Small cars are proving hugely popular for people across the whole of Britain, not just those in cities where space is a premium. By offering quirky looks, good fuel efficiency, lower insurance and a fun (often nippy) ride, small cars have set their controls for the heart of countless drivers. Thankfully, those seeking a quality, used model have plenty of choice at their disposal, with some of the best on offer detailed below.
For the ultimate small car, buyers need look no further than the Audi A1. Whilst it commands a premium where price is concerned, buyers can be reassured they are certainly getting a lot for their money. A powerful engine, solid ride and quality finishes throughout make it stand head and shoulders above most others in the class. In addition, it's on the larger side of the small car market, making for above average boot and passenger space. Plus, Audis are known for their steadfast depreciation levels, so even though there's a large initial cost outlay, it'll be far from a wasted investment.
The Citroen C1 is proving to be an ever-popular choice for city dwellers looking at the smallest car to fit their needs. For these, the C1 is among the best option available. Whilst the small dimensions means that boot space is limited (and rear passenger legroom restricted), it still provides an ideal solution to busy city driving. Not only does the one-litre engine provide enough grunt to nip around busy roads with ease, it's among the cheapest in its class for both buying and running - something which has helped it find favour among young buyers or those on a budget.
Those who are swayed by the C1 but feel anxious about the lack of space may be swayed by its slightly bigger brother, the C3, which is both longer and taller. Of course, it's still a small car so there won't be enough room in the back to swing the proverbial cat, but there's a fair bit more room to play with. Elsewhere, buyers will get a car that runs economically and has a rather different look to many others currently on the road, thanks to its drastically domed roof. Whilst this aesthetic may not be to everyone's taste, it certainly sets the car apart from its competitors.
Among the most instantly recognisable cars on Britain's roads, the modern Fiat 500 has become something of an icon in its seven years of existence. In creating a new car based heavily on the world-famous Nuova, Fiat turned around its fortunes and created something that is now being spoken of in the same breath as the Mini Cooper and VW Beetle. Buyers won't just get a quirky, fun and head-turning car, though, but also one with great fuel efficiency, loads of extras and interior styling unlike any other currently in production. On top of all this, the 500's enduring popularity means it should hold its value much better than most.
Ford has long been known as a manufacturer of great small cars thanks to its seemingly never ending range of Fiestas. This reputation was one only bolstered when it rolled out a brand new small car in 1996 - the Ka. Now, the Ka has become the small car du jour for anyone seeking a bargain basement runaround that belies its low price. A first car for many thanks to its value for money, buyers are certainly not short changed thanks to its solid build, good ride quality and long-lasting engine. With all these benefits on offer, the only thing which gave buyers cause for concern when signing on the dotted line was just how to pronounce their new purchase.
As noted above, the Fiesta almost single-handedly pushed Ford into the pantheon of great small car manufacturers. A sprightly car which first emerged way back in 1976, the Fiesta has gone from strength to strength, with around 16 million units being sold in its near 40-year history. Whether buyers get their hands on a car that's gone through generations or one which rolled off the production line much more recently, they can be assured of a great quality car that's inexpensive to buy, long lasting and super cheap to repair if any problems were to arise.
The recent Peugeot range has comprised largely of usable cars, which may not have the styling of a Fiat 500 or hold their value like an Audi, but offer practical vehicles that stand up better than most to real-world rigours. A solid drive that's roomier than its dimensions may first make it appear, the 207 is a car that's as practical as it is popular. Furthermore, with used versions coming in at a very reasonable price indeed, buyers can be assured they won't have to spend a small fortune to reap all the day-to-day benefits.
The Corsa is another car - just like Ford's Fiesta - which has a long and rich history. From first rolling off the production lines back in 1982, it has gone on to become a mainstay in the small car category - one that's especially popular among younger drivers. Much of the Corsa's appeal lies in its styling, which is preferred by many to those of its nearest competitors. A rounded body that's got much more sporty in recent iterations, the Corsa has also been proven to be great for customisation. Looks aren't all, though, as buyers can also enjoy a reasonably sized cabin and a solid engine that should stand up to many thousands of miles per annum.
For anyone seeking a small VW, it had long seemed as though the powerful, engine-heavy Golf was the only option. Whilst great for young speedsters and those who want their 'hot hatch' to be more of the former than the latter, the Golf didn't appeal to anyone wanting a small car that was much more driver-friendly. That was, until the Polo came along. Those who've chosen their allegiances in the Golf v Polo debate won't ever see the other side's argument, as the two cars are remarkably different, but each has their own audience. Whilst the Polo offers less grunt, it's arguably classier looking, gives a smooth ride and drives almost effortlessly.
As noted above, these are just some of the vast array of small used cars available to buyers in 2014. Whether their aim is for a tiny city runaround or something with great economy and efficiency, there really is an abundance of choice.