1: Toyota Aygo
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 80.7%
Another year, another class win for the tiny Toyota — that's three on the trot. The victory was tighter than last year, though, and the Aygo managed only 31st place overall, compared with 13th in 2009.
Its success is founded on low ownership costs and excellent mechanical reliability. Owners waxed lyrical about its cheap servicing bills, superb fuel economy and low insurance premiums, and reported fewer engine and transmission faults than on any other city car.
When things did need fixing — usually water leaks and glovebox glitches — Toyota dealers made the experience as painless as possible by carrying out the work to a high standard in pleasant service centres and treating customers in a polite manner. Only Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo owners were more glowing about their cars' exterior styling, and the Aygo's driving dynamics were also rated above average.
2: Fiat Panda
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 80.4%
A big improvement on last year's showing. Fiat dealers seem to have picked up their game dramatically, with customers rating overall service above average compared with being below par in 2009.
The Panda was actually rated above average in every single area of the survey, and owners raved about its tidy handling, responsive steering and strong brakes more than other city car. It couldn't match the Aygo's low running costs, though.
3: Smart Fortwo
Vehicle owner satisfaction score80.2%
An impressive finish for Britain's smallest car. Owners found it easy to get into and out of, and praised its comfortable seats and excellent visibility. The majority of Smart dealerships also sell Mercedes, so it isn't a shock that servicing facilities were also scored well.
The Fortwo did suffer a high number of battery failures, though, and drivers found it very noisy.
4: Fiat 500
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 79.4%
This is the 500's debut in the JD Power survey. Predictably, the scores for the Fiat's exterior and interior styling were miles ahead of anything else.
Unfortunately reliability wasn't up to scratch: the 500 suffered a high number of mechanical problems, with odd noises coming from underneath the car. The hands-free Blue&Me Bluetooth system also caused headaches.
5: Volkswagen Fox
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 78.3%
Mixed scores secured a decent result for VW's cheapest car. Drivers reported few mechanical problems and liked the Fox's driving dynamics and strong overtaking ability on the motorway. Boot space and rear passenger room were also given higher marks than any other city car.
Owners were impressed with the service they received from VW dealers, but weren't keen on the design of the Fox's dashboard. A large number of windscreen wiper faults were reported, too.
6: Citroen C1
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 76.4%
Under the skin this is the same car as the class-winning Aygo, so why only the mid-table finish? Well Citroen dealers take a lot of the blame. Owners rated their service below average, and thought some charges were unfair.
The C1 didn't have the appeal of the Toyota, either, with the cabin singled out as its biggest let-down. On the plus side, its mechanics were reliable.
7: Chevrolet Matiz
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 76.1%
A decidedly average showing from the Matiz, which was recently replaced by the Spark. Owners gave average marks for dealer service, and similar scores were dished out for ownership costs and interior appeal.
However, mechanical reliability was the worst in the class, with fluid leaks, gearchange glitches and engine warning lights. Owners weren't impressed with its performance, either, and thought its doors sounded tinny when closed.
8: Kia Picanto
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 75.5%
A slight improvement on last year's result, but 98th out of 104 cars is nothing to celebrate.
Kia service advisors could have improved matters by being more courteous to owners and explaining things better, because they contributed to a below-average rating for dealer service.
The Picanto was given average marks for ownership costs and vehicle appeal, but did suffer fewer than average exterior problems for a city car.
9: Peugeot 107
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 75.2%
Peugeot's 107 has nose-dived from second place in last year's city car class to second-bottom this time around.
What's gone wrong? Well, like the Citroen C1, the 107 suffered at the hands of Peugeot dealers, with owners unsatisfied with the overall service they received. They were also less forgiving of the Peugeot's poor-quality interior and weedy performance.
10: Ford Ka
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 73.3%
Oh dear. Bottom of the city car class and last place in the whole survey for the old Ford Ka, which owners rated below par in too many areas.
Owners were particularly damning about the cost of repairs and insurance, and weren't impressed with the Ka's interior or brakes, either.
The new Ka will appear in next year's survey, and Ford will be hoping it fares rather better than this.
City car league table
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Name Holly Robinson Age 22 Lives Milton Keynes Job Student Model 1.0 VVTi Black Mileage with car 22,000
‘The Aygo is great for buzzing around town, but I also use it for the 150-mile trip from Milton Keynes to Leeds, where I go to uni. It’s reliable and very economical, and I feel really safe when driving it. Because of all that, I reckon it’s the perfect first car.’