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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.

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By Cazoo editorial team

An automatic gearbox gives you a smooth drive and 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 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, too.

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 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.

Read our Kia Picanto review

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 nipping 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 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 it’s as practical as many bigger cars. There’s a lot of headroom and legroom in the back seats, while the boot is almost as big as that of a Ford Focus. And, if you fold down the back seats, the Jazz gives you a flat, van-like load space. Alternatively, you can fold up the back seats bases up like a cinema seat to create a tall space behind the front seats that’s ideal for carrying bulky objects, or 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), launched 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.

Read our Honda Jazz review

4. Suzuki Ignis

The quirky Suzuki Ignis really stands out from the crowd. It’s tiny yet tough-looking, with chunky styling and a raised stance that makes it look like a go-anywhere SUV in miniature. As well as giving you a real sense of adventure on every journey, the Ignis also gives you a great view out, as well as a smooth ride for you and your passengers. 

There’s a lot of interior space packed into its short body, with room for four adults and a decent boot. There’s only one engine available with an automatic gearbox - a 1.2-litre petrol which gives good acceleration around town. Running costs are low and even the most cost-effective versions are well equipped.

5. Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 pulls off the same trick 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’s big for a city car, too, holding four adults’ weekend bags. The interior feels more upmarket than you might expect and has lots of standard equipment as well.

While it’s as light and responsive to drive as a city car should be, the i10 is quiet, comfortable and assured 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.   

Read our Hyundai i10 review

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, so its CO2 emissions are low and it could save you money on fuel. It’s also quiet, comfortable and very easy to drive. The Yaris is spacious and practical enough to be used as a family car as well. 

An all-new version of the Yaris – available only with hybrid power and an automatic gearbox – was launched in 2020. Older models were also available with petrol engines and the 1.3-litre model was available with an automatic.

Read our Toyota Yaris review

7. Fiat 500

The popular Fiat 500 has won legions of fans thanks to its retro style and exceptional value for money. It has been around a while but still looks great, inside and out.

The 1.2-litre and ‘TwinAir’ petrol engines 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, which features a fabric sunroof that slides back to stow behind the rear seats.

Read our Fiat 500 review

8. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s most popular car and it offers 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. There's a luxurious Vignale model and an 'Active' version that has higher suspension and SUV styling details, as well as more value-focused options. 

The latest version of the Fiesta was launched in 2017, with different styling and a more high-tech interior than the previous model. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is available in cars from both eras, including an automatic gearbox known as ‘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 practical, too. 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. 

Read our BMW i3 review

10. Kia Stonic

Small SUVs like the Stonic make a lot of sense as city cars. Taller than a conventional car, they 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, and it’s enjoyable to drive, with a surprisingly sporty feel. The T-GDi petrol engine is available with a smooth and responsive automatic gearbox.

Read our Kia Stonic review

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