DESPITE increasing numbers of car buyers turning to crossover SUVs, there’s still a lot to be said for the smallest runarounds on our roads: city cars. Their diminutive size means they’re perfect for navigating tight streets lines with parked cars in busy towns and cities, not to mention squeezing through tight gaps in traffic. And finding a parking space is so much easier when your vehicle is pint-sized.
Traditionally they were thought of as the cleanest cars around, too, but that doesn’t necessarily follow: when it comes to emissions, what’s under the bonnet is more important than the size of the car these days. Being light does mean it’s easy for little cars to sprint away from traffic lights, though, making city cars some of the most fun on the road.
This is a list of the top five best city cars for 2017, compiled by Auto Trader.
Affordability really is the 108’s big trump card … it’s offered with Peugeot’s excellent ‘Just Add Fuel’ finance package. This builds three years’ worth of all your other motoring costs – tax, insurance, servicing and roadside assistance – into the single (and very affordable) monthly charge you pay for your car.
- Auto Trader’s pick of the range: 1.0 Active 5dr
- List price: £10,825
- CO2 emissions: 95g/km
- Fuel economy: 68.9mpg
- Boot space: 196 – 868 litres
Along with sister cars the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, the VW Up! is the best of its type to drive, but it’s the Up’s quality and style that really sets it apart. Our chosen High Up model has a cabin that looks and feels properly posh, and the sharp styling and desirable badge will also help protect your car’s resale value.
- Auto Trader’s pick of the range: 1.0 TSI 90 High Up 5dr
- List price: £12,595
- CO2 emissions: 108g/km
- Fuel economy: 60.1mpg
- Boot space: 251 – 951 litres
The Zoe isn’t just one of the best electric cars for city dwellers, it’s one of the best electric cars full stop. It’s smaller than most other electric offerings, which suits packed urban roads, but it’s still a proper car. It’s smooth, comfortable and easy to drive, it’s pleasant inside, and it also happens to have the longest range of any electric car this side of a Tesla.
- Auto Trader’s pick of the range: Zoe ZE40 Expression Nav
- List price: £14,245 (after Government grant, not including mandatory monthly battery lease charge)
- CO2 emissions: 0g/km
- Fuel economy: NA
- Boot space: 338 – 1225 litres
Dacia Sandero Stepway
The great thing about the Dacia Sandero is that for less than the price of most city cars, you can get a car that’s a good bit bigger and more practical, but still small enough to feel totally at home in the city. The Stepway version has a lot more style than the regular Sandero hatchback thanks to SUV-esque design, and the jacked-up suspension means the ride is a little smoother, too.
- Auto Trader’s pick of the range: Stepway TCe 90 Ambiance
- List price: £8,995
- CO2 emissions: 115g/km
- Fuel economy: 55.4mpg
- Boot space: 320 – 1200 litres
Smart Fortwo Cabriolet
The latest Smart car is as dinky as ever, meaning you can squeeze into parking spaces other drivers wouldn’t even consider to be spaces, and the super-tight turning circle also comes in very handy on claustrophobic city streets. Granted, this convertible version is pretty expensive, but there aren’t many cars so suited to city streets that deliver genuine open-top thrills.
- Auto Trader’s pick of the range: Prime 90 auto
- List price: £15,795
- CO2 emissions: 97g/km
- Fuel economy: 67.3mpg
- Boot space: 260 – 340 litres