride. 

But the i10’s best feature is how spacious it is; whether you’re in the front or in the back, there’s plenty of headroom, and while you won’t exactly fit a dining table and chairs in the boot, there’s still more than enough room for a week’s shopping back there. And if you buy one made less than five years ago, you’ll get the balance of the five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

Read our Hyundai i10 review

2. Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto teams slick looks with an extremely practical interior that’s plenty big enough for four adults or a family of five. Generous equipment, especially on higher-end versions, adds to the Picanto’s appeal. 

You might be surprised by just how much fun you find it to drive too. The body doesn’t lean over in bends, and sharp steering means it changes direction swiftly and confidently. What’s more, the Picanto came with a seven-year manufacturer warranty when it was new – so you’ll get the benefit of whatever’s left of that if you buy one second-hand.

Read our Kia Picanto review

3. Volkswagen Up

The Volkswagen Up is one of the classiest city cars, with an upmarket image and a high-quality interior.

It’s brilliant to drive with sweet handling, nippy throttle response and a composed, well-controlled ride. It really is delightful for zipping around town in and it feels pretty accomplished out on the motorway.

And despite the diminutive dimensions and cute styling, there’s plenty of room inside thanks to some clever use of space, so even if you need to carry adult passengers regularly, you shouldn’t find it a problem.

4. Renault Twingo

Look under the bonnet for the engine of the Renault Twingo, and you won’t find it. That’s because it’s in the back, hidden under the boot floor!

This unusual layout was chosen by Renault because it meant they could engineer in a greater steering angle – and the benefit of that is that the Twingo is super nimble in town, with a tight turning circle that few other cars can match. 

The downside is there’s less space in the boot, which makes cramming your luggage into a Twingo for a weekend away a bit of a chore. However, on the plus side, there is at least a decent amount of space for passengers – and they’ll love being ensconced in the Twingo’s funky interior.

5. Ford Ka Plus

The first Ford Ka became famous for its zingy handling and doe-eyed styling. This latest version, however, owes little to the original but its name, and is nowhere near as characterful. But don’t be deterred, for this is a very sensible little car – and one that benefits from low servicing and maintenance costs and Ford’s huge dealer network.

The Ka Plus is inexpensive to buy, but it isn’t just good value; space is generous and the comfortable ride means it glosses over the worst Britain’s churned-up urban streets can throw at it. Opt for the Zetec model – don’t bother with the rather basic Studio – and you even get air conditioning and a touchscreen entertainment system. Fancy!

6. Fiat 500

On the outside, its looks have made the little 500 a style icon. On the inside, that theme continues, with a beautifully finished interior that manages somehow to feel both retro and modern at the same time. 

The Fiat 500 can be a bit noisy and a little bouncy over churned-up bits of road. And although the rear seats are small and there’s no five-door option, you can forgive it when you clap eyes on it and judging by its popularity, many 500 owners have done just that.

What’s more, while the 500 is a little more expensive than most city cars to buy, its status as a must-have for some buyers means it’ll hold onto its value. In other words, you’ll get some of that extra outlay back when the time comes to sell it on.

Read our Fiat 500 review

7. Suzuki Celerio

If you’re looking for space, equipment, and most of all, value, the Celerio is a great buy.

Although it has a slightly awkward body, the Celerio offers a huge amount of space inside – as much as the best city cars, if not more, and that’s despite the fact it’ll cost you less to buy. It’s also very well equipped, with some of the toys you’d have to pay extra for elsewhere coming as standard. 

It’s also pretty comfortable, reasonably quiet, and while not the last word in driving excitement, it handles neatly and safely.

8. Vauxhall Viva

Here’s another car you’ll want to add to your list if you’re shopping with your sensible head on. The Vauxhall Viva’s smart, if unexciting, exterior hides a car that’s actually slightly larger than most city cars – and that means it beats the majority of them on space. 

There is a downside, and it’s an interior that’s built from dark, rather cheap-feeling plastics. But the Viva is well equipped, and on the move, you’ll find its supple suspension means it feels more stable and rides more smoothly than many small cars.

It’s inexpensive when compared like-for-like with some of its rivals. This is an awful lot of car for the money, and of course, it benefits from low maintenance costs and Vauxhall’s huge dealer network.

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