The 10 best used city cars for less than £10,000

Used city cars provide hassle-free transport that's cheap, simple and, in the case of these modern offerings, cheerful. Here, we count down the 10 best on the used market...

10 Jan 2020 17:44

Need to gad about town with a minimum of fuss and cost?

Small car compilation image

A used city car sounds 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 available on the second-hand market are the best yet, with many offering some of the best qualities of cars from the class above at a much lower price. Many now have automatic emergency braking systems to prevent low-speed accidents, too, and some have sophisticated infotainment systems to keep you connected while on the move.

To help you pick one that's right for you, we’ve brought together 10 of our favourites and ranked them in order of preference, taking into account price, space, comfort, driver enjoyment, fuel economy and running costs. Read on to find out which one we think is the best.

Slideshow story - please click right-hand arrow above to continue

10: Fiat Panda

Fiat Panda 1.2 Pop

The Panda is something of an icon. Fiat’s more practical alternative to the 500 has become well loved for its cheeky character, funky styling and low running costs. And as a used buy, it’s even more appealing, because it’s so cheap.

10: Fiat Panda - interior

Fiat Panda - interior

True, rear leg room isn’t as good as in some rivals and the cheaper models feel a bit basic, and its crash-test safety results aren't very impressive. But if you want a fairly new city car for a low price, the Panda is certainly worth a look.

We found: 2018 Fiat Panda 1.2 Easy, 18,000 miles, £6795

9: Suzuki Celerio

2018 Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ4 auto

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 for your cash, plus it's practical, with a rear-seat area and boot that are impressively roomy for a car of this size.

9: Suzuki Celerio - interior

2018 Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ4 auto - interior

The Celerio also came out on top of all the city and small cars in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey – an encouraging sign for its long-term dependability.

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. The Celerio's off sale now as a new car so it's used only - grab one of the last ex-demo cars and you'll have a nearly new car for a little less.

We found: 2019 Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Dualjet SZ3, 7000 miles, £8495

8: Peugeot 108

Peugeot 108

If all you’re after is a cheap little car to get you around, you could do a lot worse than the Peugeot 108 or its sibling, the Citroën C1.

These tiddlers are rather old compared with the other cars here, and both have cramped back seats and a tiny boot. However, you get what you pay for, because, like for like, these are among the cheapest small cars you can get.

8: Peugeot 108 - interior

Peugeot 108 1.0 72 Active 2-Tronic - interior

The 108 has a funky dashboard and a decent amount of equipment. Fuel economy is excellent, with combined averages in the high 60mpgs for both the 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre petrol engines. You can even get an open-top version with an electrically retractable fabric roof.

We found: 2019 Peugeot 108 1.2 Puretech Allure 5dr, 3000 miles, £7500

7: Citroën C1

Citroën C1

The Citroën C1 is essentially the same car as the Peugeot 108, just with a different badge and tweaked styling. Prices, equipment and engines are much the same, so which one you choose should simply rest on what’s available nearby.

7: Citroën C1 - interior

Citroën C1 - interior

For those who worship the sun, you can get an open-top C1 (called the Airscape) with a retractable fabric roof.

All but the most basic version of the C1 get a 7.0in infotainment touchscreen you can link your smartphone to, allowing you to use sat-nav apps, listen to your music and read text messages.

We found: 2018 Citroën C1 1.2 Puretech Flair 5dr, 9010 miles, £6995

6: Renault Twingo

Renault Twingo

Spacious, practical and reasonably quiet, the Renault Twingo is an impressive little city car, spoiled only by its high cost when new. However, prices are much more reasonable on the used market, making it a very appealing prospect second-hand.

6: Renault Twingo - interior

Renault Twingo - interior

You still get the 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.

We found: 2019 Renault Twingo 0.9 TCe Dynamique S, 3000 miles, £8500

5: Skoda Citigo

Skoda Citigo

The Skoda Citigo and the Seat Mii are the cheaper siblings of the Volkswagen Up. While it's true that the Citigo and Mii lack the Up’s smart interior plastics, they’re still great to spend time in and stupendous value as second-hand buys.

5: Skoda Citigo - interior

Skoda Citigo - interior

What’s more, they share the Up’s spacious interior and quiet driving experience. All three cars are fun and comfortable, whether you’re sneaking through city streets or bounding along a motorway. The Citigo's off sale now, and only available new as an electric car.

We found: 2018 Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI SE L, 4550 miles, £7495

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.

4: Seat Mii - interior

Seat Mii - interior

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.

Insurance figures should be low either way, thanks to the automatic emergency braking that helps to reduce low-speed incidents by applying the brakes. It was a cheap option when new, so look out for it. The Mii, in line with its Citigo sibling, is now off sale and only available as an electric car. 

We found: 2019 Seat Mii 1.0 Design, 3100 miles, £7695

3: Volkswagen Up

Volkswagen Up 1.0 75 High Up 5dr front three quarters

As you’ll have read in the previous section, 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.

3: Volkswagen Up - interior

Volkswagen Up - interior

While those classier plastics and the more upmarket badge make the Up a smidge pricier, it's still superb value and worth the extra cost.

This should also be offset slightly when you come to sell an Up, because the Volkswagen brand is a bit more desirable and should therefore mean the car will be worth more than the equivalent Mii or Citigo.

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Up 1.0 TSI High Up, 4200 miles, £7995

2: Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10 1.2 SE auto

The Hyundai i10 is holding its value well, so it isn’t the cheapest used city car to buy - think of around £6k to £7k for a good 2018 model.

But neither is it the most expensive, and its deeply impressive blend of talents makes it worth the cost. It’s quiet, comfortable and good to drive, but it’s also spacious and, in all but the most basic trim, S, comes with plenty of equipment.

2: Hyundai i10 - interior

Hyundai i10 1.2 SE auto - interior

What’s more, you get the tail end of a long warranty. While you should always check that you're happy with the level of cover provided in the later years of such warranties, the added peace of mind is undoubtedly a bonus.

We found: 2018 Hyundai i10 1.0 Premium, 9000 miles, £5999

1: Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto front

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.

Go for mid-range 2 trim and you’ll get everything you’ll need, but we’d suggest splashing out on 3, since it gets you a 7.0in infotainment touchscreen, a rear-view camera, climate control, cruise control and rear parking sensors. We’d also opt for the more powerful 1.25-litre engine over the 1.0-litre for better performance out of town. The 1.0-litre turbo is better still, but that comes only with sporty-looking GT-Line trim, which isn’t as well equipped as 3.

1: Kia Picanto - interior

Kia Picanto 1.25 2 auto - interior

If the equipment level wasn’t enough reason for the Picanto to win, consider the fact that if you buy one through Kia’s approved used scheme, the manufacturer will top up the warranty back to 7 years (only for cars that are no older than two years), while you’ll be saving thousands off the price of a new one.

Its low-speed ride may be a bit firm, but the Picanto is good to drive, and its light steering makes it a doddle to park. Ideal for a small city car, really.

We found: 2018 Kia Picanto 1.25 3, 12,000 miles, £8695

We hope you enjoyed this story. To easily access more like it, why not sign up to receive our email newsletter? What Car? is the UK’s biggest car-buying brand and has been helping Britain’s car buyers make purchasing decisions for over 40 years, and the newsletter will keep you up to date with all our latest stories. And signing up takes less than 30 seconds. Click here to sign up