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Used Car of the Year Awards contenders: small cars
You’ll have to wait until 30 September for the winners of the 2021 What Car? Used Car of the Year Awards to be announced, but you can get a preview of the top contenders here...
Less than £5000
If we were solely looking at practicality, the Honda Jazz would walk away with this category. It really does have enough space inside to embarrass physically larger cars from the class above.
The Fiesta has been a staple of the small car market because it offers something for everyone. This also means used car buyers have loads of examples to choose from. Go for a mid-range Zetec to get goodies such as air-con and a heated windscreen, which is ideal for frosty mornings.
In a lot of ways, the Seat Ibiza as a cheaper version of the Volkswagen Polo, because it shares its engines and underpinnings with its posher sibling. More often than not, you'll get a better-equipped Ibiza with a lower mileage than the equivalently priced Polo.
Less than £8000
You can easily find the latest-generation Swift for our £8000 budget, and you can even get one with the punchiest engine option in the range: a turbocharged 111bhp 1.0-litre petrol.
A used Fabia is a very sensible choice, because it has a strong range of engines (particularly the turbo petrols) and SE examples, in particular, are very well equipped.
The current Rio ticks off many of the boxes used buyers are looking for in a small car, and it comes with fine roster of toys, plus it has a class-leading warranty to back up the whole package.
Less than £12,000
Despite being around for a few years, the current Mini still looks fresh. It had lots of up-to-the-minute tech from new, so it'll keep the smartphone-obsessed happy with its BMW-derived infotainment system. The 138bhp 1.5-litre petrol is the one to go for because of its blend of performance, refinement and fuel economy.
Probably one of the most desirable posh small cars around, the A1 has a top-notch interior and some very refined engine options. Space inside is limited for rear seat passengers, though.
This latest Polo has already scooped the small car award in the 2020 What Car? Car of the Year Awards earlier this year; can it repeat the same trick here as a used option?