Top 10: City cars for £10,000
Modern designs have transformed the once cramped and uncomfortable small car into a technological wonder, with most models capable of coping everything you can thrown at them. Downsizing no longer has to mean compromising...
We think the Up is the best city car when it comes to handling while its eager 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine means it's really enjoyable to drive. For this money you do have to make do with a base Take Up three-door model, but it does have DAB, alloy wheels and air conditioning. The Up is, of course, one of a trio consisting of the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii, but the latter doesn't appear here as prices start at more than £10k.
While the Picanto may not have the turbocharged engines of cars like the Toyota Aygo or Volkswagen Up, it is nonetheless really good to drive thanks to nimble handling and surprising amounts of grip. It's also cheap to run with low insurance and strong fuel economy. Plus of course, you get Kia's seven-year warranty. Prices start at £9700.
What the Hyundai i10 does so well is get the basics right. It's well built, good to drive and has a really nice quality interior. True it may not have the cool factor of the Fiat 500 or the image of the Volkswagen Up, but in our opinion the smart money in this market would go on the i10. It's genuinely a great little car.
Styling aside, there's little to choose between the 108, the Toyota Aygo and Citroen C1, so if you're not too bothered about the badge on the bonnet, it's likely to come down to which one you can get the best deal on. Prices are similar across all three but you're more likely to find a good pre-reg deal on a C1 - we've seen cars with several thousand pounds off the list price.
We know this is a bit bigger than a city car, but given the price we couldn't not include it here. Prices start at just £7000, making this the cheapest car on sale in the UK. As you'd expect, the basic version comes with little equipment so we’d opt for the Comfort which gets pretty much everything you need including navigation, rear parking sensors and DAB.
The little Aygo is proof that going small doesn't mean boring when it comes to cars. Along with its sharp lines, there's lots of personalisation options to make your car stand out. It's also impressively refined for a city car and doesn't feel out of its depth on the motorway. For this money you will have to make do with a standard x model which does without alloy wheels or air conditioning.
The Skoda Citigo is entertaining to drive, economical and well-built. It may not have the same image as its Volkswagen Up sister car, but it is considerably cheaper. The thing that sets this car apart from its rivals is its excellent refinement, agile handling and eager performance. At this budget you can get a basic S three-door model but still have a few hundred pounds to add some extras on.
You may be surprised that there's no Ford Ka+ or Vauxhall Viva in this list, but both start at more than £10,000. You can't even get a new Smart Fortwo for this money. But if you want a good value small car, the Celerio could fit the bill. It's not the best in terms of refinement - and hardly a looker - but it's reasonably well equipped for the money.
With plenty of get-up-and-go from its perky three-cylinder engine, the 108 is an ideal car for nipping in and out of busy streets, plus it's a doddle to park. Yet it's also capable enough to make it comfortable on the motorway. One model comes in at this money - the basic Access - which comes steel wheels and doesn't have air conditioning. Like the C1, there are plenty of pre-reg models about, meaning you could save a hefty amount.
While the Fiat 500 may not feature in this list with prices somehow now starting at more than £12,000, there is the Panda. While it may be much less desirable than the 500, it is more practical - and considerably cheaper too. The basic Pop model (all steel wheels and no air con) comes in at under £10,000 and has the economical 1.2-litre petrol engine.