Top 10: Small Hatchbacks for £12,500
Small cars are better than ever and even with a budget of £12,500 you can get a good quality hatchback. As a result, downsizing needn't mean having to compromise, as these 10 models prove.
If you're after a small car, the Swift may not be the first name that leaps to mind. But this is a car we find ourselves recommending on a regular basis. You can forgive some slightly cheap looking interior plastics and a small(ish) boot as it's very well equipped with the SZ3 model getting 16-inch polished alloys, keyless entry, DAB and air conditioning.
Designed and built in Europe, the i20 is nicely suited to life on UK roads, with suspension and steering that make it easy to drive on rough British tarmac. True, it's not be the most exciting thing from behind the wheel, but it feels a well engineered and solid car. Hyundai is currently offering discounts which brings the price of the S Connect model down to £12,100.
While you may not find the likes of the Skoda Fabia or Citroen C3 in this list, you can still get a lot of Dacia for your money. But this more than just A to B transport, as the Sandero is actually an impressive small car. And it's amazing value for money. For £12k you can get any version in the range and still have change left.
Despite the name, the Ka+ has more in common with the previous Fiesta than the Ka. That means it's a proper five seater and has a useable 270-litre boot. It's also very affordable and you can get a mod-level Zetec model for this money, which comes with air con, cruise control plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Renault may have dropped the Twingo in the UK but you can still get its counterpart - the Smart Forfour for less than £12k. Cheap to run and fun to drive the 0.9-litre engine is the one to go for with more get up and go, but both engines are economical. It's also very well equipped coming with heated leather seats as standard.
The latest Kia Rio might not have the all-round capability of the latest SEAT Ibiza or the handling sparkle of the Ford Fiesta, but the Rio is a very capable hatchback that does everything you ask of it. Factor in the seven-year warranty and it's a very sound buy. You can get a basic 1 version for less than £12.5k which has air con, Bluetooth and LED daytime running lights.
It may not look that different from its predecessor - it is after all a heavily revised version of that car - but this Corsa has a far better interior than before. Gone are the scratchy plastics and dated layout, replaced by a cabin similar to the Adam. It's also very affordable and you'll find plenty on pre-reg deals or with discounts, especially with a new model coming in 2020.
We realise that the latest Micra starts at a few hundred pounds over £12.5k, but with most of its direct rivals priced at considerably more, the Nissan looks good value. It's safe too and even the most basic model has lane departure warning, lane keep assistance and auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection – tech that is rarely standard even on cars from the class above.
The Panda may be getting long in the tooth now but it remains a cheap to run and surprisingly practical small car. For less than £12,500 you can get a top pf the range Lounge model or go for the Panda Waze which gets the chunky looks of the 4x4 model.
Facelifted in 2018, the MG 3 is now much improved from before yet remains very affordable with the mid level Excite model priced at less than £11,500 meaning there's still budget to splash out on a few extras. It's pretty cheap and cheerful - not everyone will be impressed, but the MG 3 is a surprisingly likeable car that's very affordable to buy and run.