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Best used city cars

City cars are small, agile and cheerful and, bought nearly new, tremendous value. Here we name our top 10 favourites.....


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by
Mark Pearson

Used small cars

Need to get about town with a minimum of fuss and cost? A used city car is just the ticket. And if you’re worried you’ll have to compromise on space, style or comfort with a car of this size, let us put your mind at ease: modern city cars now offer most of the best qualities of cars from the class above but at a much lower price. 

Here, we’ve brought together 10 of our favourites at various price levels. Read on to find out which ones we think are the best.

10

Peugeot 108

Used Peugeot 108 14-present

If all you’re after is a neat and cheap little car to get you around, you could do a lot worse than the Peugeot 108. True, it's rather cramped and has a tiny boot. However, you get what you pay for, because, like for like, these are among the cheapest small cars you can get, with very cheap insurance. Fuel economy is excellent, too, with combined averages of around 50mpg. 

We found 2019 Peugeot 108 1.0 72 Collection 5dr, 3000 miles, £6995

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Pros

  • Decent performance
  • Real-world fuel economy
  • Infotainment

Cons

  • Noisy engine
  • Jerky automatic gearbox
  • Very small boot
9

Fiat 500

Used Fiat 500 2008-present

The modern Fiat 500 reinvented one of the most iconic cars of the late 1950s and 1960s, in much the same way that BMW did with the Mini. Cute styling, a vibrant personality and lots of kerb appeal have made it a surefire hit on both the new and the used car market. The Fiat 500 is still a very stylish and popular city car, but it falls short in terms of space and the driving experience.

We found: 2019 Fiat 500 1.2  Lounge, 8000 miles, £8000

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Pros

  • Iconic styling
  • Nimble in traffic

Cons

  • Not the best dynamics
  • Limited space inside
  • Jittery ride
8

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo 2014-present front corner

 The first-generation Toyota Aygo was a sharply styled and well-screwed-together city car that soon gained a reputation for offering thrifty and economical motoring. All its good qualities were carried over into this more mature and even more rakishly styled second-generation car that was much better armed to compete in the burgeoning class of likeable tiny tots. Good value, too.

We found: 2019 Toyota Aygo 1.0 X-Play 5dr, 6000 miles, £6995 

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Pros

  • Cheap to run
  • Good build quality
  • Some great interior trims

Cons

  • Cramped in the back
  • Small boot
  • Refinement is disappointing
7

Renault Twingo

Used Renault Twingo 2014-present

Spacious, practical and reasonably quiet, the Renault Twingo is an impressive little city car. You get cute, quirky styling and a great range of paint colours to choose from, plus many Twingos will have been specified with unusual decals and colourful interior trims. Like a lot of the cars in our top 10, it's off sale new, so snap it up used. 

We found 2019 Renault Twingo 0.9 TCe Dynamique S, 9000 miles, £6495

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Pros

  • Incredibly tight turning circle
  • Plenty of kit
  • Spacious interior

Cons

  • Underpowered 1.0-litre engine
  • Not entertaining to drive
  • Less practical than class leaders
6

Suzuki Celerio

Used Suzuki Celerio 16-present

Stylish the Suzuki Celerio most certainly ain’t, but if you can live with its frumpy looks and cheap-feeling interior, it has a lot going for it. For starters, you get a heap of kit, plus it's practical, with a rear-seat area and boot that are impressively roomy for a car of this size. It’s cheap to run, too, and while it will never set fields of hay alight, it’s still a decent enough little thing to drive.

We found 2019 Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Dualjet SZ2, 7000 miles, £5695

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Pros

  • Cheap to run
  • Spacious by class standards
  • Reliability record

Cons

  • Cheap-feeling interior
  • Limited infotainment options
5

Skoda Citigo

Used Skoda Citigo 12-present

The Skoda Citigo and the near-identical Seat Mii are the cheaper siblings of the Volkswagen Up. While it's true that the Citigo lacks the Up’s smart interior plastics, it's still great to spend time in and stupendous value as a second-hand buy. What’s more, it shares the Up’s spacious interior and quiet driving experience. 

We found 2019 Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI SE L, 4550 miles, £7995

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Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Smooth ride
  • Cheaper than a Volkswagen Up

Cons

  • Only four seats
  • Clumsy automatic gearbox
  • Volkswagen Up holds its value better
4

Seat Mii

Seat Mii

The Seat Mii is perhaps a smidge more fashion-conscious than the Skoda Citigo, but in reality, there’s no notable difference between them, so you should simply aim to find the best example of either car nearby. Either way, we suspect you won’t be disappointed. Ecomotive versions of the Mii are a bit more economical than regular models because they’re fitted with low-rolling-resistance tyres and a start-stop system.

We found 2019 Seat Mii 1.0 75 FR Line, 5000 miles, £7795

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Pros

  • Comfortable ride and fun to drive
  • Economical three-cylinder engine
  • Safety equipment

Cons

  • A bit slow
  • Only seats four people
  • Automatic gearbox is slow and jerky
3

Volkswagen Up

Used Volkswagen Up 2012 - present

As you’ll have read, the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo have a lot in common with the Volkswagen Up. But the Up is a little classier, thanks to its smarter interior, so it just pips its siblings to the post. While those classier plastics and the more upmarket badge make the Up a smidge pricier, this should be offset when you come to sell an Up, because the Volkswagen brand is a bit more desirable and should mean the car will be worth more than the equivalent Mii or Citigo.

We found 2019 Volkswagen Up 1.0 TSI Move Up, 8000 miles, £7995

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Pros

  • Comfortable ride and fun to drive
  • Economical three-cylinder engine
  • Upmarket interior

Cons

  • Some rivals are better value
  • Smaller engines are sluggish
  • Optional automatic gearbox is slow and jerky
2

Kia Picanto

Used Kia Picanto Hatchback (17-present)

City cars generally get relegated to second car status because of their skimpy equipment levels and meagre engines, but the Kia Picanto bucks this trend by offering lots of big car features and some sprightly motors. It's a great blend of space, performance, comfort and equipment. The Picanto is good fun to drive, too, and its light steering makes it a doddle to park. Ideal for a small city car, really.

We found 2019 Kia Picanto 1.25 2, 12,000 miles, £9495

 

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Pros

  • Useful boot
  • Good fun to drive
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Slightly firm ride
  • Noisy engines
  • Dated infotainment on cheaper versions
1

Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10 front tracking - 69 plate

If you're looking for a tiny town car that offers more civilised motoring on a sensible budget, the Hyundai i10 is an ideal candidate because it's relatively spacious, comes with a smart-looking interior, a great infotainment system and it rides and drives more impressively than plenty of bigger, pricier cars. Used examples of this latest 2020-onwards version are now plentiful and at great prices.

We found 2020 Hyundai i10 1.0 MPi SE Connect, 9000 miles, £10,000

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Pros

  • Comfortable and quiet to drive
  • Five seats and decent rear space
  • Loads of safety kit on even entry-level model

Cons

  • Not the cheapest small car out there
  • Non-turbocharged engines are a bit lacklustre
  • Insurance can be pricey
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