Jeremy Clarkson: 'Soulless tools' like the Hyundai i10 are no more joyful than a fridge freezer

Best small cars to buy in 2022

Small but mighty


IF YOU’RE looking to buy a small car in 2022 you may be finding it a little bewildering, as there’s a surprising amount of choicewhen it comes to new city cars.

Whether you’re a new driver, looking to downsize or simply replace your trusty old small car, here we’ve picked our favourite models that are on sale in 2022.

Our choices include feature-packed petrol models and a couple of the best city-focused electric cars. Whichever you choose, they’re small, easy to drive, surprisingly refined and deliver versatility that belies their compact dimensions. They are all cracking fun behind the wheel, too.

Best small cars at a glance

Car Price from Dimensions (L x W x H) Doors Power options Transmission
Fiat 500 £23,495 3,632mm x 1,900mm x 1,527mm 3 Electric only Auto only
Volkswagen Up! £13,250 3,600mm x 1,645mm x 1,504mm 3 or 5 Petrol or electric Manual or auto
Hyundai i10 £13,195 3,670mm x 1,680mm x 1,480mm 5 Petrol only Manual or auto
Kia Picanto £11,450 3,595mm x 1,595mm x 1,485mm 5 Petrol only Manual or auto
Toyota Aygo X £14,795 3,700mm x 1,740mm x 1,525mm 5 Petrol only Manual or auto
Honda e £29,165 3,894mm x 1,752mm x 1,512mm 5 Electric only Auto only

1. Fiat 500

Fiat 500e

Price from £23,495

While the latest Fiat 500 retains some of the retro-inspired looks of its predecessor, there are clever styling tweaks (check out the split LED headlights) and it’s all-new underneath.

The electric drivetrain delivers a maximum range of 204 miles, which will be plenty for use in the kind of urban habitat for which the 500 is designed.

You pay a high price for it up front but the running costs are tiny, and the 500 is an upmarket machine packed with style and featuring nippy handling.

2. Volkswagen Up!

SUNDAY TIMES MOTOR AWARDS 2020 WINNER - VOLKSWAGEN UP! GTI

Price from £13,250

It’s been around for a while now but the VW Up! is still a masterclass in small car design. It packs as much passenger space inside as a larger supermini (although the boot is minuscule), while great connectivity means you can plug in your smartphone and use it as part of the dashboard.

The Up! comes with petrol or electric drive, while the GTI is a pint-sized pocket rocket that puts a smile on your face every time you drive it.

3. Hyundai i10

Jeremy Clarkson: 'Soulless tools' like the Hyundai i10 are no more joyful than a fridge freezer

Price from £13,195

The i10 is a feature-packed city car that brings upmarket tech to the class. It mirrors the VW Up! by having a surprising amount of space inside, but since it’s a newer machine the connectivity options are greater. The boot is much bigger, too.

Power comes from either a 1-litre three-cylinder engine (perfect for town), a 1.2-litre four-cylinder (better for longer trips) and a rorty turbocharged three-cylinder. The latter is no GTI but still delivers a fun drive. And we love the automatic throttle blips when you change down the gears in higher spec models — that feature used to be the preserve of Porsche. Great fun.

4. Kia Picanto

Top five best city cars

Price from £11,450

The Picanto is closely related to the i10, since Kia and Hyundai are sister companies. They use a similar platform and the Picanto also uses the pair of 1-litre engines found in its sister model. But list prices start slightly lower for the Kia, while the rugged looking X-Line and sportier GT-Line S versions add style without ramping up the insurance costs. There’s the attraction of Kia’s seven-year warranty, too.

5. Toyota Aygo X

Toyota Aygo X

Price from £14,795

An all-new Aygo hits showrooms in 2022, and it’s a step-change for Toyota’s smallest car. It’s still built at the same factory in the Czech Republic, and has the same compact dimensions and rev-happy 1-litre engine as the old car, but this time around the addition of an X to its name signifies its new rugged, off-road-inspired looks. The tech and connectivity are ramped up inside, too.

6. Honda e

2020 Honda e review by Will Dron for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk

Price from £29,165

Concept car looks help the electric Honda e stand out, while top-spec models feature a bank of screens across the wood-topped dashboard. The outer displays show video images in place of door mirrors. A rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout sounds sporty, but the main benefit is a tight turning circle. If you can afford it (you’ve noticed the sticker price, right?), it’s a really fun, high quality urban runabout.