Remember when buying a city car meant only two or three very basic, very similar, very small options? Those days are long gone as car manufacturers attempt to give in to demand for models that equally juggle practicality, size, drive quality, impressive design and smart equipment. The best city cars for 2020 include some exciting models which could even be accused of outdoing their larger supermini colleagues.
The up! has seen great success in the city car segment, and for good reason. It’s one of the most stylish in its market boasting a high-quality interior cabin with solid trims and a wide range of customisable dash options.
Volkswagen are offering a nifty little number which is perfect for city driving and its comfortable too meaning you don’t feel all the potholes which plague our cities streets. You’ll find some good tech as all models come with a sleek 5.0-inch colour screen and DAB radio.
Potential buyers have the choice of the city focused 1.0 litre, non-turbocharged 60hp petrol engine, or an impressive 115hp turbocharged 1.0 petrol variant for those looking to be able to flit between city and motorway driving more easily. There is also an all-electric version too.
With the jazzy design and impressive drive quality comes a higher price in comparison to its competitors and so drivers must decide whether they’re going for style over substance.
With the Citigo it’s all in the name really. If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful city run-around then this might be the perfect alternative to the VW up! thanks to a starting price under £9,000.
You get what you pay for in terms of design as the interior is a little subdued and the features are rather basic. It comes with the essentials such as remote central locking, airbags, electric front windows and a CD player, but in all honesty, you won’t be offered much else. That’s the trade off for a low starting price, but what you get in return may well be worth it depending on your requirements.
For example, it’s really inexpensive to run. The 1.0 litre petrol engine can return up to 55.4mpg and both 60hp and 75hp versions are great for city driving. However, if you’re looking to do a small amount of motorway driving too, you’ll probably want to opt for the more powerful engine choice.
It’s incredibly nippy and agile to drive and with a choice of 3 or 5 doors and two Isofix child-seat fittings in the back, it also works well as a small family car too. With regards to space, it’s more practical than you would imagine, with a decent amount of storage in door bins, a roomy glovebox and a 251-litre boot capacity.
You’ve probably seen an increasing amount of i10 models zipping around a city near you. While it doesn’t get the same level of attention as the VW up!, it is a pretty well-rounded city car. It’s stylish, fun to drive and boasts loads of clever safety tech such as lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking.
It comes with five seats, a 252-litre boot and a choice of engines. The entry level 67hp engine will of course come out cheaper, but it feels really pushed on motorways just like many of its city car siblings. If you want the freedom of being able to head out of the city onto motorways, then you’ll want to consider the 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine or the turbocharged 1.0-litre model instead.
The entry level Celerio is priced just under £9,000, similar to the Skoda Citigo. But while affordable to buy and run, it’s a real back-to-basic car so don’t be expecting much in the way of frills.
The technology on offer seems a little outdated by new alternatives now on the market, but for this intriguing price you get a 1.0-litre 67hp petrol engine which can return up to 58.5mpg. The steering is light, and the visibility is great which further adds to its city car appeal. However, with only one choice of engine you’ll struggle with lots of motorway driving.
If you do plan on sticking to simple urban routes, you’ll be pleased with the space in the Celerio as it’s a roomy little 5-seater and has a boot capacity of 254 litres.
Think of a sportier version of the Hyundai i10 and give it a slightly bigger 255 litre boot. You’re picturing the Kia Picanto.
The dash is handy, everything is exactly where it should be and it’s all easy to use. But it doesn’t have the wow factor like the VW up! model. In fact, newer city car models seem to have left the Picanto trailing behind a little but that’s not to say it should be overlooked.
It’s been named the What Car? Car Of The Year 2020 ‘Value Car’ winner. It comes with 5 doors as standard and can comfortably carry two adults and three children. It’s really easy to drive and is certainly easy on the eye, as well as being cheap to run.
There are three engines to choose between to best suit your driving needs – a non-turbo 1.0-litre petrol with 67hp, a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol with 100hp or a 1.25-litre non-turbo with 85hp.
Thinking of selling your car in favour a new city car? See how much you could get for your old vehicle here.