Fiat 500

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Small, fun and highly customisable; the popularity of the Fiat 500 city car has been revving up ever since its arrival in the UK back in 2007.

According to Fiat, there are over 500,000 ways to personalise the 500, with customers also able to choose from over 10 different body colours and four engine types.

Priced from £10,160, the popular Fiat 500 is available in five trim levels: Pop, Colour Therapy, S, Lounge and Cult, with the latter introduced for the 2014 model range.

As standard, every model in the Fiat 500 range comes equipped with Dualdrive power steering, electric windows, remote central locking, Start&Stop technology, MP3 player and seven airbags.

Moving up the trim levels brings additional features such as air conditioning, tinted windows, Fiat Blue&Me, alloy wheels and a radio, CD and MP3 player.

For the 2014 model range, Fiat introduced the range-topping Cult trim, which includes a new seven-inch TFT screen. This can display media player and telephone information, along with navigation information if it is fitted with a TomTom 2 LIVE sat-nav system.

Fiat also added a new 104bhp 0.9-litre TwinAir Turbo Petrol engine to its 500 line-up. In addition to the new unit, the full Fiat 500 engine range is as follows: the 68bhp 1.2-litre petrol, the 84bhp 0.9-litre TwinAir Turbo Petrol and the 94bhp 1.3-litre MultiJet II Turbo Diesel.

We recommend the Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir 84bhp Lounge, as it offers efficient driving with a good level of equipment.

VW up!

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The Volkswagen up! is one of the most popular city cars available today, with the model scooping the prestigious ‘World Car of the Year’ award in 2012.

Volkswagen’s award-winning city car is available in numerous trim levels, consisting of the Take up!, Move up!, High up!, Groove up! and Rock up!, with prices starting from £8,265.

Standard equipment across the range includes numerous airbags, ABS, daytime running lights, practical storage compartments and radio/MP3-compatible CD player with an aux-in socket.

Higher-spec models bring additional features such as air conditioning, alloy wheels, front fog lights, heated front seats, tinted glass, Bluetooth and the ‘Maps & More’ portable infotainment system.

Three engines are available to power the VW up!: a 59bhp 1.0-litre unit, a 74bhp 1.0-litre powerplant and a 74bhp 1.0-litre BlueMotion engine.

Depending on the model chosen, the VW up! will emit between 95g/km and 108g/km of CO2, which places the model in a VED band of either ‘A’ or ‘B’.

Our choice of model is the VW up! 1.0 BlueMotion three-door, which is priced at under £10,000 and features sub-100g/km CO2 emissions.

Those looking for a cheaper offering can look at the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo city cars, as these are rebadged versions of the VW up!.

Vauxhall ADAM

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The so-called ‘customisation king’, Vauxhall’s ADAM city car is certainly geared towards a younger, fashion-conscious audience.

Priced from £11,255, the Vauxhall ADAM can be specified in three trim levels, the quirkily-named JAM, GLAM and SLAM.

Entry-level models come well-equipped, with features including air conditioning, cruise control, alloy wheels, ESP-plus, ABS, daytime running lights, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, leather-covered steering wheel and numerous airbags, including full-size curtain ‘bags.

Depending on the version chosen, the higher-spec GLAM and SLAM models further add climate control, LED daytime running lights, larger alloys, sports suspension, dark-tinted rear windows and more.

Numerous petrol engines are available to power the ADAM: a 1.0-litre ECOTEC Direct-Injection Turbo (with either 89bhp or 113bhp), a 69bhp 1.2-litre unit and a 1.4-litre powerplant, with a power output of either 86bhp or 99bhp.

CO2 emissions offered by the Vauxhall ADAM range from 99g/km to 130g/km, with average fuel economy as high as 62mpg.

With sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, our pick of the range is easily the Vauxhall ADAM 1.0 ECOTEC model, featuring the company’s new cutting-edge three-cylinder petrol unit.

Ford Ka

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The Ford Ka is the smallest model offered by the company which produced the UK’s best-selling Fiesta and Focus cars – so it has a lot to live up to.

Ford’s city car offering is available in numerous trims, consisting of Studio, Studio Connect, Edge, Zetec, Titanium, Metal and Grand Prix III. Models are priced from just £8,795.

Standard equipment includes tinted glass, ABS with EBD, power steering, body colour bumpers and stereo radio/CD player with MP3, aux-in and four speakers.

Higher trim levels bring desirable features such as alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, USB socket, front fog lights, privacy glass and more.

One engine is available to power the Ford Ka range: a 1.2-litre Duratec petrol unit, with a maximum power output of 68bhp. Mated to the engine is a five-speed manual transmission.

This engine offers a maximum speed of 99mph and a 0-62mph time of 13.4 seconds. In addition, it produces 115g/km of CO2 emissions and returns average fuel economy of 57.7mpg.

There is not much choice in the Ka range, but we suggest going for the Ford Ka 1.2 Edge version, which comes with enough kit to please most motorists and is still priced at under £10,000.

Citroën C1

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Citroën is introducing the next-generation C1 city car in the UK this year, with prices starting from just £8,245 for the sleek model.

The new Citroën C1 will be available in three well-specified trim levels: Touch, Feel and Flair, with customers able to choose either a three- or five-door model.

Customers can also choose from eight body colours, including four metallic options, along with three wheel designs and four interior upholstery finishes.

Standard equipment for the next-generation Citroën C1 includes LED daytime running lights, an MP3-compatible audio system, USB socket, remote central locking, electric front windows, power steering, ESP, ABS, EBA and six airbags.

Moving up the range brings additional features like air conditioning, DAB digital radio, seven-inch Touch Drive interface with Mirror Screen technology and steering wheel-mounted controls, alloy wheels, reversing camera, leather steering wheel and dark tinted rear windows.

Optional equipment includes automatic air conditioning, keyless entry & start, automatic headlights and numerous styling details, such as black leather upholstery and various interior colour packs.

Three petrol engines are available to power the new Citroën C1. These are a VTi 67bhp (with either a five-speed manual or five-speed clutchless Efficient Tronic Gearbox (ETG)), an e-VTi 67bhp Airdream (with five-speed manual ‘box with Stop & Start technology) and an all-new three-cylinder PureTech VTi 81bhp unit with a five-speed manual transmission.

For frugal motorists, the obvious choice is the Citroën C1 Flair VTi 82 manual three-door model, which offers sub-100g/km CO2 emissions of 99g/km and average fuel consumption of 65mpg.

smart fortwo

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Many heads were turned when smart cars first hit the UK back in 2000, with the smart fortwo one of many city cars on our roads today.

Two versions of the well-known smart car are available: the smart fortwo coupe and the smart fortwo cabrio. The coupe is priced from £10,330 while the cabrio costs from £11,830.

Each version has two further variants available: one is equipped with a 71bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, while the other is fitted with an 84bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit.

The 71bhp smart fortwo coupe offers sub-100g/km CO2 emissions of just 98g/km, while the 84bhp coupe version emits 115g/km of CO2. In addition, the cabrio variants emit 100g/km and 115g/km of CO2, respectively.

This means that the smart fortwo coupe has a BiK tax rating of either 12% or 16% for 2014/15, while the smart fortwo cabrio has a BiK tax rating of 13% or 16% for 2014/15.

Standard equipment across the range includes numerous airbags, air conditioning, interior lighting, 15-inch alloy wheels, panoramic roof (coupe only), LED daytime running lights, leather steering wheel and gear knob and black leather upholstery.

Furthermore, all models come with multiple multimedia features, including RDS radio with 6.5-inch touch-screen display, navigation, Bluetooth hands-free system, aux/USB, iPod interface, CD/DVD/SD and two speakers.

If you want sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, go for the smart fortwo grandstyle edition mhd coupe. Otherwise, the choice depends on whether or not you want your model to come with a retractable roof or not.

Nissan Micra

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Priced from £9,950, the Nissan Micra is one of the sleeker-looking and well-equipped city cars available in the UK today, with a host of technologies guaranteed to trump most of its competition.

The latest-generation Nissan Micra is available in the following trim levels: Visia, Acenta and Tekna, with models offering a bold new look both inside and out.

Standard equipment is plentiful, with all Micras coming equipped with Bluetooth phone integration, aux-in socket, radio/CD player with four speakers, USB socket, front electric windows, ESP, remote central locking and numerous airbags.

Moving up the range brings additional features such as alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, front fog lamps, steering wheel audio controls, climate control, automatic lights, Parking Slot Measurement, NissanConnect with six speakers, rear parking sensors and i-Key with engine start button.

Depending on the model chosen, optional equipment includes air conditioning, NissanConnect and a glass roof.

Two engines are available for use in the Nissan Micra: a 79bhp 1.2-litre unit and a 97bhp 1.2-litre Supercharged DIG-S powerplant. Both engines can be mated to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT transmission. CO2 emissions produced range from 95g/km to 115g/km

We would opt for the Nissan Micra 1.2 DIG-S Acenta, as not only does it come equipped with most of the kit desired by motorists, it also emits less than 100g/km of CO2 (99g/km).

Hyundai i10

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The latest-generation Hyundai i10 city car went on sale at the start of the year, with prices starting from £8,495.

Three trim levels are available for the Hyundai i10, which are S, SE and Premium. Standard equipment includes daytime running lights, electric front windows, ESP, USB with aux connectiob, six airbags, central locking, Tyre Pressure Monitoring and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).

Moving up the trim levels brings features such as air conditioning, driver’s seat height adjustment, electric and heated door mirrors, LED daytime running lights, steering wheel controls, alloy wheels, Bluetooth with voice recognition and leather steering wheel and gear knob to the mix.

The engine range consists of a 65bhp 1.0-litre petrol, a 65bhp 1.0-litre Blue Drive petrol and an 86bhp 1.2-litre petrol. Depending on the engine chosen, the unit can be mated to either a manual gearbox or automatic transmission.

The Hyundai i10 will emit between 98g/km and 142g/km of CO2, placing the model in a VED tax band between ‘A’ and ‘F’. In addition, the city car will carry a BiK tax rating of between 12% and 21%.

Those looking for an economical drive should look no further than the Hyundai i10 SE Blue Drive model, which emits just 98g/km of CO2 and is priced at under £10,000.

Peugeot 108

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New for 2014, the stylish Peugeot 108 is set to be one of the highlights of the city car world this year.

The all-new Peugeot 108 is available in two distinct body style: the 108 Hatchback and the 108 TOP!, which features a retractable fabric roof.

Customers opting for Peugeot’s all-new city car will be able to choose from eight body colours, two versions of two-tone paint, three retractable fabric roof colours (for TOP! models only), seven personalisation themes, three interior ambiences and six trim levels.

All Peugeot 108 models come well equipped, with standard kit including a seven-inch touch-screen, which is the interface for the audio system, trip computer and vehicle settings.

In addition, motorists can connect their smartphone’s applications that are compatible with the model using Mirror Screen. This function operates using MirrorLink technology (for Android, RIM and Windows phones) and AppInCar technology (for Apple iOS phones).

Other equipment available includes height-adjustable driver’s seat, Peugeot Open and Go system and automatic air conditioning.

The 108 engine range is made up of four efficient three-cylinder units. These are the 1.0-litre e-VTi 68bhp five-speed manual (with Stop & Start technology), 1.0-litre VTi 68bhp five-speed manual, 1.0-litre VTi 68bhp five-speed electronic and the new 1.2-litre PureTech VTi 82bhp five-speed manual.

Depending on the version chosen, the all-new Peugeot 108 will offer CO2 emissions between 88g/km and 99g/km.

We suggest opting for the Peugeot 108 1.2-litre PureTech VTi 82bhp five-speed manual, as this offers efficient driving with an added power boost.

Best city cars 2012

Volkswagen Up

New, three- or five-door city car with excellent engines and a well-built feel. Good level of equipment and expected high residual values. Out in 2012.

Seat Mii

Sportier, but cheaper version of the Volkswagen Up. Distinctive styling and colours and a solid range of engines. Low price. Out in 2012.

Skoda Citigo

Lower price than the Volkswagen Up it is based on make it an intriguing prospect. Decent levels of equipment but subdued styling. Out in 2012.

Toyota IQ

Tidy styling, compact dimensions, low running costs and reliability make it a very good car. Struggles to fit anybody in the back but ideal for short city journeys.

Kia Picanto

Three-door city car with typically impressive Kia styling. Cheap to run and fun to drive. Superb warranty and low starting price.

Hyundai i10

Stylish three-door city car with ultra-low emissions and a superb reliability record. Good warranty and South Korean cars are hugely popular now.

Renault Twingo

Updated city car with a stylish front end and plenty of customisable options. Attractive design and low prices make it popular with younger buyers.Good engines, but not the cheapest to run in the segment.

Citroën C1

Updated (2012) city car with selection of green engines. Low starting price but equipment is sparse. Decent rear seat space but small boot.

Peugeot 107

Shares origins with the C1 but with new Peugeot styling. Frugal but basic. Low starting price.Decent rear seat space but small boot.

Ford Ka

Tiny city car which is fun to drive, cheap to own and well-equipped. New generation loses its distinctively 'cute' styling but still one of the best for a new driver.

Chevrolet Spark

Five-door city car with eye-catching body colours but basic level of equipment. No-nonsense, low-price small car with motorbike-inspired instrument panel and option body graphic options.

Fiat Panda

New five-door city car with added practicality, space and brilliant engine choices offering low running costs.Comes with a 4x4 option - a unique feature in such a small car.

Fiat 500

Retro-styled, premium Italian city car with award-winning petrol and diesel engines capable of ultra-low running costs. Voted sexiest car in the world by Top Gear.

Aston Martin Cygnet

Controversial £30k city car based on the Toyota IQ with Aston Martin badge and luxury interior.