Best small cars 2022

 

Best small cars 2022

The small car market is one of the most fiercely contested, which is great news if you're after this sort of vehicle, because it means there are stacks of models to choose from and standards are incredibly high.

To have a chance of topping the class, a car must be as comfortable on the motorway as it is in the city. It must offer a decent amount of equipment, enough boot space for weekly shopping trips and an interior that's practical enough to cope with the demands of families. And it must, of course, be competitively priced.

In order to help you find the right small car, we've picked out our top 10 – and named the ones you should avoid. And remember, if any of them take your fancy, you can potentially save thousands without any haggling by using our New Car Buying service.

10

Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10 2022 front tracking
Hyundai i10 2022 dashboard

The i10's compact dimensions and great visibility make it ideally suited to the city, yet it doesn’t feel out of its depth on faster roads, thanks to a 1.2-litre petrol engine that has enough oomph for stress-free journeys. Ride comfort is impressive at all speeds, too, even compared with many larger models. However, the i10 is quite pricey for such a small car.

New car deals
Target Price from £13,337
Save up to £888
or from £172pm
Nearly new deals
From £11,499
Leasing deals
From £185pm

Pros

  • Comfortable and quiet to drive
  • Five seats and decent rear space
  • Good amount of kit as standard

Cons

  • Three-star Euro NCAP safety rating
  • Non-turbocharged 1.0-litre engine is a bit lacklustre
  • Pricey to insure
9

Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris Hybrid 2022 front left cornering
Toyota Yaris Hybrid 2022 interior front seats

Our True MPG test proves that the new Yaris hybrid has a remarkable ability to sip fuel gently; in town, it achieved 80mpg, which is almost double the economy of conventionally powered small hatchbacks. It should also be very reliable and hold its value well. Just bear in mind that the ride is quite firm and the rear seats cramped.

New car deals
Target Price from £19,971
Save up to £1,864
or from £225pm
Nearly new deals
From £21,400
Leasing deals
From £250pm

Pros

  • Excellent real-world fuel economy
  • Toyota's reliability record
  • Slow predicted depreciation

Cons

  • Below-par infotainment system
  • Firm ride – especially on higher-spec models with bigger wheels
  • Cramped in the back
8

Audi A1

Audi A1 2021 front tracking
Audi A1 2021 front seats

Now in its second generation, the A1 offers an enjoyable driving experience and has room for two adults to sit comfortably in the back. There’s even a spacious boot, remedying one of the criticisms of the original model. However, while there are still some nice touches, the interior doesn’t feel significantly classier than the cheaper Volkswagen Polo's, which is why Audi's smallest car goes no higher on this list.

New car deals
Target Price from £19,973
Save up to £1,032
or from £243pm
Nearly new deals
From £19,999
Leasing deals
From £274pm

Pros

  • Smooth ride and tidy handling
  • Relatively quiet at higher speeds
  • Very slow depreciation

Cons

  • Cheaper trims not well equipped
  • Mini feels much plusher inside
  • Peugeot 208 offers more for less money
7

Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta 2022 front cornering
Ford Fiesta 2022 interior dashboard

While plenty of small cars feel surprisingly grown-up, nothing puts a smile on your face like the Fiesta. It's particularly good in sporty ST-Line Edition trim, which brings stiffer springs to help the car stay more composed through corners, yet has barely any impact on ride comfort.

New car deals
Target Price from £18,472
Save up to £1,178
or from £251pm
Nearly new deals
From £14,750
Leasing deals
From £289pm

Pros

  • Brilliant to drive
  • Punchy Ecoboost engines, especially the Hybrid versions
  • Good fuel economy and CO2 emissions

Cons

  • Some rivals are better value
  • Decent but not class-leading practicality
  • Important safety kit not standard
6

Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza 2022 front cornering
Seat Ibiza 2021 interior dashboard

The Ibiza is almost as enjoyable to drive as the Fiesta, plus it's more spacious and should hold its value better. Even the 94bhp version of the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine pulls eagerly from low revs.

New car deals
Target Price from £16,963
Save up to £2,053
or from £239pm
Nearly new deals
From £16,250
Leasing deals
From £212pm

Pros

  • Great to drive
  • Roomy by class standards
  • Strong TSI petrol engines

Cons

  • Lots of road noise
  • Resale values could be better
  • Firm ride in FR versions
5

Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208 front - blue 69-plate car
Peugeot 208 dashboard - blue 69-plate car

If you are searching for a sharp-handling small car, there are better and cheaper alternatives – including the Fiesta and Ibiza. But if a rich interior, a comfortable ride, quiet cruising manners and decent interior space drive your purchasing decision, the 208 could well be the car for you.

New car deals
Target Price from £19,034
Save up to £1,775
or from £277pm
Nearly new deals
From £16,950
Leasing deals
From £250pm

Pros

  • Very comfortable for a small car
  • Smart and high-quality interior
  • Punchy and frugal 1.2 Puretech 100 petrol engine

Cons

  • Steering wheel design can cause issues
  • So-so infotainment system
  • Not much fun to drive
4

Volkswagen Polo

VW Polo 2022 front cornering
VW Polo 2022 interior steering wheel

The latest Polo is available with a broad range of engines and trim levels, ensuring that there's something for everyone in the range. It also has a classy interior that's well equipped even in entry-level Life trim. Previously, the Polo has lost out to the Ibiza because it couldn’t justify its additional expense, but impressive deals mean that's no longer an issue.

New car deals
Target Price from £18,213
Save up to £1,072
or from £221pm
Nearly new deals
From £17,000
Leasing deals
From £216pm

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Generous interior space
  • Attractive PCP finance deals

Cons

  • Ford Fiesta is more fun to drive
  • Gutless entry-level petrol
  • Standard safety kit could be better
3

Dacia Sandero

Dacia Sandero 2022 front cornering
Dacia Sandero 2022 interior dashboard

The Sandero is comfortable, generously equipped (at least in our recommended Comfort trim) and very spacious, so it would be well worth considering even if it cost the same as its rivals. Except it doesn’t; it’s the UK's cheapest new car. Just bear in mind that there are quieter and safer small cars if you're prepared to spend (quite a lot) more.

New car deals
Target Price from £12,295
or from £146pm
Nearly new deals
From £11,600
Leasing deals
From £195pm

Pros

  • Amazingly good value
  • Lots of space for passengers and luggage
  • Comfortable ride

Cons

  • Poor safety rating compared with rivals
  • There are more entertaining small cars to drive
  • Some other small cars are quieter
2

Skoda Fabia

Skoda Fabia 2022 front cornering
Skoda Fabia 2022 interior dashboard

While it's not as cheap as the Sandero, the latest Fabia is still well priced. Plus, it's similarly spacious, even more comfortable and a hell of a lot safer. So, it's worth the extra if you can afford it..

New car deals
Target Price from £17,433
Save up to £752
or from £242pm
Nearly new deals
From £15,495
Leasing deals
From £259pm

Pros

  • Huge boot
  • Roomy interior with clever features
  • Fairly supple ride

Cons

  • Interior is hardly plush
  • Not as practical as the Honda Jazz
  • Bug-prone infotainment system
1

Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz 2022 front cornering
Honda Jazz 2022 interior dashboard

The Jazz's space and seating flexibility puts other small cars to shame, but crucially it's not just a box on wheels; it’s brilliant even if you take practicality out of the equation. Its hybrid engine, for example, delivers strong performance and excellent real-world fuel economy. In fact, the Jazz is the best small car on sale today.

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New car deals
Target Price from £20,115
Save up to £970
or from £212pm
Nearly new deals
From £19,995

Pros

  • Very spacious with great seating flexibility
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Slow depreciation

Cons

  • Pricey by small car standards
  • Not the quietest cruiser
  • Disappointing infotainment system

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