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Best small cars

The definitive ranking of the best and worst small cars on sale in the UK

This is the definitive ranking of the best and worst small cars on sale in the UK.

How can we make such a bold claim? Because this list isn’t just based on our opinion. We’ve compiled and analysed more than 12,000 new car reviews from 30 of the top motoring websites in the UK to produce our Expert Rating Index.

Why rely on one person’s opinion when you can have all of the top reviews gathered together in one place?

Despite the explosion in SUV sales over the last few years, small hatchbacks are still the best-selling cars in the UK. Small cars can be divided into two categories, known as city cars and superminis. City cars are smaller and (usually) cheaper, and will often be three-door hatchbacks. Superminis are larger and are usually five-door hatchbacks.

Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo has received generally good media reviews, with praise for its high levels of build quality and general refinement.

Toyota Yaris

The fourth-generation Toyota Yaris has a clever hybrid powertrain to maximise electric power, but the interior isn't as nice as some rivals.

Fiat 500 Electric

The new Fiat 500 Electric has been praised for its driving dynamics and interior quality, both of which are much better than the old model.

SEAT Ibiza

The SEAT Ibiza has received very positive media reviews, and is one of the highest-rated superminis on sale in the UK.

Peugeot e-208

The Peugeot e-208 has received very positive UK media reviews and has won several awards - including European Car of the Year in 2020.

Skoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia is a practical supermini and stand-out value-for-money package, but rivals have better interior quality.

BYD Dolphin

The electric BYD Dolphin has the interior comfort and low pricing to turn heads, but its driving dynamics have not fostered much praise.

GWM Ora 03

The GWM Ora 03 is a spacious hatchback and one of the safest all-electric family cars on the market, but its rivals are more fun to drive.

Renault Clio

The initial reviews for the new Renault Clio have been broadly positive, with particular praise for its refinement and high-quality interior.

Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz is a practical and economical small car, with more room for passengers and luggage than similarly sized rivals.

Peugeot 208

Media reviews for the Peugeot 208 have been positive, with praise for its design and build quality. However, poor ride and handling have been criticised.

Hyundai i20

The Hyundai i20 has been praised for being a big improvement over the old model, although it's not seen to be as good as the best in class.

Vauxhall Corsa Electric

Media reviews of the Vauxhall Corsa Electric have been positive, although (like the petrol version) its Expert Rating is disappointing.

Volkswagen Up

Despite being on sale for nearly a decade, the Volkswagen Up is still one of the top-rated small cars according to our Expert Rating index.

Kia Soul EV

The Kia Soul EV has received positive reviews with praise for its quirky styling. It's decent to drive, with a good range compared to many electric cars.

Audi A1

The Audi A1 has received positive media reviews, with praise for its comfort and technology. The A1 Citycarver version disappoints, however.

Honda e

The Honda e electric city car has been praised for its retro-futuristic styling and technology, but criticised for poor battery range.

Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 has received positive media reviews, with praise for its interior quality, equipment levels and driving experience.

Vauxhall Corsa

The Vauxhall Corsa has a disappointing Expert Rating for a brand new car, with a score that currently puts it firmly in the bottom half of its class.

Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra has received mixed scores from the UK media since it was launched, with earlier reviews tending to rate it more highly than recent tests.

Kia Picanto

The Kia Picanto has received an unusually broad variation of media review scores, ranging from "Best City Car" awards to "Don't Buy" recommendations.

Mazda 2

The Mazda 2 has received generally positive media reviews, although it's no longer considered to rank among the best in its class.

Dacia Sandero Stepway

The Dacia Sandero Stepway offers immense value in a small car – but only if you can live with its very poor safety rating.

Dacia Sandero

The new Dacia Sandero has been highly praised for its value for money, comfort and practicality. Unfortunately, its safety rating is poor.

Citroën C3

The Citroën C3 has received mixed media reviews, with our Expert Rating aggregator ranking it in the midfield of the supermini category.

Mini Clubman

The Mini Clubman has received generally positive scores from the UK motoring media, with fairly similar scoring for the Top-spec JCW model.

Mini hatch

The Mini hatch generally gets very good reviews from the UK media, despite its advancing years, with high praise for its driving dynamics.

Kia Rio

The Kia Rio has received mixed media reviews, with an overall Expert Rating places it firmly in the bottom half of the supermini class.

Suzuki Ignis

The Suzuki Ignis has received mostly positive reviews. However, it was rated "Don't Buy" by Which? due to a poor three-star safety rating.

Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe was considerd a leading small electric car, but an abysmal zero-star safety rating means it's now impossible to recommend.

Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 has received mixed media reviews, with scores dropping as the car gets older and starts to fall well behind the class leaders.

MG 3

There is little to recommend the MG3 over other small cars. The Dacia Sandero is cheaper and better, while dearer rivals are better and safer.

Fiat Panda

Despite its poor safety record, the Fiat Panda continues to receive mostly positive media reviews, although the scores have tended to decline over time.

Ford Fiesta ST (2013 to 2017)

Other hot hatches may have offered a better interior, but when it came to driving thrills, the Ford Fiesta ST was a unanimous reviewer favourite.

Hyundai i20 N

Singled out at the Ford Fiesta ST's closest rival to date, the Hyundai i20 N is a very talented small hot hatch that is serious fun to drive.

Abarth 500e

The all-electric Abarth 500e is a nimble performance-enhanced city car with sporty looks and character, but its petrol siblings are faster.

Ford Fiesta ST

The Ford Fiesta ST received many outstanding media reviews, and its ownership costs are surprisingly good for a hot hatch as well.

Toyota GR Yaris

The Toyota GR Yaris has received universal praise from UK reviews for its performance and handling, and has won a host of awards.

Mini JCW GP (2019 to 2020)

The limited-edition Mini John Cooper Works GP was a very fast hot hatch with a high-quality interior but hindered by a slow gearbox.

Volkswagen Polo GTI

The Volkswagen Polo GTI is a very well-built and mild-mannered small hot hatch that reviewers agree lacks the raw fun of its rivals.

Volkswagen Up GTI

The Volkswagen Up GTI is a fun bite-sized hot hatch which has recieved acclaim as a value-for-money package, but no infotainment is included.

Mini hatch John Cooper Works

The Mini hatch John Cooper Works has the pace to keep up with larger hot hatches, but its price is rather steep for a car of this size.

Suzuki Swift Sport

The Suzuki Swift Sport is fun and well-equipped but reviewers take issue with its price, while other hot hatch rivals are more impressive.

Abarth 595

The Abarth 595 is a car you buy with heart rather than head, with practical shortcomings and a high price, but it's great fun to drive.

Abarth 695

The Abarth 695 hot hatch range has been praised for its punchy performance, but criticised for its outdated interior and price.