Best and worst small cheap cars on Motability 2016

Are you eligible for the Motability scheme? Confused about which car to go for? Here's our pick of the best and worst small cars on the scheme, all of which can be had with no Advance Payment.

Words By

Tom Webster

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If you are after a small car on the Motability scheme, and want to keep down costs, there are plenty of great cars to choose from where you don't have to stump up an additional Advance Payment.

However, there are still some cars that are best steered clear of, and we have highlighted some you should avoid.

Dacia Sandero
1.2 75 Laureate -
Official fuel economy - 48.7mpg, CO2 rating - 135g/km

Normally we'd suggest that the pick of the Sandero range is the cheaper Ambiance model, but the Laureate is the only Sandero available on Motability. However, because there is no Advance Payment to make, and the Sandero is available for less than the weekly mobility payment, the Laureate makes great sense as a Motability car.

Honda Jazz
1.4i-VTEC ES Plus -
Official fuel economy - 50.4mpg, CO2 rating - 129g/km

There are several Honda Jazz models available on the Motability scheme, but, assuming you are able to pick a manual gearbox, then the ES Plus is the one to go for. It gets 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, privacy glass, a driver's front armrest and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob. As with all Jazz versions, it also gets the clever folding seats and the flexible boot that makes it a really practical small car.

Hyundai i10
1.2 Premium 5dr -
Official fuel economy - 57.6mpg, CO2 rating - 114g/km
1.2 SE 5dr auto - TBC
Official fuel economy - 45.6mpg, CO2 rating - 142g/km

The Hyundai i10 is the deserving holder of our City Car of the Year title for 2014, and Motability has two versions available with no Advance Payment necessary. The 1.2 Premium is the top of the range model, and comes with loads of kit, including alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and LED daytime running lights.

If you want or need an automatic model, then you have to step down to SE trim, but it still comes with loads of equipment, such as air-con, remote central locking, electric rear windows, driver’s seat-height adjustment and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors.

Renault Clio
1.5dCi 90 Dynamique MediaNav S/S -
Official fuel economy - 83.1mpg, CO2 rating - 90g/km

There are two Clios available on the Motability scheme, but we'd go for the 1.5-litre diesel, which is our pick of the car's range. This is thanks in part to the fantastic 88.3mpg claimed fuel economy. In reality, you're likely to get an average somewhere in the 50s, but that still makes it the most economial here.

Dynamique trim brings a touch-screen that is big and simple to use, and this model also gets satellite-navigation.

Volkswagen Up
1.0 60 Move up 5dr -
Official fuel economy - 68.9mpg, CO2 rating - 96g/km

If you want to avoid an Advance Payment then you are limited to the lower-powered 1.0-litre engine in the VW Up, which is really only suited to town driving. We'd go for the Bluemotion Technology version in Move Up trim, which keeps CO2 bills low and adds some desirable equipment.

The ones to avoid

Mitsubishi Mirage -
The Mitsubishi Mirage might look enticing on paper, with every model emitting less than 100g/km of CO2, but there are many better cars available that do the same.
It noisy, feels cheap inside, and it's hard to get comfortable in because there isn't enough seat adjustment. It's also poor to drive compared with its rivals.

Nissan Micra -
The Nissan Micra's light steering makes it easy to drive, but there is not a whole lot more going in the small car's favour. Its main benefit is its affordability if you are paying cash up front, but its poor ride, handling and cabin quality mean it has little else that is good. The alternatives are much better.

What is Motability? Read our full guide to the scheme.