What are the best cars for city living?

When you’re looking for a car for city driving, there are some key factors to consider, not least fuel economy – overcrowded roads mean you’re unlikely to spend much time cruising in 5th gear and fuel prices are forever going up. Low emissions are another consideration – vehicles with extremely low C02 emissions are exempt from vehicle exercise duty, whilst others can receive a significant discount. With parking space at a premium in urban environments, something you can fit into the narrowest of gaps is always going to be popular, so size certainly matters, as ultimately, does the price.

Demand for small and economical city vehicles is as high as it has ever been. Ten years ago, choices were limited, but these days, the discerning driving is not prepared to sacrifice much in the way of style and comfort to meet the city car criteria and with the boom in small car manufacture, they don’t have to.

Ford were one of the first to produce a small, city car with the advent of their Ka range, which continues to be popular to this day. The new range is more stylish, including a 1.3 turbo diesel engine. But if the Ka feels a little outdated, then the reinvented Fiat 500 is the trendy car about town. Retro chic and with relatively cheap entry level models, it’s a popular option.

When Smart cars first hit the scene, it was a Marmite moment – you either loved ’em or hated ’em. Yet their popularity was undeniable and the arrival of the Smart Fortwo means this car is a real contender. Although bigger than the original Smart car, the Fortwo is still smaller than almost everything else on the market, with great fuel economy and a realistic price tag.

Japanese car makers were quick on the uptake, with the Toyota’s iQ and Mitsubishi i. Both are designed for city driving and tick almost every box on the city driver’s wish list, including up to date designs and stylish interiors, although price wise, they’re a little steep.

For a lower price point, try the Korean built Hyundai i10. There’s no compromise in terms of fuel economy and comfort with this vehicle and it even comes with a five year unlimited mileage warranty – and four doors, a real plus for a smaller car.

The Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 are the French offering in the small car range and can more than give their European and Far East counterparts a run for their money when it comes to style, economy and handling.

Of course, if it’s simply a bit of nostalgia you want, then the Mini is surely there at the top of the list. The original small, city car, the design is now more robust and stylish, but you will have to dig that little bit deeper.

Article by Matt Smith – Freelance blogger focusing on the new car and used car markets.

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