Top 10: Best Used City Cars

19th Oct 2020

By Nathan Dale

Why buy a used city car?

With a combined population of over 15 million people*, the UK's top five cities comfortably account for over 20% of the population within the whole country! And that's just five cities!

The problem with highly populated cities is the resulting congestion that forms part and parcel with them. Narrow gaps in traffic and tight parking spaces are only two of the hurdles motorists encounter in Britain's cities everyday. It's no wonder then why we see so many city cars on the roads everyday.

There's certainly plenty of choice for those who are looking for a used city car for their daily commute, but how do you know which ones are the best? Fear not, we have you covered with 10 of the finest used models available.

Peugeot 108

Peugeot 108 

The Peugeot 108 is the successor to the popular 107 and adds a more grown-up element for those who want a city car that is just as capable in the depths of thick traffic as it is in the outer reaches of the suburbs.

The 108 is surprisingly well-equipped too; opt for the 'Allure' trim and you get Apple CarPlay, air conditioning, Bluetooth, and DAB radio. You can opt between a 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre petrol engine, both of which are peppy enough to make decent progress when required. It's the low fuel consumption and emissions that take centre-stage with the 108 though.

Because the 108 was never a majorly expensive car when it was released, there is a number of very reasonably priced used examples on the market for you to choose from.

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Ford KA

Ford Ka

The humble Ford KA used to be one of the most common sights on Britain's roads. 'Used to be' is the key term there; and that's because the majority of buyers now opt for the best-selling car in the country, the Ford Fiesta. However, although it isn't as popular as its larger sibling, the Ford KA remains an excellent choice for those who want something smaller and better suited to the urban jungle.

The little KA is a fantastic all-rounder; it's fun to drive, efficient, safe, and well-equipped in every trim level.

We're big fans of the 'Zetec', which offers necessities such as alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth and Stop Start. The 1.2-litre petrol engine is the most common and provides plenty of flexibility on the daily commute.

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Nissan Micra

Nissan Micra

Would you believe us if we told you that the Nissan Micra has been around since the early 1980s? Although, it's easy to see why, because the Micra has always represented reliable motoring for a very reasonable outlay. Better yet, they've always driven well and offered plenty of ownership satisfaction.

Those who remember the original Micra will notice that the latest generations are much larger than their predecessors, but that doesn't mean the latest Micra has any issue dealing with the city; in fact, Nissan have only improved on the formula.

With five doors, a spacious interior, a host of driving aids, and a frugal selection of engines, the Micra is one of the best modern city cars you can currently buy. 

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Abarth 595

Abarth 595

A city car doesn't have to be completely sensible, which is why we're placing the Abarth 595 on this list. Known for its characterful design and fun drive, the Fiat 500 on which the Abarth is based on is already a popular city car. So, add bolder exterior features, and a potent engine that has a raucous exhaust note, and you find yourself with a vehicle that is incredibly good fun!

Under the bonnet is a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine that helps shift the 595 from still to 62 mph in under 8 seconds (under 7 seconds if you go for the more powerful variant). Despite the punchy engine, the 595 can return up to 43 mpg on a combined cycle.

The compact nature of the Abarth pairs nicely with the engine, meaning gaps in traffic can be exploited with ease.

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Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10

Hyundai have firmly established themselves in the past decade as a car manufacturer that builds quality cars that represent excellent value for money. The little Hyundai i10 city car is no exception, offering grown up manners in a compact package that is a genuine joy to drive around the town.

Opt for a 1.0-litre petrol engined i10 and you will only have to pay £20 annual road tax, which rises to a dizzying £30 if you opt for the more sprightly 1.2-litre engine. A combined cycle of up to 55 mpg is possible, which makes the i10 very affordable to run on a monthly basis.

Spec is pretty good too, opt for the mid-range 'SE' trim and you get air conditioning, cruise control, and electric windows all-around. In conclusion, the i10 is a fine performer and offers excellent value on the used car market.

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Vauxhall ADAM

Vauxhall ADAM

City cars tend to have bags of character, what with their wide range of colour choices and unique visual features. However, Vauxhall decided to go all-in when they released the fashionable ADAM back in 2013, because they offered customers one million possibilities when specifying their particular car. That's a number we still struggle to fathom; at least you won't have any problem finding an example that stands out!

The ADAM even boasts a bespoke interior and a fair wedge of practicality if the lairy number of possible configurations wasn't enough to whet the appetite. And being a Vauxhall, the ADAM is generously equipped.

For example, the base model 'Jam' comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, and DAB radio as standard! If you want a city car that is absolutely brimming with character and quirky features, you genuinely can't beat the Vauxhall ADAM.

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Renault Twingo

Renault Twingo

Renault took a very interesting turn with the latest generation of Twingo, because they opted to stick the engine underneath the boot and make it rear-wheel drive. Because the engine is located in the back, the turning circle is much tighter and there is less noise intrusion into the cabin; this makes for a relaxing driving experience.

There are two engines to choose from; a turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol engine and an equally small 1.0-litre engine, both of which provide enough power to quickly cover ground in the big city.

The high roof-line means there is a decent amount of headroom inside, while the boot is reasonably sized at 188 litres with the seats up. Oh, and free road tax too.

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Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto in white

Kia, the South-Korean brand that is best-known for offering an unbeatable 7-year warranty with all of their cars (which can be passed onto the next owner) also happens to make a brilliant city car in the form of the Picanto. Now in its third generation, the Picanto has become a very desirable city car because of its mature driving manners and excellent efficiency.

No matter which specification you opt for, the Picanto has everything you need. The base spec '1' has front electric windows, aux and usb port, Hill-start Assist Control, and plenty of safety equipment.

We're very big fans of the higher spec 'GT-Line' though, which boasts a purposeful body kit, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED lights and a 7-inch touchscreen display that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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SEAT are owned by Volkswagen, and Volkswagen created the very popular 'up!' city-car. So, we doubt you'll be surprised when we tell you that the SEAT Mii is the same car underneath. Better yet, the SEAT retailed at a lower price compared to the up! when it was new, which now translates to a bargain on the used car market.

Because the platform for the Mii was borrowed from Volkswagen, you get a durable interior design that wouldn't look out of place on a higher-end vehicle, while the drive itself is very composed and enjoyable.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine is never going to win any drag races, but with low-emissions and over 55 mpg achievable on a combined cycle, ask yourself: who is the real winner here?

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Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo

Introduced alongside the Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 back in 2005 (because they each co-developed the platform), the Toyota Aygo is among the most popular city cars currently on the market. Reliability, everyday usability, and super-reasonable running costs; it's easy to see why the Aygo has sold so well.

When driving, the Aygo feels refined and very sure-footed, which is greatly appreciated on those occasions when you leave the town and head for the open road. There's plenty of toys to enjoy too; opt for the 'X-Play' and you get DAB radio, Reversing Camera, and Bluetooth connectivity.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine is lively enough, making it easy to take advantage of gaps that appear in the city traffic. Established city cars don't come much better than this, making the Aygo well worth a consideration.

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Find your perfect used city car

Because a large number of manufacturers are creating brilliant city cars, it can make the buying decision fraught with difficulty. However, choose any of the cars on the list above and you can be confident you're investing in one of the best choices currently available on the market.

At Evans Halshaw, we stock all of the above models plus a lot more in our extensive inventory of used cars.

*statistics correct as of January 2020