Best & worst… superminis

Which superminis are worth your cash and which should you avoid? Find out here

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There's been plenty of activity in the supermini market recently, so here’s our pick of the best and worst cars in the class.

The difference between the best and the worst in this category is one of the most pronounced, so read on to find out the cars you should take a look at and those you should avoid.

The best of the best

Skoda Fabia
The last time we looked at the best and worst superminis, the Audi A1 and Ford Fiesta were both on the top five-star rating.

There's a new kid on the block, however, and it's rewritten the rules. The Skoda Fabia is so impressive that it's gone straight to the top of the class and knocked the Audi and Ford down a peg. It also scooped our 2015 overall Car of the Year title.

It's a super-stylish package for those who don't want to buy big, but don't want to trade down on quality either.

Materials and build quality are both top-notch, while the Fabia should be affordable to run. Resale values will be high, too, while our choice - the 89bhp 1.2 TSI 90 SE version - returns an average of more than 60.1mpg.

Don't think for a second that it's slow, though. The peppy engine takes the car from 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and up to 113mph. It's not just fun, it's also refined.

What Car? pick of the Skoda Fabia range - Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE

The best of the rest

Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is still a brilliant supermini that looks cool inside and out, comes well equipped and is now more affordable to buy, since prices were adjusted by Ford (and you can still get some cracking discounts).

Refinement is excellent and the Ford is also fun to drive, although some models are short on safety equipment and some of the interior plastics could be a bit more solid.

What Car? pick of the Ford Fiesta range - Ford Fiesta 1.0T 100 Ecoboost Zetec S/S 5dr

Hyundai i10
A small car that's big on value - the i10 is our 2015 City Car of the Year for the second year running. It's cheap to buy and cheap to run, but you won't feel short-changed as an i10 owner.

Every model gets plenty of safety equipment and creature comforts such as air-conditioning. The i10 is also a decent car to drive around town and on country roads.

It's one of the smallest of our top five, so it's not brilliant on the motorway and while you won't get a wardrobe into the boot, you should be able to squeeze in the weekly shopping.

What Car? pick of the Hyundai i10 range - Hyundai i10 1.2 Premium 5dr

Volkswagen Up
The Up set a new benchmark in the city car class when it arrived in 2012 and was good enough to be awarded our overall Car of the Year in 2012. It's economical, spacious, good to drive and has classy looks.

The Up is a bit pricey compared with some rivals and the 59bhp engine struggles on motorways. The entry-level Take Up model has no rev counter or air con and comes with manual windows only.

Of the two engines available, the stronger 74bhp engine is definitely the one to choose, as it copes with high speed roads better.

What Car? pick of the Volkswagen Up range - Volkswagen Up 1.0 75 High Up 3dr

Audi A1 Sportback
The Audi A1 in five-door Sportback form is the classiest of all the superminis, with a high-quality interior that's pure Audi but on a smaller scale. It has a strong range of engines in its line-up and offers grown-up, yet engaging driving dynamics.

In petrol form, the A1 is the quietest premium supermini on the market. The diesel variants are rattly and gruff, even when idling.

Three trim levels are available - SE, Sport and S line. However, as you progress up through the trim levels, the A1 gets sportier suspension, bigger wheels and therefore a firmer ride.

Unlike the three-door A1, the five-door Sportback has room for two adults to sit reasonably comfortably in the back. However, in the practicality department, it's still not quite a match for the best five-door superminis on the market.

What Car? pick of the Audi A1 Sportback range - Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 125 Sport 5dr

The not-so-hot
A pair of Protons sit at the very bottom of our shopping list when it comes to superminis – the Savvy and Satria Neo. Both get a one-star rating – so they really are best avoided.

After that, there are other one-star superminis that leave us short of enthusiasm. The Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Ka, Suzuki Alto and Mitsubishi i hatchback are all below par.

So, too, is the latest Nissan Micra. It's good around town, but struggles on faster roads and the quality of the build and materials is low.

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