1: Toyota Aygo
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 81.1%
Overall ranking: 13th=
Another year, another win for the Toyota Aygo, as last year's class champ again claims the top spot.
The little Toyota's success is founded on low running costs. Owners reported that every gallon goes a long way, insurance costs are pleasingly modest and service bills are as small as the Aygo itself.
Owners were also very happy with the car itself, especially the cute, distinctive looks. Strong scores were also awarded to the car's cabin. The Aygo picked up good marks for the way it drives, too.
Surprisingly, reliability was rated as no better than average, but the Toyota was still good enough to be a comfortable winner in this class.
2: Peugeot 107
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 79.8%
Overall ranking: 32nd=
The 107 is easily Peugeot's best performer in this year's survey and does enough to secure a respectable second place in the city car class. Perhaps that's no surprise, because it's essentially the same car as the Toyota Aygo with a different badge.
Running a 107 should prove a trouble-free experience, with above-average scores for mechanical reliability.
Peugeot drivers were happy with their cars' running costs, too. Economy, insurance and servicing bills were all rated as excellent. Better dealer service and greater vehicle appeal would have the 107 running the Aygo even closer.
3: Volkswagen Fox
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 77.3%
Overall ranking: 66th
Third in class is respectable, but the Volkswagen Fox could have done much better.
One of the advantages of choosing a city car should be the low bills, but owners were disappointed by relatively high running costs. Fuel economy could have been better and dealers might have charged less for servicing.
Fox drivers also reported some niggling reliability problems, especially with the car's exterior. On the other hand, trouble inside the cabin was rare, while the Fox was above average in the mechanical reliability category.
4: Chevrolet Matiz
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 76.8%
Overall ranking: 70th=
Some mixed scores for the Chevrolet Matiz secured it a mid-field finish.
On the plus side, very little went wrong inside the cabin. Peer under the bonnet, though, and the picture isn't so rosy: owners gave the Matiz a below-average rating for mechanical reliability. Fuel and insurance costs were also criticised, although the cost of servicing and repair work proved pleasingly low.
5: Fiat Panda
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 76.6%
Overall ranking: 76th=
From second place in its class last year, the Panda drops to fifth for 2009.
What went wrong? We'd have to point the finger at disappointing dealer service. It's the only section of the survey in which the Panda was below average compared with its peers. Owners weren't happy with the quality of the work carried out or with dealers' facilities.
There were some positives for Fiat, however. Panda drivers reported very few problems inside the cabin, and there were strong scores for the appeal of the interior and the way the Panda drives.
6: Citroen C1
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 75.2%
Overall ranking: 91st
Considering the class-winning Aygo is the same car under the skin, Citroën should be very disappointed with the C1 finishing 91st overall. For one thing, owners gave poor scores for the unappealing cabin. For another, dealer service wasn't good enough.
On the plus side, very little went wrong with the Citroën's oily bits and running costs were reasonable. Even so, the C1 was a long way away from challenging the best city cars.
7: Ford Ka
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 74.8%
Overall ranking: 94th
The Ford Ka is one of this year's big losers. In 2008 it finished 77th, this time around it falls nearly 20 places and is in the bottom 10 overall. Owners told JD Power they were reasonably happy with the way the Ka drives and that there was rarely any trouble with the bodywork. Otherwise, it's a pretty bleak picture.
For a city car, running costs were poor. Dealer service was little better, with below-average scores for the quality of the work done and the attitude of staff.
Too many owners reported mechanical problems and niggling issues in the cabin.
8: Kia Picanto
Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 74.4%
Overall ranking: 98th
It could be worse for the Picanto, but not much. The Kia picked up its lowest scores for running costs. Owners were especially critical of the cost of servicing and repair, although fuel bills and insurance premiums didn't score much higher. Low marks for the car's looks and driver appeal also held the Kia back.
Mechanical parts proved reasonably robust, but there were too many issues inside the cabin. Faults with the car's exterior proved very rare, though.
How they rated:
Click the image, below, to view a larger version of how all the cars rated.