Superminis - part two
* Our guide to what to buy * Get the most for your money * Top fives in key categories...
Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i+ 3dr
Target price 7050
We've always considered the Aygo one of the best budget buys around, but now that you can have one for peanuts it makes more sense than ever.
The appeal is simple the reassurance of Toyota reliability, coupled with incredibly low ownership costs and a funky design.
For such a low price you can't expect the earth, and although the interior plastics are workmanlike and rear-seat and boot space are limited, the cabin is pleasant enough.
Everything is solidly built, too, and although it isn't especially quick or refined, the Aygo is reasonably enjoyable to drive. The three-cylinder engine is willing, but its best quality is average fuel economy of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of just 106g/km.
Standard equipment is limited, but you get electric front windows, an MP3 input socket and four airbags, while air conditioning is a 490 option.
Suzuki Alto 1.0 SZ3 5dr
Target price: 7245
CO2 103 g/km
Cut-price motoring without cutting corners doesn't get much cheaper than this.
As you'd expect Suzuki's new Alto is small and not exactly groaning under fancy equipment, but it covers the basics brilliantly.
Its tiny dimensions and nimble nature perfectly suit it to life around town, and the peppy three-cylinder isn't out of its depth beyond the city limits. Yes, the ride is a little fidgety, but the Alto delivers more fun and refinement than you'd expect.
The interior is sturdy rather than stylish, but there's space for four at a push and everything is easy to use.
Value is key to the Alto's appeal, of course. There's that eye-opening price tag, for a start, along with annual road tax of just 35, group 1 insurance and an average of 64.2mpg.
Opt for the mid-spec SZ3 model and standard kit will include air-conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows and four airbags.
Ford Fiesta 1.25i Zetec 5dr
Target price 11,082
CO2 133 g/km
Even after generous dealer discounts and scrappage grants, the Ford Fiesta isn't the cheapest supermini. But we still think it's the best. In fact, it's so good we made it our overall 2009 Car of the Year winner.
Why? Well, the Fiesta is all the car many people will ever need. For starters, it gives you the kind of feel-good factor that many cars costing twice as much can't provide. Everything feels right: the gearshift, clutch and accelerator pedal are all perfectly weighted, the seats are supportive and the driving position is just right.
Add pin-sharp steering, sensational handling and class-leading refinement and this car makes every journey a treat to savour not something you can say about many cars, let alone superminis that don't cost the earth to buy or run.
Inside and out, the Fiesta looks a million dollars, too, and theres enough space and kit to make you question the need to spend any more.