These cars are small but perfectly formed. They are cheap to buy and run and a terrifically competitive market means they drive better, look better and have better interiors than ever before. These are now viable cars for nearly every household; even families would find them useful as second cars or an excellent first car for a teenager or twenty-something.
These cars are small. I do mean small. Their length is around 3.5m. Specific examples are as follows; Seat Mii, Fiat 500, Skoda Citigo, Citroen C1, Toyota IGO, Peugeot 107. For a good comparison, the Ford Focus is 3.95m and the Mini Cooper S is 3.73m long. But why is small so special? Well you will be able to fit these cars into the microscopically small garages in today’s new builds and open your door allowing you to exit the car whilst still in the garage! They are so small you can squeeze then into tiny spaces in car parks and in front of your house. Their small size will help nervous parkers to manoeuvre with confidence.
Its no good being small if you handle like a cruise ship. To nip around busy city centres and squeeze into tiny parking spaces, you need a car with responsive steering and a small turning circle. A good benchmark is the MINI which reviews wall as nippy city cars. Its minimum turning circle is 10.7m. Compact cars perform better; VW up 9.8m, fiat 500 9.3m and Toyota iq 7.8m. Then there are a few models with really tiny turning circles- Hyundii i10 4.8m and Kia Picanto 4.9m.
Turning circle is only one measure of the handling ability of these cars. The responsiveness and security of the drive depend on a whole host of factors. Even though the Hyundai and Kia have tiny turning circles reviewers don’t rate their handling that well compared to other cars in the category. Instead the overall handling that well compared to other cars in the category. Instead the overall handling offered by the VW up and Fiat Panda seem to be the best in this group.
City driving and manoeuvring mean you need a car with excellent all round visibility. Most compact cars are well designed to provide this. The consumer organisation which performed comprehensive testing of visibility in 2010. No compact car appeared in the list of 10 worst cars for visibility. However the Fiat 500, Hyundai i10 and Smart For Two Coupe all appeared in the top 10.
These cars are designed to be as cheap as possible. You can get ab entry level fiat panda, Kia Picanto, Skoda Citigo, Seat Mii or Ford KA for £8,500. Add another £1,000 and Renault Twingo, Hyundai i10 and even a VW up are in your range. Of course optional extras car quickly add to the entry price.
Any car that emits less than 100g/km of CO2 is not taxed. Many compact cars do not attract road tax but choose certain combinations of model and engine type and you can end up paying tax. For example all fiat 500 models so not attract road tax whereas a Panda can be free or up to £130 per year if you choose the 4X4 version. Nearly all versions of the Hyundai i10 attract tax. Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 are only £20 per year to tax.
The most fuel efficient petrol cars have an MPG (combined) in the 70-75 range. Several of the compact cars fall just under this level; the VW up Blue motion, Fiat Panda, Seat mii and Skoda Citigo all deliver 69mpg. Fuel economy does depend on the engine type and size can vary enormously within a range so if this is important to you, check the brochure specifications carefully.
Compact cars are cheap to insure. Several compact cars are in cheapest insurance groups (1&2); Hyundai i10 1.0, SEAT Mii and the Skoda Citigo. Of course certain options will take these cars into higher groups. In group 3 you find the following: Kia Picanto, Smart For Two and Toyota iQ. The Fiats are in group 5.