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Used Car of the Year Awards 2021: Small cars
With demand for used cars on the rise, you’ll want to know which are the best buys. That’s where our annual Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite small cars...
WINNER: Used Small Car of the Year (plus best buy less than £8000)
Skoda Fabia (2015-present)
It’s three in a row for the Skoda Fabia; it won in this category last year and the year before, too. So let’s not beat about the bush: used small cars simply don’t come any more complete, or more reasonably priced, than the Fabia.
Not only is it spacious, good to drive and easy to manoeuvre around town, but the Fabia also has that typical Skoda sense of solidity and a strong reliability record.
A budget of £8000 will get you behind the wheel of a three-year-old Fabia with the excellent 94bhp 1.0 TSI petrol engine, which has enough power for town and motorway driving alike, and in wellequipped SE trim, with its air-con and 6.5in touchscreen infotainment system.
It’s worth spending the extra money over the Ford Fiesta, because you’ll not only get a newer car but also one with a bigger boot and a more up-to-date infotainment system. Meanwhile, the Fabia trumps the Volkswagen Polo for value. For not far off half its new price, you’ll be buying a car that blends many of the individual skills of its rivals in a single well-rounded package.
Ford Fiesta (2008-2017)
Best buy less than £5000
This generation of Fiesta was a high point in the evolution of Ford’s small hatchback; it’s better to drive than all of its rivals, plus it’s roomier than a contemporary Suzuki Swift and more refined than a Dacia Sandero. Marry the 1.0 Ecoboost 100 engine with Zetec trim for a comfy, fun and well-equipped car.
Volkswagen Polo (2017-present)
Best buy less than £12,000
The Polo is one of the most sophisticated small cars you can buy. It pampers with a smooth ride, and it can show its premium Mini rival a thing or two about big-car feel. A year-old example is a bargain, too; you’ll find a well-equipped SE with the excellent 1.0 TSI 95 engine for a quarter less than its new price.