Best automatic city cars for less than £10,000
Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give our new and used car choices, and tell you how much we can save you.....
"I'm in need of a new city car, and having read lots of reviews, I'm still in need of some help. I need the driver's seat to be high so that I can get in and out easily, plus I'd like lightweight steering and an automatic gearbox. I'd like a petrol engine, too, and low road tax. Please can you suggest some options? I have around £10,000 to spend." - Liz
City car with a petrol engine; Automatic gearbox; High seating position
So, let's get into it:
Editor's note: Images are purely illustrative and may not reflect mentioned trim levels
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Our recommended choices: Kia Picanto 1.25 2 auto
List price: £12,570
Target Price: £11,955
City cars don't come any better than the Kia Picanto. Indeed, it has been our reigning champion in this market for the past two years.
What makes the Picanto such a great choice, then? Well, it's reasonably spacious by the standards of this class, it has tidy handling and it's backed up by a seven-year warranty should anything go wrong.
Kia Picanto 1.25 2 auto - interior
This version gets you our favourite engine, which represents a good compromise between power and price. It's especially useful if you'll be travelling on the motorway, since it pulls much stronger than the lesser 1.0-litre engine on offer. It even comes with an automatic gearbox, too.
We'd usually recommend going for 3 trim level, but even 2 gets you everything you're likely to really need, including 14in alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth and electric windows. There's also seat height adjustment for the driver, so you can have that raised driving position you've been looking for.
Hyundai i10 1.2 SE auto
List price: £12,350
Target Price: £11,289
If you decide that the Kia Picanto isn't for you, consider its cousin, the Hyundai i10, instead.
Hyundai i10 1.2 SE auto - interior
Before the Picanto came along, the i10 was our favourite city car, and it still impresses with its peppy 1.2-litre petrol engine and relatively spacious interior. SE models come with air conditioning, cruise control and Bluetooth.
Peugeot 108 1.0 72 Active 2-Tronic
List price: £12,465
Target Price: £11,887
This version of Peugeot's smallest model gets you a neat touchscreen infotainment system, air conditioning and 15in alloy wheels, plus a 1.0-litre petrol engine that's fine for city driving.
Peugeot 108 1.0 72 Active 2-Tronic - interior
The 108 has low running costs on its side, too, but loses out to rivals on rear seat and boot space.
What about the used options?
Our recommended choice: 2017 Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SZ-T auto
The Suzuki Ignis is one of the most refreshing designs to enter the city car fray in the last few years. However, it's classified as a small SUV, so it has the fairly high-set driving position you've asked for.
2017 Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SZ-T auto - interior
It's nippy, too, thanks to a lively engine, and economical. Inside, there's good space for four and a two-tone dashboard that gives a distinctly modern air.
2018 Volkswagen 1.0 High Up ASG
The best thing about the Volkswagen Up is that it doesn’t feel like a city car in the way it drives, its plush interior materials or its supremely supple ride.
It’s only when you get out of it and see how much space is left over in a standard parking space that you realise you’re in such a tiny car.
2018 Volkswagen 1.0 High Up ASG - interior
The driving position will suit you, plus there's light steering weight and low running costs.
2018 Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ4 auto
A little less funky than the Ignis it may be, but the Suzuki Celerio is still a very good city car, thanks to its dinky exterior dimensions, good visibility and tiny thirst for petrol.
Its automatic gearbox isn't the smoothest around and often requires a little lift of the accelerator to make swapping ratios less jerky.
2018 Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ4 auto - interior
But then it's one of the most reliable cars of is type; it managed fourth place in the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey out of a class of 23.
The Suzuki Ignis is a very compelling choice if you're looking for a high-set driving position and low running costs, but there's no getting past the excellent Kia Picanto.
It's small but spacious, fast but frugal and will let Liz sit actually where she wants to be. That you can get it with an automatic gearbox is the final cherry on top.
Our recommendation this time, then, is to buy new.