New car registration special March 2014: Superminis

Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0T EcoBoost stop-start 5-dr

This is such a brilliant small car that you will be smitten after your first test drive. Its sparkling personality makes it hugely likeable to drive, yet there is no shortage of practical touches that ensure living with it won’t become a chore. You can seat four adults in comfort (five at a pinch), the ride comfort is outstanding and the roadholding is a hoot. The EcoBoost three-cylinder engine is frugal when driven sensibly — a staggering 65.7mpg in combined mode — but fun when you put your foot down, thanks to its characterful sound and perky performance. This model is also exempt from road tax. Little wonder, then, that British drivers can’t get enough of it. The  bestselling car in Britain deserves its title and is well worth £169 a month.

Engine 999cc, 3 cylinders, turbo
Acceleration 0-62mph: 11.2sec
Fuel / CO2 65.7mpg / 99g/km
Road tax A (free)

Price £14,450
Deposit £3,813.71
Payments £169 x 24 months
Optional final payment £6,889
Interest rate 4.2%
Total payable £14,758.71

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Mini Cooper 

There is a price to pay for wanting the new Mini: a good deal will be hard to come by. The third generation of the modern-era Mini will be in demand when it reaches British showrooms this month, so dealers will be reluctant to offer a discount, and Mini itself isn’t putting any incentive towards a finance package.

That won’t bother most buyers, though. The Mini Cooper comes with more technology and equipment and can be more widely personalised than ever before. The rear seats are more spacious than in its predecessor and so is the boot. But the biggest change is under the bonnet. A new generation of three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines powers all Cooper models. The petrol is particularly good fun. It is lighter than the four-cylinder motor fitted to the more powerful and more expensive Cooper S, making the Cooper feel lighter on its feet and more faithful to Mini’s fun-to-drive ethos. It’s the one to buy.

Engine 1499cc, 3 cylinders, turbo
Acceleration 0-62mph: 7.9sec
Fuel / CO2 62.8mpg / 105g/km
Road tax B (first year free; then £20)

Price £16,489
Deposit £3,033.07
Payments £207 x 47 months
Optional final payment £6,410.98
Interest rate 6.9%
Total payable £19,173.05

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Volkswagen Polo 1.2 (60PS) Match 5-dr

Want a small car that feels like a larger, more expensive one? Look no further than the VW Polo. The most popular model is the 1.2-litre petrol in 59bhp tune. It’s no ball of fire, but the three-cylinder engine emits a characterful melody and offers the prospect of 51.4mpg, while the roadholding is secure and the ride remarkably smooth for a small car. Buyers should know that a lightly revised Polo will go on sale next month, with the main differences being an ever-so-subtle facelift and a wider choice of options and safety aids.

Engine 1198cc, 3 cylinders
Acceleration 0-62mph: 16.1sec
Fuel / CO2 51.4mpg / 128g/km
Road tax D (first year free; then £105)

Price £12,825
Deposit £2,800
Payments £138.49 x 35 months
Optional final payment £5,604.00
Interest rate 6.7%
Total payable £13,251.15

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Also see:

MPVs and estates

City cars

4x4s and SUVs

Family cars

Sports cars

Executive cars