With family budgets squeezed, fuel prices rising and green concerns high on consumers’ lists, the popularity of small cars has gone from strength to strength in the UK. Sharpness of design, efficient use of interior space, as well as fuel economy, have been transformed in the sector in the last few years, even amongst the “old-timers” like the Renault Clio. Challenged for choice? Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk) provides you with five small cars on the market in the UK – and you’ll get an idea of the great combination of fun, practicality and economy that they offer.
1) The Ford Fiesta has been the UK’s top selling car since 2008, and Ford have made sure that styling and design have kept pace with the demands of the market. It scores highly for performance, (even the entry-level models), fuel economy, and the usual excellent Ford gearbox and engine, contributing to a great driving experience. If you are looking for a family car that will comfortably carry kids and luggage, you may have reservations about the lack of space in the back. But if you love the car’s performance, then it might be worth waiting for the new Ford Fiesta ST which is coming out this spring.
2) The Renault Clio, a perennial favourite, is another supermini that has benefitted over the years from frequent make-overs. In its latest form it offers both petrol and diesel engines, and the ECO version achieves 65.7mpg and very low emissions, giving you the advantage of removing the cost of road tax. It only comes in a five-door version, but the rear door handles are hidden, giving it a clean and sporty profile, and the latest design is both lighter and more roomy than earlier versions. It has received enthusiastic reviews for its handling and performance
3) The Audi A1 Hatchback won CarBuyer’s award for the best luxury small car in 2012, which gives a clue to its qualities. As with all Audis, it scores highly for the comfort and quality of its build and interior fittings, and it gained a maximum rating for safety in the Euro NCAP crash test, making it one of the safest small cars on the market. The 1.6-litre diesel version averages 74.3 mph and is exempt from Road Tax. Although the Audi’s purchase price is higher than many other superminis, its performance and quality certainly make it one to consider, with Auto Express describing it as “small as a mini, as well-built as a Bentley”.
4) For a budget supermini the Suzuki Swift Hatchback offers buyers one of the cheapest cars in the class that has both style and driveability. The interior is spacious with plenty of legroom for both front- and back-seat passengers and it’s been described by a number of reviewers as fun to drive, with crisp and accurate steering and good road-holding. The basic models are still well-equipped, with front electric windows, heated door mirrors and audio controls on the steering wheel as standard.
5) The Citroen DS3 hit the best-selling lists several times in 2012, and for a stylish 3-door supermini it certainly offers a lot. A wide range of engines allows the buyer a choice from economy and low emission versions with a zero road tax rating, or a more powerful performance from the 1.6 petrol turbo. This is another supermini that scored five stars for safety in the Euro NCAP test, and it has also got high ratings for reliability, not, perhaps, what Citroens were known for in the past.