Best buys: Superminis
We give you the best, two worthy contenders and a wild card entry
The best one: Seat Ibiza
We’ve been waiting years for Seat to get the Ibiza just right, and it has finally happened. Previous models had been mostly good-looking, usually roomy, often sharply priced but always a bit too cheap-feeling in the cabin and definitely too noisy on a longer journey. The new Ibiza has cracked the code, however, using VW Group’s latest small-car chassis to great effect. Styling is only evolutionary, but the cabin is roomy, attractive and well-made and it’s both engaging and refined to drive. The 1.0-litre turbo triple petrol engine is a cracker, but if you want the ultimate in refinement and punchy performance, go for the new 150hp 1.5 petrol turbo.
Best model: 1.0 TSI FR for €19,465.
Price range: €14,995-€20,185. Finance from €169 per month.
CO2 emissions: 98-119g/km.
Sum up: Here comes the (Spanish) sun.
Watch our review of the new Seat Ibiza
Worthy contender: Honda Jazz
The Jazz has two big hurdles to clamber over in order to find buyers. The first, and tallest, is its price tag, which with a starting point of €17,640 looks staggeringly more expensive than equivalent models from Ford, VW, Skoda et al. The devil is in the detail, though: the Jazz is vastly better-equipped as standard than any of them, plus it’s more spacious. Honda claims there’s as much usable cabin space as you’d get in an old-shape Mercedes E-Class, and a big boot, too. Quality is the usual high-class Honda affair, and while the Jazz is no junior hot hatch, it’s satisfying and comfortable to drive, with the 1.3 petrol VTEC engine (the only version available) both reasonably powerful and as smooth as clarified butter. The other hurdle? The CVT automatic version. It’s such a horrible gearbox that it spoils the Jazz experience, and if you try only that version, you could be put off for life.
Best model: 1.3 i-VTEC SE for €17,640.
Price range: €17,640-€22,595. Finance from €189 per month.
CO2 emissions: 106-120g/km.
Sum up: Room to go with vroom.
Read our review of the Honda Jazz
Worthy contender: Citroën C3
It’s such a relief to us Francophiles that Citroën is getting back into the business of making interesting cars again. The C4 Cactus was a positive effort (if undone by a tiny, cramped cabin) but this new C3 is the real deal – a French small car that eschews sportiness (in spite of Citroën turning it into a rally car) in favour of squishy, Parisian comfort. The front seats are like favourite armchairs, the suspension soft like blancmange. The 1.2-litre petrol engine (turbo or nonturbo) is a cracker (aside from an occasional lack of around-town refinement) and the overall quality looks good.
Best model: 1.2 PureTech 82hp Feel for €17,815.
Price range: €15,490-€22,415. Finance from €153 per month.
CO2 emissions: 192-110g/km.
Sum up: C’est bon.
Read our review of the new C3
Wild card: Nissan Micra
Wild is not normally a sobriquet applied to a Nissan Micra. Mild would normally be more like it, but that’s what makes this new fifth-generation Micra so exciting: it has moved from the grey-stream to the mainstream, thanks to neat, attractive styling and (yes, really) an engaging, enjoyable driving experience. 900cc turbo petrol engine is the one to have. Cabin quality is excellent, and there’s even an Audi-style flat-bottom steering wheel. Space in the back seats is the only major drawback – it’s needlessly tight back there.
Best model: 0.9 SV for €18,450.
Price range: €16,650-€22,650. Finance per month: POA.
CO2 emissions: 97-107g/km.
Sum up: Grey rinsed away.
Read our review of the new Micra