What small and cheap but smooth car to replace my Citroën C5?

Your used-car questions answered

Used car buying guide: Chevy Spark

I am newly retired and plan to swap my Citroën C5 for a smaller, inexpensive car. I have owned three C5s, mainly because the hydropneumatic suspension gives such a smooth ride. Which small cars are similarly comfortable? NR, Lymington, Hampshire

As a former owner of a Citroën fitted with this suspension system, I understand why you like it. It will be difficult to find a little car that’s anywhere near as comfortable to drive. Small cars, with short wheelbases and light bodies, are inherently prone to bouncing.

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One of the cars that have impressed me most is the Chevrolet Spark — well worth a test drive as the ride is surprisingly composed. The entry-level version is called the LS and is fitted with the smallest wheels (13in diameter) of all Spark models, helping to reduce the crashing effect should you hit a pothole. As you’ll see on used-car sites such asdriving.co.uk, a budget of about £7,000 will buy a 2013 or 2014 1-litre LS model.

The Hyundai i20 hatchback is slightly larger than the Spark and the quality of the interior is a cut above. Because it has a greater distance between the front and rear wheels, it rides more smoothly. The trade-off is that you will either have to buy a model that is older or pay more for one the same age as the Chevrolet. Search for a 1.2 Comfort, as it comes with alloy wheels and air-conditioning as standard; a 2012-registered model with 15,000 miles is about £7,500.

A slightly larger car still is the Toyota Auris, about the size of a VW Golf. It offers minimal wind and tyre roar, and the ride is reassuringly comfortable. What’s more, the cabin is a bit more roomy than that of the Spark or the i20. It is supplied with a 1.3-litre or a 1.6-litre engine. Look for a TR model, which comes with soft velour-style seat bolsters. A 2011 1.33 VVT-i TR with about 20,000 miles costs in the region of £8,000.


Chevrolet Spark

Used car buying guide: Chevy Spark

  • For Small, easy to drive, comfy, cheap
  • Against Long-term residual values likely to fall as Chevrolet is to leave UK next year

Search for Chevrolet Sparks for sale on driving.co.uk


Hyundai i20

Hyundai i20

  • For Spacious cabin, well-laid-out interior
  • Against Some plastic trim feels a little hard and cheap

Search for Hyundai i20s for sale on driving.co.uk

Toyota Auris

Toyota Auris

  • For The most comfortable and quiet of this trio, well built and very reliable
  • Against You get an older car for the price

 Search for Toyota Aurises for sale on driving.co.uk