Best small cars for Motability users
For drivers who don't need loads of space, here are our favourite small cars available through the Motability Scheme...
Small cars are still among the most popular on the market, because they offer a good amount of space for everyday life in a compact and cheap-to-run package.
For Motability users looking for a compact car that is affordable and easy to manoeuvre and drive, there are plenty of options available through the Motability Scheme, including all of our What Car? Small Car of the Year finalists. Read on to see our recommendations, almost all of which come with the added benefit of an automatic gearbox.
You can also read our full guide of the Motability Scheme, and find out more about the cars available through the Motability site.
With a premium German badge, the Audi A1 offers an enjoyable driving experience, with a smooth and comfortable ride on potholed city street and motorway roads alike. There’s room for two adults to sit comfortably in the back, plus a spacious boot with the option of a height-adjustable boot floor. It's a bit more expensive to buy than rivals, but you get a smart interior and lots of technology, and you can add useful features such as rear parking sensors and cruise control.
The Ford Fiesta is one of the best-selling cars in the UK, and it's easy to see why. It's great fun to drive, thanks to its sharp handling, while the petrol engines are punchy, quiet and economical. Its boot isn’t as large as some rivals, but its interior is smart and comes with lots of equipment. A broad range of trims and options means you can tailor your Fiesta to your needs, such as opting for cruise control or heated seats.
In terms of size, the Jazz does a good job of fitting between small cars and larger family models, thanks to its class-leading space and functionality. Its unique and incredibly flexible rear seats, which fold up out of the way when you want extra space, only add to its practicality. The Jazz is available with hybrid technology to help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions, while a comfortable interior, lots of equipment and strong predicted resale values make it a worthwhile investment.
The i20 beats most rivals when it comes to interior space, making it practical and comfortable regardless of where you’re sitting. The fact that it's very well priced also helps, while the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine we recommend is more than powerful enough for driving in and out of the city. The i20 doesn’t have the same interior quality as some of its more expensive rivals, but we think that's an acceptable trade-off for the comfort and practicality it offers for the price.
Like the i20, the Rio has always offered a big helping of practicality for a low price. Inside, a clear touchscreen and large shortcut buttons make the infotainment system easy to operate on the move, while spacious front and rear seats allow all occupants to sit in comfort. The boxy shape of the Rio means there’s plenty of usable space in the boot, too, while its frugal engines are peppy both in and out of town.
The Peugeot 208 was a price point winner in the small car category at this year's What Car Awards, thanks to the great combination of practicality and its smart interior. Highlights include its 3D-effect digital instrument cluster that helps separate information, such as your speed, to make it easier to read on the move. It’s worth testing the infotainment before committing, though, because some users might find it tricky to navigate with its combination of buttons and a touchscreen. Still, the 208 offers a comfortable ride and plenty of performance, and it’s even available as a fully electric model, the Peugeot e-208, should you want an eco option.
Offering a solid mix of space, practicality, comfort and driving appeal, the Renault Clio has always been a great all-rounder. All models come with cruise control and automatic emergency braking, while you can upgrade to a higher trim level to get a large touchscreen infotainment system and rear parking sensors. It does look expensive next to rivals, such as the Volkswagen Polo, and it doesn’t quite have the same level of interior quality as its German counterparts, but the Clio’s boot is the same size as that of the Volkswagen Golf, which is in the class above.
The Seat Ibiza is smooth and easy to drive, and even the lower-powered 1.0-litre engine offers plenty of performance for daily journeys, plus frugal running costs. Higher trims include cruise control and a reversing camera, as well as a crisp, easy-to-operate touchscreen infotainment system. There’s plenty of space in the boot and rear seats (even taller adults will find more leg room than in the Ford Fiesta), and the Ibiza holds its value well. That said, it’s more affordable for servicing than its VW Group stablemates.
Another contender for Small Car of the Year this year, the Skoda Fabia ticks plenty of boxes for owners. It’s practical, incredibly spacious, good to drive and cheap to run, averaging more than 60mpg in official tests. The Fabia is based on the Seat Ibiza, but it’s cheaper to buy, and its higher roofline means two six-footers will have no problem sitting in the back, while its boot can fit in more luggage than the Ford Fiesta’s. Some of the interior plastics feel a little cheap, though. It’s worth noting that the Fabia isn’t available with an automatic gearbox; this might be a deal-breaker for some Motability users.
Last but not least, we have to mention our Small Car of the Year 2020, the Volkswagen Polo, which has an upmarket interior with an intuitive and sophisticated infotainment system that’s easy to use. The Polo is comfortable to drive and spacious enough for five adults, with a spacious boot for all of life’s everyday paraphernalia. It has nimble handling to make it easy to manoeuvre around narrow city streets, while our recommended 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is more than up for the job of longer motorway journeys too.