What Car? Personal Shopper: small car for £16,000

Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give you our top new and used car choices, and even tell you how much we can save you...

New Volkswagen Polo vs Seat Ibiza

Buying new

  • Our recommended choice: Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 FR 5dr
  • List price: £17,235
  • What Car? Target Price: £15,224
Seat Ibiza

Say hello to the best new small car money can buy: the Seat Ibiza. This sporty hatchback is our reigning champion in this market, thanks to it being great to drive and remarkably spacious inside while offering a strong range of petrol engines.

The 1.0-litre turbocharged unit we've chosen here is our recommendation. It pulls eagerly from low revs and builds up speed surprisingly briskly. It shouldn't cost a lot to run, either; this engine averaged an impressive 54mpg in our True MPG test.

Go for FR trim and your equipment needs will be well catered for. You get a snappy 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control, automatic wipers and a sporty bodykit. Don't worry about carrying passengers or luggage, either, because the Ibiza is one of the most spacious cars in this market. The fact that it's quite broad means getting three adults onto the back seats for short journeys shouldn't be too difficult, and its boot is larger than almost every rival's.

With an on-the-road price of £17,235, this Ibiza would normally be slightly out of your budget. However, as always, What Car? New Car Buying can help. Our latest Ibiza deals take that price down to a far more palatable £15,224. Alternatively, if you want to buy on a PCP finance deal, look to pay about £215 per month (based on a 15% deposit and an annual mileage limit of 10,000).

Find a great Seat Ibiza deal

Read our full Seat Ibiza review

  • Also consider: Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost 125 ST-Line 5dr
  • List price: £18,335
  • What Car? Target Price: £16,569
Ford Fiesta

Expand your budget just a little and you can drive our recommended version of the UK's most popular car. Expect peppy performance, excellent handling and a reasonably spacious interior.

Read our full Fiesta review or see our great deals

  • Also consider: Mini hatchback 1.5 Cooper Classic 5dr
  • List price: £18,330
  • What Car? Target Price: £17,143
Mini hatchback

The recently updated Mini may be the most expensive car here, but for your money, you get a comfortable interior, a great infotainment system, a punchy 1.5-litre petrol engine and those iconic looks.

Read our full Mini 5dr review or see our great deals

Next: our recommended used car choice >