| 6th November 2009
Although we often claim that cars are getting bigger – citing the ever expanding Volkswagen Golf and the Mini as two prime examples – there is a fast growing market for smaller cars, often known as City cars.City cars are the ultra-small cars you will often see zipping around town. Cheap to buy and run, easy to park and practical to drive around busy city environments the city car could be deemed the car of the future depending on who you ask.As the car market has struggled against recession and eco-warriors the city car has found greater appreciation from a wider audience. Whether it is one person who wants a small car for getting around the city easily, or a family where this may be the second or third car the city car meets the needs of the user. They have also created their own image of urban chic, highlighting the driver of any city car as a sensitive soul who is fun to be with!So let’s take a look at the top 10 city cars as we get closer to 2010.Top 10 City Cars For 2010Ford KaThe Ford Ka is the leader of the pack in the world of city cars, thanks to a long standing reputation for style and reliability gained over 10 years plus on the roads of the UK. As well as being good looking the Ford Ka is excellent to drive too, with a range of engines and trim levels to provide a city car that is as individual as, well, the individual.
Prices range from around £8,500 to £11,000 for the new Ford Ka, making it one of the more expensive city cars available, but quality is always worth paying for they say.Hyundai i10
Although the Government Scrappage Scheme has been a blessing for Hyundai, taking them up to become one of the top selling new car brands in the UK there is so much more to the Hyundai i10
than that. Admittedly prices for the Hyundai i10 city car start at around £7,500 but good equipment levels and a five year unlimited mileage warranty make the car stand out in the city car world in its own right.The Hyundai i10 has a longer wheelbase than some other city cars which helps both handling and interior space and at the price it is offered at is just a total bargain. No wonder new city car buyers are snapping them up. One word of advice on the Hyundai i10 – go for the manual gearbox if you can as the automatic transmission is not best suited to zipping in and out of city traffic. Fiat 500
Watch any movie involving Italy in the 50’s and 60’s and the little Fiat 500 was everywhere. Well the new Fiat 500
takes the adorable personality of the original and brings it right up to date, creating a city car for the 21st century. The Fiat 500 comes in a variety of models, including a convertible and super sporty Abarth version with plenty of power for such a small car.All models in the Fiat 500 range are great fun to drive though and are perhaps the ultimate statement in obvious cool right now. With lower specification models starting at around £8,500 the Fiat 500 sits around the middle of the city car price bracket and it also has the ability to live with a variety of typical UK environments rather than just in the city.Expect the Fiat 500 to be a top seller with new drivers as it has been chosen as the BSM fleet car, and we all know how people like to drive a car like the one they learnt in.Toyota iQ
The Toyota iQ
is one good looking car, city car or otherwise. It is also practical, with good amounts of useable space and sub 100g/km CO2 figures helping reduce running costs. However it is one of the most expensive city cars to buy, with prices ranging between about £9,500 and £15,000.At prices like that the Toyota iQ really needs to be something very special and admittedly the top quality interior trim and fitments are nice to live with. Mechanically the Toyota iQ also impresses, with a 1.0 litre engine delivering a powerful-feeling 67bhp through a smooth gearbox.If the Toyota iQ is going to be used just as a city car – that is in a busy city environment – then the price can be justified for some owners who appreciate the finer things in life. However most people may feel that they can buy a larger car for the same money or get something more practical for less.Mitsubishi i
Japanese manufacturers have long been aware of the benefits city cars can bring. With so little space in parts of Japan manufacturers have long been creating tiny cars to meet the specific demands of the country. The Mitsubishi i is a prime example of what a typical city car would be in Japan – tiny on the outside but with more space than you can imagine inside and with love it or loathe it styling.Like the Toyota the Mitsubishi i is not a cheap city car, coming in at around £9,500, and is really best suited to a full-time city lifestyle rather than occasional visits mixed in with regular dual carriageway or motorway work, where the little Mitsubishi is far removed from its ideal environment.Citroen C1 – Peugeot 107 – Toyota Aygo
These are all basically the same car except for cosmetic differences so have been categorised together here.The Peugeot 107 is arguably the best looking of the bunch and also provides the best fuel economy figures. All three are more than adequate city cars though and it will come down to personal preference to decide which one of the three to choose. The Toyota Aygo has a real charm to its styling while the Citroen C1 feels remarkably French, so it is down to which one takes the fancy.Smart ForTwo
The Smart Car was seen as one of the leading exponents of city car design, bringing innovation and design ideas to a market that was previously dominated by Japanese manufacturers.The Smart ForTwo
is a little bigger than the original Smartcar but is still a nifty mover around the city streets, diving into gaps others may forgo. It still faces difficulties on the motorways though, where its diminutive size leaves it feeling a little vulnerable. It is a true city car though, which is what it is designed to be, so if that is where it will spend most of its time the Smart ForTwo will prove to be an excellent choice. Prices start at around £7,000 which is less than most people imagine, offering style and verve for not very much money.Fiat Panda
The Fiat Panda
has been around for many years, starting life as a very practical, almost utilitarian vehicle. It is still relatively basic and seems in some ways to have been left behind by some more modern designs, its sister model the Fiat 500 being one of them. If a purely practical city car is what is needed though then the Fiat Panda fits the bill. It may be simple, boxy and cheap but those can all be seen as benefits in the city.So there you have it, the top 10 city cars for 2010, at least at the moment. New city cars will come and some will go, but this should act as a good starting point for anyone considering buying a city car.