Looking for a small car on the new 69 plate? …. Here are our top 5 recommended small cars:
2019 Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s best-selling new car for a good reason. It rightly has the reputation for being the best small car to drive and features something for everyone from frugal engines including the multi-award winning 1.0 Ecoboost petrol engine to sporty ST-Line models and the full-blown ST hot hatch models.
The popular option is the 1.0 Ecoboost petrol which was something of a revelation when it was first introduced by Ford, although we recommend skipping the least powerful/entry-level Ecoboost as it can feel a little underpowered especially on motorways and start your research at the 99bhp Ecoboost and higher.
There’s a good range of trim-levels too and the Fiesta range has been expanded further with the Crossover/SUV inspired Active and Active X models. The new Active models take everything that’s great about the Fiesta and add a higher driving position, jacked-up/more rugged suspension, SUV-like exterior styling and driving modes like ‘Slippery’ to cope with more demanding driving conditions.
The latest Fiesta is definitely the smartest looking model to date. Inside the latest Fiesta models look cleaner (partly due to some controls are now built into the infotainment system), it looks a whole lot classier too. Lower grade models feature a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring Ford’s Sync3 platform, move up the model range and you get a larger 8-inch screen/infotainment system.
We think the Titanium 1.0T EcoBoost (100PS) engine is a great pick. Titanium models feature 16-inch alloy wheels, power folding/electrically adjustable door mirrors and rear privacy glass.
Inside you get the larger 8-inch infotainment system with Ford SYNC 3 Navigation System, DAB radio, voice control, Bluetooth and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, For comfort to keep the temperature exactly to your liking there’s electronic automatic temperature control (EATC).
Titanium models also feature plenty of safety tech and driver aids including keyless start/power start button, a lane-keeping assistant and lane exit alert, cruise control with speed limiter, traffic sign recognition, driver alert, automatic headlights and automatic windscreen wipers.
You can compare a full range of Fiesta models and the latest deals here
2019 Vauxhall Corsa
The latest Vauxhall Corsa has been overhauled, re-tuned and redesigned; the exterior restyling is good but not so drastic as to make this latest model unrecognisable as the popular Corsa that is only surpassed in sales by the Fiesta. Vauxhall say the handling and suspension has been retuned and upgraded ‘specifically’ to cope with UK roads and driving conditions.
If you are looking at the VX Line sporty model it should be noted though that the suspension is stiffened-up significantly and you could be in for a bumpy experience on less well-maintained roads.
The main bulk of engines are petrol units, with 1.0, 1.3 and 1.4 litre turbocharged engines available. The 1.0 litre models keep running costs low and are excellent runners too. The new re-tuned handling and suspension only adds to a remarkably quiet and comfortable ride for a small car. Even on motorways a 1.0 litre Corsa is excellent and you could be forgiven for thinking you are a cruising in a much larger vehicle as cabin noise is minimal and its that’s smooth.
The interior of the latest Corsa has also come on leaps and bounds, it moves in the same direction as many of its rivals with a cleaner dashboard and the touchscreen infotainment system operating more functions.
Our recommendation is to skip the entry-level Active model which is tad basic. Higher-grade models include a 7-inch colour touchscreen with DAB radio and smartphone integration so you can use you’re your favourite apps and sat nav program via the infotainment system.
The Corsa is competitively priced, if you are already are a fan of the Corsa you can’t fail to be impressed with the new updates and improvements. The 1.0 litre petrol engine is a very pleasant surprise and equipment levels on higher-grade models are competitive with rival cars in this segment.
Compare all 2019 new Vauxhall Corsa models and deals here
Built in the UK, the 2019 Mini builds on the iconic models refinement and of course there are plenty of options and variations. There’s a 3 or 5 door hatchback, an eye-catching convertible, the Mini Cooper, the Clubman with iconic split rear doors or the biggest model in the range, the Countryman which provides a near Crossover experience with exterior styling to match.
Purchase a Mini and you are getting BMW refinement and engineering, the Mini boasts some nippy engine options, it’s fun to drive (less so if you buy the bigger Countryman model). You are sat low and it almost has the feel of flinging a go-kart around corners, especially on quicker models. There’s also a new Mini Electric model which has been much anticipated.
Inside the Mini is classy, the centre piece of the dash is the 6.5-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and Bluetooth (standard on all models). The infotainment screen sits inside a circular frame, which pays homage to the original Mini. The latest model offers a tad more head and leg room in the front and for rear passengers too.
The Mini has so much appeal, it offers funky exterior designs, a fun driving experience, a wide choice of engines from frugal low running costs to nippier models and of course there is BMW’s quality, which is clear to see.
Compare 2019 Mini models and latest deals here
2019 VW Polo
This latest edition of the VW Polo edges closes to its bigger brother the Golf, it’s a bigger and offers more room inside, now only available as a 5-door model.
There are plenty of engine options, the big surprise is the 1.0 TSI 95 turbocharged petrol, it may be the low powered option but performs well around town and even on motorways it holds it own, cabin noise is minimal, in fact the VW Polo is up there with best in class in this regard. The entry-level diesel by comparison feels sluggish and just doesn’t match up, 9 out of 10 new Polo’s sold in the UK are expected to be petrol models so understandably VW’s concentration is not on the diesel market.
Whilst the Polo may not be as much fun to drive as the Fiesta and it faces stiff competition from other vehicles like the Seat Ibiza which shares the same platform is does provide a very solid, comfortable, quiet drive. It feels extremely refined as you’d expect from a Volkswagen which sets it apart from most of the competition and will make it the perfect small car for many people.
Inside the Polo is refined and build quality is excellent, blowing a lot of competition about of the water. All models come as standard with an 8-inch infotainment system with Bluetooth and DAB radio whilst higher grade models get sat nav. If you go for a model without sat nav you have the option of smartphone integration and the ability to use your favourite sat nav app with the infotainment system. The VW infotainment platform is widely considered one of the best in the segment.
You can compare all 2019 VW Polo models and deals here
2019 Renault Clio
Renault has concentrated heavily on interior improvements and new tech with latest 2019 Clio model with exterior looks getting minor changes. Some hard-plastic materials have been replaced with softer touch finishes and there is some ambient lighting options, the overall feel inside puts the Clio up there with the VW Polo.
The first thing that hits you on the inside of the new Clio on higher grade models is the floating 9.3-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, which is the centre piece of the dashboard. Included are Bluetooth, DAB radio plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard for smartphone integration. There are also options like a premium Bose Sound System for those that take sound quality seriously.
There’s more room inside the new Clio than the outgoing model and rear passengers also get more leg room, partly due to redesigned front seats that free up some space.
One of Renault’s aims was to up the level of tech and driver aids. There’s a lane-departure warning system as standard and other options like lane-keeping aid and radar-guided cruise control, in fact a fully equipped new Clio is semi-autonomous in traffic jams and motorway driving conditions.
Engine-wise there are three petrol options and a single diesel option, out pick is the 1.0 litre TCe 100 petrol which offers low running costs yet feels refined and nippy enough. There’s also the promise of a hybrid option coming in 2020.
You can compare all Renault Clio models and deals here