Best Small Cars (2021)

Small cars are a reliable and a lot less expensive choice than larger cars, such as SUVs. Because of lower insurance costs and increased efficiency, smaller cars are an excellent choice for young drivers and those looking to save on daily motoring. 


What’s more, electric and hybrid cars are typically on a smaller side, so not only you can save your wallet, but the environment too. So with that said, let’s take a look at the top small cars - the ones that combine fuel efficiency and reliability in one.  


Before buying a small car, there are a host of things to consider, which include insurance costs & road tax, monthly finance payments, fuel efficiency, transmissions (automatic or manual?), just to mention a few.


If you’re unsure about which small car is right for you, check out our car buying guide.

Peugeot 208

CO2 emissions start from 114g/km, which makes the 208 one of the more fuel-efficient small cars, with a combined MPG of 63-88.

It comes with a three-year warranty when buying new. The e-208 model is also available, offering even more frugal motoring with 0g/km when using electric-only power. Peugeot 208 models that emit less than 100g/km won’t pay any road tax, while band B (104 CO2 emissions) will pay about £20 a year (2012-2019). 


Ford Fiesta

It’s been named one of the best small hatchbacks. Depending on the type of engine you decide to pick, the fuel economy could differ slightly. For example, a diesel engine offers 54.3 - 65.7 mpg, while petrol is considerably less with 40.4 - 57.6 mpg. The standard manufacturer warranty is 3 years, so there’s plenty of time to get it fixed if any issue pop-up. Even though the road tax isn’t the cheapest for the 2017-on Fiesta hatchbacks, at £155, however, the choice of different trims and engines makes up for it. 


Toyota Yaris

Yaris is a small self-charging hybrid hatchback that costs £145 for a road tax for the 2020-onwards models. The CO2 emissions range between 92g/km to 98g/km. Toyota claims that the MPG is 85.6, which makes it one of the most fuel-efficient small cars. The five-year warranty is also excellent and is in-between Ford and Kia, offering a reasonable middle ground. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is the only one on offer currently. 


SEAT Ibiza

It’s one of the best-selling superminis in the UK – and for a good reason too. The price is one of the lowest, particularly in the used car market, where you can grab a deal for as low as £5,495. The road tax for the 2017-onwards models will cost £155 a year. You’ll find the CO2 emissions range between 117g/km to 135g/km. The engine line-up is excellent too, with a choice of various 1.0-litre engines, in addition to a 1.5-litre TSI four-cylinder engine. The average MPG is 49.9. 


Vauxhall Corsa

Since 2006, Vauxhall Corsa has released a wide variety of models, so understandably, the road tax has a wide range from £0 for S models, to a whopping £315 for Sri models. The MPG is 48-69. It has achieved a four-star rating for safety for the 2019 edition, and in 2021, it’s gained a host of equipment that makes driving this car a breeze – from the anti-lock braking system, forward collision alert to electronic stability control.  


Renault Clio

The Clio is a fantastic city hatchback, as it combines style, practicality and efficiency in one. Most of the road tax costs around £145-£155 for the 2019 onwards models. You’ll find a five-year warranty on new Renault cars, so reliability won’t be an issue with the Clio. The CO2 emissions are 99g/km, which means that it will be fuel-efficient. The new Renault Clio is a particularly strong competitor to the Fiesta. With its latest technology, and a large selection of engines, such as 1.0-litre & 1.6-litre variants, both diesel and petrol and a hybrid powertrain. 


Hyundai i10

The i10 is a practical city car and has a good variety of seven colours – from the classic black and white to jazzier aqua blue and crimson red, along with many others. Not only it’s chic, but also comes with a good variety of useful features that include air conditioning, advanced connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth with voice recognition. The 252-litres of boot space is enough to fit your weekly shopping or luggage when going on the holidays. What’s more, Hyundai offers a five-year warranty, so you can rest assured of its reliability.  


Dacia Sandero

Sandero is the cheapest new car that you can purchase in 2021, and if buying used it costs even less at only £4,495. The road tax is £155 for 2021 Sandero models. It has all the basics covered and is perfect for those unfussed about the latest technology and luxuries. It emits between 123g/km-127g/km of CO2, with an MPG of 62.7 when picking a diesel model. The boot space is more than enough with 320-litres, so those that are looking for a spacious car that will fit both passengers and luggage with ease on a tight budget – then a Sandero is it. 


Fiat 500

The 500 is a retro-chic car that has the looks, and the affordability to boot. There is a choice of electric, hybrid and petrol choices, but there is no diesel option. The hybrid’s range is up to 199 miles with a larger battery size, which is excellent if you have a bit of range anxiety. 

You will also find a good variety of trims, which include exciting limited-edition models, such as Hey Google and byGucci. The road tax is also low, with £0 with trims like TwinAir 0.9-litre, Street 0.9-litre, and 1.3-litre, however, some of them are costlier at £155 a year. 

You also won’t be disappointed by the amount of tech, which includes rain-sensing wipers with the Premium trim, while the Lounge trim has cruise control, heated rear windows and a trip computer on board. 


Volkswagen Up!

VW Up! is one of the best small cars around, with a choice of an electric variant in addition to two petrol engines. As is typical with city cars, there’s no diesel engine, as this sort of car is most suited for driving around the city. 

It comes with a selection of more than ten models, so there’s always something to fit any taste. Because of this, the road tax varies between £0-£155 (2012-onwards). The CO2 emissions are 120g/km with the GTI trim, and the combined MPG is 51.4. The technology is pretty advanced too, with Car-net e-remote app, where you can remotely control the temperature, and check the car’s location, just to name a few functionalities. 


More Information About Small Cars

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