Best buys: City Cars
We identify the best in class and some rivals to consider
Hyundai i10: it bestrides the small car class like a Colossus
The best one: Hyundai i10
The smallest Hyundai has had some of the biggest success, and it still bestrides the really small car class like a tyro Colossus. Recently facelifted, the cabin is now a little more lustrous in its quality (although to be fair there was hardly much wrong with it before) and the 1.0-litre petrol engine remains entirely adequate to all tasks asked of it. The springy, over-assisted steering doesn’t inspire much, but the i10’s secret is that it’s as comfortable and useable on country roads and motorways as it is in town.
Best model: Cheapest €12,995 Classic makes the most sense
Price range: €12,995 to €16,495. Finance from €140 per month.
Co2 emissions: 108 to 134g/km
Sum up: Grown up.
Worthy contender: Volkswagen Up
The Up (alongside its triplet brethren the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii) is compact, but doesn’t feel it. The cabin won’t give Rolls-Royce any sleepless nights but by small-car standards it’s positively plush, and space in the back is quite reasonable. Better yet, the front seats are low-set and comfy; not always a given in this class of car. 1.0-litre three-pot engine is eager and frugal, but avoid the basic three-door model as rear-seat access is awkward.
Best model: Move Up 60hp 5-door for €13,995
Price range: €11,875 to €15,430. Finance from €159 per month.
Co2 emissions: 100 to 103g/km
Sum up: If Apple made a small car
Worthy contender: Fiat 500
You won’t buy a 500 for its practicality (the boot and back seats are tiny, and there’s no five-door option) but you will buy it for its cuteness, its style, and its sheer sense of fun. A cut-and-shut Panda with seats like barstools and an ancient 1.2-litre petrol engine that’s been around for longer than Gay Byrne just shouldn’t be this much fun to drive, but the 500’s bouncy, springy, hyperactive nature just makes it so endearing that we can’t resists. Consciously retro styling should have dated or grated by now, but it just hasn’t and cabin quality is top-drawer stuff.
Best model: 1.2 Pop Star for €14,700
Price range: €13,600 to €17,800. Finance from €156 per month.
Co2 emissions: 89 to 110g/km
Sum up: Milan fashion week style, Dunne’s budget.
Wild Card: Suzuki Ignis
It may not be to all tastes but to those of us raised on a steady diet of 1970s and 1980s Japanese metal, the Suzuki Ignis looks great, with its throwback Whizzkid styling. It’s all but impossible not to be charmed by its pugnacious looks, and it’s roomy and practical (by city car standards at any rate) inside. The cabin quality might be a little scrappy in paces, and it’s hardly the most sophisticated thing to drive, but the 1.2 Dualjet engine is a good ‘un and it’ll be unburstably reliable. You can even get it with four-wheel drive and a mild-hybrid option.
Best model: 1.2 DualJet SZ-T for €14,495
Price range: €12,995 to €17,995. Finance: Price on application
Co2 emissions: 97 to 106g/km
Sum up: Back to the 1970s