The Ford Fiesta is usually the first car that comes to mind when thinking of superminis. Ford’s ever-popular Fiesta has long been the UK’s best-selling car and will, seemingly, continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Ford’s best-selling Fiesta is available in six trim levels, from the entry-level Studio right up to the range-topping Titanium X.
As standard, all models come fitted with daytime running lights, Ford AM/FM CD Audio System with USB, Hill start assist, tinted glass, body colour rear spoiler, chrome upper grille, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and tyre repair kit.
Moving up the trim levels brings desirable features such as Ford MyKey, air conditioning, alloy wheels, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, front fog lights, ambient interior lighting, leather trimmed steering wheel, sports seats, DAB radio, cruise control, rear view camera and rear parking sensors.
Priced from £9,995, the Ford Fiesta is available in three- and five-door bodystyles. The engine line-up on offer is huge, with sizes ranging from 1.0- to 1.6-litres and power output varying from 59bhp to 123bhp.
Depending on the model chosen, a Ford Fiesta will return average fuel economy of between 54.3mpg and 85.6mpg, while producing between 85g/km and 138g/km of CO2 emissions. This means that the latest Ford Fiesta will fall under a VED band between ‘A’ and ‘E’.
Our pick of the range is the £14,545 Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.0T 99bhp EcoBoost, which offers the 2012 & 2013 ‘International Engine of the Year’, in addition to all of the equipment that most drivers would ever need.
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.
An updated Ford Focus is set to be one of the creams of the automotive crop in 2014, with the most popular small family car receiving a new exterior, interior, technologies and fuel economy improvements.
The current generation model is priced from £13,995 and is available in the following trim levels: Studio, Edge, Zetec and Titanium. The 2014 model range is expected to be priced around the same as the outgoing models, with trim levels also expected to be carried over.
Ford’s new Focus model will be the first vehicle in Europe to offer SYNC 2, the company’s advanced in-car connectivity system. Ford SYNC 2 features a high-resolution eight-inch colour touch-screen and advanced voice control.
Models will also feature retuned Electric Power Assist Steering, Perpendicular Parking technology, Active Park Assist, Ford MyKey and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Standard equipment on current models includes air conditioning, alloy wheels, radio/CD player, USB connection and remote central locking.
Moving up the trim levels bring additional features such as front fog lamps, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, Bluetooth, sports style front seats, DAB radio, leather-trimmed steering wheel, larger alloys, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
Numerous petrol and diesel engines are available to power the Ford Focus, including the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, the new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol and the new 1.5-litre TDCi diesel.
The new Ford Focus Electric will also be released in 2014, which offers customers zero-emissions driving.
Our choice of model is the Ford Focus 1.0L EcoBoost 99bhp five-speed manual, which is the first non-hybrid petrol family car in Europe to offer sub-100g/km CO2 emissions (99g/km).
Hot on the heels of the Ford Fiesta in the UK is the Vauxhall Corsa, which is the British manufacturer’s best-selling model.
Starting from £8,995, the Vauxhall Corsa is available with either three or five doors, eight trim levels and plenty of power options.
Opening the range is the limited-edition Sting model, which comes with daytime running lights, power steering, CD/MP3 player, alloy wheels, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), remote central locking and electrically-operated front windows.
Depending on the particular model chosen, the higher-specified Corsas will come with such features as a leather-covered steering wheel, alloy wheels, front fog lights, USB connection, Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, air conditioning, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, cruise control and sports suspension.
A host of petrol and diesel engines are available for use in the Vauxhall Corsa, including the company’s eco-signature: ecoFLEX.
Available transmissions include a five-speed manual, six-speed manual and a six-speed Easytronic gearbox, with Start/Stop technology also offered on some models.
The Vauxhall Corsa emits between 88g/km and 129g/km of CO2, while returning between 62.8mpg and 91.1mpg. This means that the Corsa will fall under a VED band between ‘A’ and ‘D’.
We recommend the Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi 94bhp ecoFLEX Start/Stop S model, for its low CO2 emissions, high fuel economy and enough equipment for most motorists.
The Audi A3 is one of the most popular and stylish models in its segment, with the car recently crowned the 2014 World Car of the Year.
Audi’s best-seller is available in the following body styles: three-door, Sportback, Cabriolet and Saloon, with prices starting from £18,280. Later this year, Audi will also release the A3 Sportback e-tron, which offers a plug-in hybrid drive.
The popular Audi A3 is available in three trim levels: SE, Sport and S line, with all models coming well equipped.
Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, 5.8-inch colour display screen, DAB radio, Audi Music Interface, Bluetooth, voice-control system, front fog lights, body-coloured roof spoiler, air conditioning and leather multi-function steering wheel.
Moving up the trim levels brings additional features such as larger alloys, sports suspension, colour driver’s information system, front sports seats, dual-zone climate control, Xenon Plus headlights and chrome exhaust tailpipe trims.
A host of petrol and diesel engines are available to power the Audi A3, with sizes ranging from 1.2-litres to 2.0-litres and offering between 104bhp and 182bhp.
Depending on the version chosen, the Audi A3 will return average fuel economy of between 42.8 mpg and 74.3mpg, while emitting between 99g/km and 152g/km of CO2.
With sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and a host of equipment, our pick of the range is the Audi A3 1.6 TDI SE.
BMW 1 Series
Rounding off the trio of German-made compact executive cars is the stylish BMW 1 Series, which is available in three- and five-door body styles.
The BMW 1 Series is priced from £17,775 and can be specified in one of the following trim levels: ES, SE, Sport, Urban and M Sport.
Standard equipment is plentiful for the 1 Series, with even entry-level models receiving alloy wheels, 6.5-inch Control Display, BMW Professional radio, Comfort Go keyless start, DAB radio and a leather steering wheel.
Moving up the range adds extra desirable features such as Bluetooth hands-free facility, multi-function leather steering wheel, sat-nav, leather upholstery, ambiance lighting, front sports seats, dual-zone air conditioning and numerous ‘M’ styling features.
Numerous petrol and diesel engines are available for the BMW 1 Series, with power output ranging from 94bhp to 315bhp. Depending on the version chosen, the 1 Series will emit between 99g/km and 188g/km of CO2.
Customers can specify the BMW 1 Series to have an eight-speed automatic transmission if they so wish, which is the first to be offered in the compact class.
Our pick of the range is BMW 1 Series 116d EfficientDynamics as it offers sub-100g.km CO2 emissions and enough luxury kit for most drivers.
The next-generation of the iconic MINI Hatch was released recently, with the new model marking the debut of the company’s new three-cylinder engines.
Five versions of the new MINI Hatch are available: One Hatch, One D Hatch, Cooper Hatch, Cooper D Hatch and the Cooper S Hatch, with prices starting at £13,750.
MINI has increased the standard equipment for the range, with models now featuring air conditioning, an on-board computer, front fog lamps and MINI Radio (including Bluetooth, aux-in and USB interface) as standard.
The entry-level MINI One Hatch comes fitted with a 101bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine, generating 180Nm of torque. The diesel-fuelled One D Hatch, however, features a 94bhp 1.5-litre diesel unit which produces 220Nm of torque.
Moving up to the new MINI Cooper Hatch, customers will experience a 134bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, with peak torque of 220Nm.
The MINI Cooper D Hatch is powered by a 114bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel engine, generating 270Nm of torque. The range-topping MINI Cooper S Hatch comes fitted with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, with a peak output of 189bhp and 280Nm of torque.
Customers looking for a frugal MINI should look no further than the top of the range Cooper S Hatch, as this model returns average fuel economy of 80.7mpg.
With the MINI Cooper being such an iconic model, why not go for the range-topping MINI Cooper S Hatch? With the highest power output and fuel economy figure, along with the most equipment, our choice has to be the MINI Cooper S Hatch.
Mercedes-Benz is known for its sleek, premium models and the A-Class is no exception.
Priced from £20,715, the Mercedes A-Class is available in three trim levels: SE, Sport, AMG Sport and the range-topping Engineered by AMG.
Standard equipment across the range is plentiful, with all models receiving alloy wheels, air conditioning, leather multi-function steering wheel, sports seats, 5.8-inch tablet-style colour display, Bluetooth, USB port and telephone keypad.
Higher-spec models receive larger alloys, cruise control, comfort/sports suspension, Bi-Xenon headlamps, ambient lighting, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and AMG bodystyling.
Optional equipment is also plentiful, with option packages including ‘Night Package’, ‘Memory Package’, ‘Exclusive Package’ and much more.
Numerous engines are available for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, with power outputs ranging from 107bhp to a whopping 354bhp. CO2 emissions produced will vary from 92g/km to 161g/km, depending on the version chosen.
Furthermore, the A-Class will return average fuel economy of between 40.9mpg and 78.5mpg.
Our choice of model is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class A180 CDI SE ECO, with its sub-100g/km CO2 emissions meaning that customers will pay no VED tax and will avoid the London Congestion Charge.
Audi usually directly competes with fellow German manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz. With its A1 model, however, it ventures into the crowded supermini segment which remains untouched by its two big rivals.
The Audi A1 is available in six trim levels, with prices starting at £15,175. Both petrol and diesel options are available, while all models come highly equipped.
Standard equipment for the A1 includes alloy wheels, air conditioning, sports steering wheel, 6.5-inch display screen, CD player with MP3 compatibility, SD card reader, aux-in socket and numerous airbags.
Higher trim levels bring desirable features such as larger alloys, sports suspension, Bluetooth, sports seats, leather sports multi-function steering wheel, front fog lights, roof spoiler, Xenon Plus headlights, automatic climate control and privacy glass.
Depending on the model chosen, numerous petrol and diesel options will be available. Petrol engine sizes range from 1.2-litres to 1.4-litres, while diesel unit sizes vary from 1.6-litres to 2.0-litres.
Engines are paired with either a five-speed manual, six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic transmission.
The Audi A1 will return average fuel economy of between 47.9mpg and 74.3mpg, while CO2 emissions range from 99g/km to 139g/km. This means that the A1 will have a Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rating of between 13% and 19% - depending on the model chosen.
Our pick of the range is the Audi A1 1.6 TDI Sport, which offers sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, high fuel economy, a low BiK tax rating and an extra touch of class within – when compared to the entry-level diesel model.
Although the French manufacturer has two superminis, we have gone for the Citroën DS3 over the C3 hatchback as it has that extra bit of style.
The stylish Citroën DS3 is priced from £12,495 and is available to customers in four main trim levels (DSign, DStyle, DSport and Ultra Prestige), with a few limited edition variations also on offer.
Entry-level models come well equipped, featuring cruise control, front fog lights, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and driver’s, front passenger’s, front lateral and curtain airbags.
Depending on the trim level chosen, the higher-spec models add air conditioning, double chrome exhaust pipe, Citroën eTouch Emergency and Assistance system, leather upholstery, alloy wheels, metallic paint, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and sat-nav.
Numerous engines are available to power the DS3, with the line-up comprising the VTi 81bhp, e-HDi 89bhp Airdream, VTi 118bhp, THP 153bhp and the e-HDi 113bhp Airdream. All engines are mated to a manual gearbox, while the VTi 118bhp unit is also available with an automatic transmission.
Models emit between 91g/km and 150g/km of CO2, resulting in a BiK tax rate of between 13% and 23%.
For low emissions combined with a generous amount of equipment, we suggest opting for the Citroën DS3 e-HDi 90 Airdream DStyle.
Hot on the heels of the Ford Focus in the UK car market is the Vauxhall Astra, which is priced from £12,995.
The Vauxhall Astra is available in a plethora of trim levels, which are: Expression, Design, Tech Line, Tech Line GT, Excite, Limited Edition, SRi and Excite.
Standard equipment across the Vauxhall Astra range includes air conditioning, CD player with MP3 format/stereo radio, aux-in socket, driver’s seat height adjuster, ESP, remote central locking and numerous airbags – including full-size curtain airbags.
Moving up the range brings desirable features such as alloy wheels, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, sat-nav system with seven-inch colour monitor, USB connection with iPod control, Bluetooth, leather-covered sports steering wheel, sports front seats and sports suspension.
Engine sizes for the Astra range from 1.3-litres to 2.0-litres, with petrol and diesel options available. The engine line-up now includes Vauxhall’s new 1.6-litre CDTi ‘whisper diesel’ unit – the company’s cleanest ever mid-size diesel.
Depending on the model chosen, the Vauxhall Astra will emit between 97g/km and 159g/km of CO2 emissions, with the most frugal engine being the new 109bhp 1.6 CDTi unit, returning average fuel economy of 76.3mpg.
With sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, high fuel economy and a good standard of kit, our pick of the range is the Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 109bhp ecoFLEX Tech Line S/S.
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.
With plenty of ‘Va Va Voom’, the Renault Clio fits in well with the other stylish superminis like the Citroën DS3 and the Peugeot 208.
The sleek Renault Clio is priced from £10,795 and is available in five trim levels: Expression, Expression+, Dynamique MediaNav, Dynamique S MediaNav and GT-Line.
As standard, models come fitted with LED daytime running lights, ESC, Hill Start Assist, ABS with EBD and a radio with Bluetooth, USB and Handsfree technology.
Trim levels from Expression+ upwards come with additional features such as air conditioning, alloy wheels, front fog lights, sat-nav, seven-inch touch-screen, rear parking sensors and a rear spoiler.
A range of petrol and diesel engines are available to power the Clio, with average fuel consumption ranging from 51.4mpg to a frugal 88.3mpg. CO2 emissions produced also vary from just 83g/km to 127g/km, placing the model in a VED tax band between ‘A’ and ‘D’.
Depending on the version chosen, the engine within the Renault Clio may feature Stop & Start technology.
Our pick of the range is the Renault Clio Expression+ ENERGY TCe 90 Stop & Start ECO. This model offers sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, high fuel economy, a good level of equipment and is one of the cheaper Clios in the range.
The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most popular small family cars of all time. Now in its seventh generation, the VW Golf has won the prestigious World Car of the Year Award twice, with the model the current holder of the title.
Priced from £16,775, the VW Golf is available in four trim levels: S, SE, BlueMotion and GT. Models are available in three- and five-door body styles.
Standard equipment is plentiful, with entry-levels models featuring air conditioning, Bluetooth, ESC, ABS, numerous airbags (including curtain airbags), Start/Stop function and a media system which features a 5.8-inch colour touch-screen, DAB radio, SD card reader, eight speakers and MP3 playback.
Depending on the specific model chosen, higher trim levels add features such as alloy wheels, sports suspension, rear roof spoiler, twin exhaust tailpipe, leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel and gear knob, cruise control, front fog lights, sat-nav and front and rear parking sensors.
A range of petrol and diesel engines are available to power the VW Golf. The petrol line-up consists of the 1.2-litre TSI and the 1.4-litre TSI, with some units able to be specified with a seven-speed DSG transmission.
The diesel engine range comprises the 1.6-litre TDI and the 2.0-litre TDI units, with numerous transmissions, including the seven-speed DSG ‘box, available.
CO2 emissions produced by the Golf range from 85g/km to 123g/km, with average fuel economy ranging from 53.3mpg to 88.3mpg.
Our choice of model is the VW Golf 1.6 TDI BlueMotion, which is a frugal runner, well equipped and falls under the VED tax band ‘A’.
The third-generation SEAT Leon has received plaudits UK-wide, with the small family car packed full of advanced technology and offering a good drive.
SEAT’s five-door hatchback version of the Leon is priced from £15,850 and is available in the following trim levels: S, SE and FR.
All models come packed with equipment, with even entry-level S versions featuring a host of advanced media technology.
Standard kit includes air conditioning, daytime running lights, numerous airbags, ESC with EBA, steering wheel-mounted audio & phone controls, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors and a media system.
The media system comprises a five-inch colour touch-screen, MP3-compatible CD player, aux-in and USB ports, SD card slot, Bluetooth and six speakers.
The upgraded Leon models come with additional features such as alloy wheels, leather steering wheel and gear knob, front fog lights with cornering function, cruise control, Hill hold control, LED taillights, twin exhaust pipe, front sports seats, sports suspension, SEAT Drive Profile and front and rear parking sensors.
A range of petrol and diesel engines are available for the SEAT Leon 5DR, with sizes ranging from 1.2-litres to 2.0-litres.
Depending on the version chosen, the Leon five-door will emit between 87g/km and 137g/km, which places the hatchback in a VED tax band between ‘A’ and ‘E’. In addition, the SEAT Leon returns average fuel economy between 47.1mpg and 85.6mpg.
With the best CO2 emissions and fuel economy figures, not to mention a high standard of equipment, we suggest the SEAT Leon 5DR 1.6 TDI Ecomotive SE version.
‘Sleek’ and ‘stylish’ are two words that can describe the Peugeot 208, with the supermini offering low CO2 emissions, high mpg figures and a generous level of equipment.
Priced from £9,995, the Peugeot 208 supermini is available in numerous trim levels, which are: Access, Access+, Active, Allure, XY (three-door only) and Feline (five-door only).
All models come equipped with cruise control, radio/CD player, daytime running lights, ‘follow me home’ lighting, ESP, ABS with EBD, remote central locking and numerous airbags.
Desirable equipment such as air conditioning, alloy wheels, tinted windows, rear parking aid, seven-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, sat-nav, steering wheel-mounted controls and a USB socket are available in the higher trim levels.
The Peugeot 208 is now a recipient of the company’s new range of PureTech three-cylinder petrol engines.
In addition to the three PureTech engines, the petrol range consists of two VTi units and one THP powerplant. Sizes range from 1.0-litres to 1.6-litres, while power output varies from 67bhp to 154bhp.
The diesel range consists of one HDi FAP engine and four e-HDi FAP versions, with sizes ranging from 1.4-litres to 1.6-litres and power outputs varying from 67bhp to 113bhp.
Depending on the version chosen, the Peugeot 208 will emit between 87g/km and 149g/km of CO2, while returning between 44.1mpg and 83.1mpg.
With sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, high mpg and a generous level of equipment, our choice is the Peugeot 208 PureTech 1.2 e-VTi Stop & Start EGC Allure three-door model.
The Honda Civic is a small and well-equipped car that offers sleek looks and efficient engines.
Honda’s small family car offering is priced from £16,995 and is available in four trim levels, which are S, SE Plus, SR and EX Plus.
Even the entry-level models come packed with equipment, with the base trim including alloy wheels, climate control, idle stop feature, driver’s seat height adjustment, LED daytime running lights, aux-in/USB connection and DAB radio.
Higher-spec models come with extra desirable features such as dual-zone climate control, cruise control, rear view parking camera, front fog lights, leather multi-function steering wheel and gear knob, front and rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, HDD sat-nav system and a panoramic glass roof.
Numerous petrol and diesel engines are available to power the Honda Civic. These include the 1.4 i-VTEC petrol, 1.6 i-DTEC diesel and the 1.8 i-VTEC petrol – available with either a manual gearbox or automatic transmission.
Depending on the model chosen, average fuel consumption will range from 44.1mpg to 78.5mpg, while CO2 emissions produced will vary from 94g/km to 150g/km. The model will fall under a VED tax band between ‘A’ and ‘F’.
With entry-level models coming so well-equipped, we recommend opting for the Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC model, which also offers sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and high fuel economy.
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.
The Volkswagen Polo is the third best-selling supermini in the UK, behind the ever-popular Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa models. With a new VW Polo out this year, the German marque will be looking to close the gap.
Starting from £11,100, the new VW Polo features a range of new and more efficient engines, in addition to a host of advanced technology. Trim levels consist of the entry-level S, S A/C, SE, SE Design, SEL and range-topping BlueGT.
All Volkswagen Polo’s this year come equipped with ESC, Hill Hold and an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System as standard. In addition, the latest generation of Volkswagen’s modular infotainment system has been introduced across the Polo range.
All VW Polo models in the UK offer Bluetooth telephone connectivity and USB media-in, while a sat-nav for the 6.5-inch full-colour touch-screen is available as an optional extra.
Another optional highlight is MirrorLink, which makes it possible for motorists to display and control certain approved Android smartphone apps on the infotainment screen.
A range of petrol and diesel engines are available, with sizes ranging from 1.0-litres to 1.4-litres and power output varying from 59bhp to 148bhp. Engines come mated with either a five-speed manual gearbox, a six-speed manual ‘box or a seven-speed DSG transmission.
Average fuel economy ranges from 57.6mpg to 83.1mpg, although figures for the VW Polo BlueGT have not yet been released. The model will emit between 88g/km and 110g/km of CO2.
As the SE trim has enough equipment for most drivers, we suggest going for the VW Polo 1.2 TSI 89bhp SE model.
The award-winning Skoda Octavia is one of the models pushing the Czech manufacturer to higher and higher sales and market share figures in the UK.
Priced from £16,310, the Octavia Hatch offers a good level of equipment, along with a frugal and pleasant drive.
Skoda’s popular Octavia Hatch is available in S, SE, SE Business, GreenLine III and Elegance trim levels, with the SE Business specification recently added to appeal to company car drivers.
Standard equipment across the range includes 16-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, touch-screen infotainment system, keyless entry, Lane Assistant, Intelligent Parking, leather steering wheel, daytime running lights, Bluetooth, air conditioning and much more.
Additional features on upgraded models include height-adjustable driver and passenger seats, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, dual-zone air conditioning, Alcantara/leather upholstery, multi-function steering wheel, larger alloys, sat-nav and cruise control.
Engines sizes available range from 1.2-litres to 2.0-litres, with both petrol and diesel versions offered. CO2 emissions range from 85g/km to 121g/km, placing the model in a VED tax band between ‘A’ and ‘D’.
The most frugal runner is the Skoda Octavia Hatch 1.6 TDI CR 109bhp DPF, which is our choice of the range. This version of the Octavia offers a good standard of equipment, emits just 85g/km of CO2 and returns average fuel economy of 88.3mpg.
The Toyota Yaris is experiencing a rise in popularity recently, with the manufacturer having to start operating a third production shift at its European Yaris factory in order to meet the high demand for the model.
Toyota revised the Yaris range for 2014, with prices starting from £10,895 and the model available in four trim levels: Active, Icon, Icon Plus and Trend.
Standard equipment across the range includes seven airbags, six-speaker audio system, aux-in and USB connection, audio controls on steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat and traction control.
Moving up to the higher-spec models brings features such as alloy wheels, Toyota Touch multimedia system, rear-view camera, Bluetooth, air conditioning, front fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, rear privacy glass and leather steering wheel trim.
The Toyota Yaris engine range consists of the 1.0-litre VVT-i, 1.3-litre VVT-i and the 1.4-litre D-4D. Transmissions include the five-speed manual, six-speed manual and Multidrive S gearbox.
Thanks to updates from Toyota, the Yaris 1.4 D-4D diesel model now offers sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, with this version emitting 99g/km of CO2 – down from 104g/km.
This means that the Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D Icon Plus is in band ‘A’ for road tax (VED) with no annual charge. In addition, this model’s average fuel economy has been improved from 72.4mpg to 74.3mgpg.
Those looking for a sub-100g/km CO2 Yaris should opt for the aforementioned D-4D Icon Plus version. Otherwise, we suggest the Toyota Yaris 1.3 VVT-i Icon with the six-speed manual transmission.
The latest-generation Vauxhall Insignia is a sleek and well-built model, now featuring more technology and a simplified trim range.
Priced from £16,279, the new Vauxhall Insignia costs nearly £2,000 less than its predecessor. The model is available in eight trim levels, ranging from Design to Elite, with versions appealing to both retail and fleet buyers.
Standard equipment is extensive, with all models receiving climate control, cruise control, DMB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, USB connection and aux-in socket, CD/MP3 player and stereo radio, leather-covered steering wheel, LED daytime running lights, ESC and numerous airbags.
Vauxhall has also introduced an all-new infotainment system to the Insignia, which incorporates an eight-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth-operated internet connectivity, 3D navigation, voice control and full smartphone compatibility.
Numerous petrol and diesel are available to power the Vauxhall Insignia, with sizes ranging from 1.4-litres to 2.0-litres and power outputs varying from 118bhp to 247bhp.
Depending on the model chosen, the Vauxhall Insignia will emit between 99g/km and 187g/km of CO2 emissions, while the car will also return average fuel economy of between 35.3mpg and 76.3mpg.
With sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, high fuel economy and packed with equipment, our choice of model is the Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi 138bhp ecoFLEX Design Start/Stop manual.
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.
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.
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!.
The award-winning Mazda 3 is certainly one of the best-looking small family cars available today, having scooped the prestigious Red Dot Design Award earlier this year.
Mazda released the all-new third-generation Mazda3 at the start of 2014, with the model priced from £16,695 and available in five trim levels. The trim levels are SE, SE Nav, SE-L, SE-L Nav and Sport Nav.
All models come well equipped, with standard kit including 16-inch alloy wheels, roof spoiler, daytime running lights, height-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, seven-inch colour touch-screen, USB/iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and air conditioning.
Models also come jam-packed with safety equipment, such as Hill Hold Assist, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Smart City Brake Support, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Secondary Collision Reduction and front, front side and curtain airbags.
Moving up the range brings features such as dual-zone climate control, privacy glass, rain-sensing front wipers, Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, heated front seats, Mazda navigation system, keyless entry system and a Heads-up Display (HUD) to the mix.
The Mazda 3 is available with numerous SKYACTIV-G petrol and SKYACTIV-D diesel units. The engine range is as follows: 99bhp 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G, 118bhp 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G, 163bhp 2.0-litre SKYACTIV-G and the 148bhp 2.2-litre SKYACTIV-D.
Depending on the model chosen, the Mazda3 will emit between 107g/km and 135g/km of CO2, which places the hatchback in a VED tax band between ‘B’ and ‘E’. In addition, the average fuel economy offered will range from 48.7mpg to 68.9mpg.
Unfortunately, no Mazda 3 model dips beneath the 100g/km CO2 emissions threshold. Therefore, we would opt for the Mazda3 Hatchback 2.2 SKYACTIV-D 148bhp SE model.
Sleek and stylish, with high fuel economy, low CO2 emissions and jam-packed with equipment; it can only be the Mazda 6.
The Mazda6 is priced from £19,595 and is available in three trim levels: SE, SE-L and Sport, with even entry-level models coming well equipped.
As standard, all Mazda6 models feature air conditioning, cruise control, front fog lights, daytime running lights, 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth, leather steering wheel, steering wheel audio controls, USB connectivity, aux-in jack, Hill Hold Assist and numerous airbags.
Moving up the trim levels brings additional kit such as dual-zone climate control, engine push button start, dusk-sensing lights, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, rain-sensing front wipers, smart keyless entry, Bi-Xenon headlights, reversing camera and heated front seats.
The engine range for the Mazda 6 consists of a 143bhp 2.0-litre petrol, 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel and a 173bhp 2.2-litre diesel. Depending on the version chosen, the engine will be paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission.
CO2 emissions produced range from 108g/km to 135g/km, while the model will return between 47.9mpg and 72.4mpg.
Our pick of the model range is the Mazda6 2.2 148bhp SE manual, for its low CO2 emissions, high fuel economy and enough kit for most drivers.
The Dacia Sandero is the cheapest model to purchase new in the UK, which makes it a serious player in the supermini segment.
Priced from just £5,995, the Dacia Sandero is able to undercut every one of its rivals with its spectacularly-low pricing structure.
Dacia’s popular Sandero model is available in three trim levels, which are Access, Ambiance and Laureate.
Standard equipment across the range includes ABS with EBA, ESC, power steering, daytime running lights, tinted windows and numerous airbags.
Higher trim levels add features such as remote central locking, electric front windows, aux input, Bluetooth connectivity, radio with CD player, USB connection for MP3 player, alloy wheels, leather steering wheel and gear knob, cruise control, front fog lights and air conditioning.
The Dacia Sandero engine line-up comprises the 1.2 16v 74bhp, TCe 89bhp and the dCi 89bhp. CO2 emissions range from 99g/km to 135g/km, placing the Sandero supermini in a VED band between ‘A’ and ‘E’.
Furthermore, average fuel consumption ranges from 48.7mpg to 74.3mpg, with the model carrying a BiK tax rating between 15% and 20%.
For those wanting the lowest price new car that money can buy, the obvious choice is the entry-level Dacia Sandero Access model.
However, for the extra equipment, we recommend the Dacia Sandero Laureate dCi 90. This model has sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, a good level of equipment, high fuel economy and is priced at under £10,000.
The award-winning Ford Mondeo is consistently one of the highest regarded large family cars in the UK, thanks to its blend of style and substance.
With Ford the best-selling car manufacturer in the UK, it comes as no surprise that the Mondeo, which is priced from £20,000, is one of the top large family cars.
The Ford Mondeo is available in four trim levels: Business Edition, Edge, Titanium X Business Edition and Titanium X Sport.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, touchscreen navigation system, LED daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, USB connectivity port and power folding door mirrors.
Higher-spec models add features such as Bluetooth with Voice Control System, ESP, air conditioning, cruise control, CD/radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED rear lights, ambient lighting, sports suspension, Bi-Xenon headlights and Alcantara/leather seats.
Numerous engines are available for use in the Mondeo, with sizes ranging from 1.6-litres to 2.2-litres. Depending on the version chosen, the Ford Mondeo will emit between 109g/km and 179g/km of CO2.
The power output of the car also varies depending on the unit powering it, ranging from 114bhp to 237bhp.
Our choice of the range is the Ford Mondeo 1.6 TDCi 115 ECO Edge Stop/Start, which offers the lowest CO2 emissions in the range and comes packed with desirable features.
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.
Excellent build quality is usually attributed to models produced by German manufacturers and the Volkswagen Passat is no exception.
Priced from £20,235, the VW Passat is now available in S, BlueMotion, Executive and Executive Style trim levels. Volkswagen added the latter two trim levels at the start of 2014 in order to boost the range, replacing the Highline, Sport and R-Line specifications.
Standard equipment for the Passat includes 16-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth telephone connection, MDI with USB and aux-in, multifunction steering wheel and a CD player with eight speakers.
Higher-spec models bring additional features such as touchscreen sat-nav, leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, sports suspension, larger alloys, Bi-Xenon headlights and front fog lights.
Engine sizes for the VW Passat range from 1.4-litres to 2.0-litres, with petrol and diesel versions available. Units come mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox, six-speed DSG transmission or a seven-speed DSG ‘box.
Depending on the version chosen, the model will emit between 109g/km and 144g/km of CO2, while returning average fuel economy of between 45.6mpg and 68.9mpg.
Although the BlueMotion has the lowest CO2 emissions and highest fuel economy, it does not come very well equipped. For this reason, we recommend the VW Passat 1.6 TDI 104bhp S six-speed manual instead.
Refined looks are at the forefront of the Toyota Avensis, which offers a pleasant drive and plenty of standard kit.
Four trim levels are available for the Toyota Avensis, with prices starting at £17,700. The trim levels are Active, Icon, Icon Business Edition and Excel.
Even base Avensis models come equipped with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, leather steering wheel, seven airbags, six-speaker radio/CD with USB and aux-in, daytime running lights and follow-me-home headlights.
Move up the trim levels to receive extra kit such as alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlights, front fog lamps, Toyota Touch 2 with Go Navigation, DAV radio, automatic air conditioning, cruise control, rear parking sensors and heated, leather seats.
Numerous petrol and diesel engines are available to power the Avensis, including a 1.8-litre petrol, 2.0-litre diesel and 2.2-litre diesel. Depending on the engine opted for, the unit will be mated to a manual or automatic transmission.
The Toyota Avensis will emit between 119g/km and 167g/km of CO2, while returning between 42.8 mpg and 62.8mpg.
With a host of desirable equipment and the lowest CO2 emissions of the range, we suggest going for the Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D Icon manual model.