You’ll see more superminis on UK roads than any other car, with new superminis topping the best sellers every month. The Fiesta is Britain's best-selling new car, year on year leading the pack.
Just about every taste and requirement is catered for with the vast range of superminis on offer and each model usually offers a wide spectrum of engine options and equipment. Whether you’re looking for a super-efficient, economical run-around that offers cheap running costs or a nippy, sporty, eye-catching car you won’t be disappointed.
So here are our top 5 Superminis for 2017:
Its Britain’s best-selling car for a reason, its fun to drive and with the latest version you’ll find more refinement, tech and equipment than ever before. In response to the ever increasing competition from rivals like the VW Polo and the Seat Ibiza, Ford has gone to great lengths to stay ahead of the pack.
Whilst there are some changes to the exterior of the latest Fiesta it’s inside the car where Ford has clearly concentrated their efforts. Firstly there’s more room inside and what will strike you instantly is a much more upmarket feel and stylish looking dash with an infotainment system the centre piece (6.5 inch screen on entry-level models and 8 inch on higher models).
Ford has always offered a good selection of models and engines with the Fiesta but with their collaboration with premium audio manufacturer ‘B&O Play’ you’ll find a new twist to the model range.
The Fiesta range is kicked off with the familiar Style model which features 15 inch steel wheels, projector headlights, daytime running lights, air con, electric front windows, speed limiter, 4.2 inch screen with AM/FM Radio plus USB and Bluetooth support.
You get a choice of two engines with the Style model, the diesel 1.5 TDCi (85PS) (Diesel) with Start/Stop or the petrol 1.1L Ti-VCT (70PS) with Start/Stop. The petrol engine might be a tad sluggish for some (0-62mph in 14.9 seconds) and the diesel models beats it’s all ends up (although it costs approx. £2000 more). The diesel should be the preferred choice for anyone clocking up a lot of mileage. It offers up to 88mpg and emissions as low as 82g/km.
Next in the line-up is the Zetec model which we think should be the preferred choice for a lot of people. Its adds a lot of extra tech and equipment to the Style model including 15 inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, a 6.5 inch touchscreen with DAB radio, Ford SYNC, emergency assistance, USB, Bluetooth, plus Apple Airplay and Android Auto support.
The Zetec offers a bigger engine line-up too you get the same 1.5 diesel, a slightly more powerful 1.1L Ti-VCT (80PS) petrol engine and the 1.0 ecoboost unit with manual or automatic transmission. The ecoboost engine was a lorded as a triumph of modern technology when it was first introduced by Ford and remains an excellent option. In short the ecoboost petrol option is a worthy alternative to diesels offering low emissions of just 97g/km and a fuel economy of up to 66mpg (combined), despite this it still performs well pulling you from 0-62mph as quickly as 10.5 seconds.
Next up is Zetec B&O model which adds to the Zetec model a special edition mint or copper B&O paint and flashes of the same colour inside plus unique B&O design touches and contrast stitching. There’s also the addition of a large 8 inch touchscreen, navigation system, a premium B&O sound system with 10 speakers/360 sound and DSP (digital sound processor). The engine range available is the same as the Zetec model.
Next up is the Titanium model offering the addition of 16 inch alloy wheels, power folding door mirrors, rear privacy glass, cruise control, keyless, start button, traffic sign recognition, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.
The Titanium offers a wider engine choice including a more powerful ecoboost petrol engine (125PS).
Next is the Titanium B&O model with the same paint, design and premium audio system features as the Zetec B&O. The Titanium X model also gets the B&O premium audio system and digital sound processor plus partial leather/heated front seats, rear electric windows (on five door models), a reversing camera and Ford’s KeyFree system.
Next up is the ST-Line model available with 3 different ecoboost engines; 100, 125 and 140PS options, the 100PS engine is available with manual or automatic transmission and there is also a 1.5 diesel engine.
The ST-Line features 17 inch alloy wheels, sports suspension and ST-Line unique styling/badges including skirts and chrome exhaust. Inside the front seats, steering wheel, gear knob and pedals get sports styling with dashes of the ST-Line branding again.
The ST-Line X model adds the following to the ST Line model: rear privacy glass, navigation system, partial leather seats, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, traffic sign recognition and driver alert.
The Vignale is the top of the range model with all the bells and whistle but pricey for a supermini at around £20,000. You get all the best features of lower models plus 17 inch alloy wheels, panoramic roof, leather heated seats, a rear view camera and parking sensors, there also unique luxury Vignale interior and exterior styling features.
The Zetec model has plenty of equipment and tech as standard, go for the 1.0 ecoboost engine and keep your running costs very low.
Fantastic fun to drive, new model has had massive interior facelift and all the better for it.
Although Ford have updated the exterior styling it still doesn’t look as sharp as some rival superminis. Upper models are a bit pricey for supermini class.
The Seat Ibiza is a great looking, spacious supermini that comes at a reasonable price. The vehicle boats a strong sculpted body which makes for a head-turning supermini and whether it was deliberate at the outset or not the Ibiza has found itself very popular with the younger demographic. Seat have latched onto this and you’ll find plenty of gadgets and tech readily available across the range. Large touchscreens, phone mirroring and Beats audio are amongst the available features that will appeal to the younger end of the car buying audience.
If you’re hung up on badges and not 100% sure about the Seat brand you should know that the Ibiza is not just a superficial eye-catcher, there’s plenty to like and it’s not just for young people either. One thing all badge lovers should know is that the platform this latest Ibiza model is built on is a lighter version of what you’ll find in the latest Volkswagens.
Inside the Ibiza there are improvements and Seat have definitely made an effort to move away from a cheap, hard plastic feel although it’s not a complete success and the car still lacks the refinement you’ll find inside of some of its rivals. However when we move up the range with impressive tech inside, fronted by the large capacitive touchscreen you’ll forgive Seat for not completely doing away with hard plastic finish on the doors and top of the dashboard.
If you need space you also be on a winner with the Ibiza as it’s one of the more spacious superminis around with generous head and leg room in the front and back. You also get 355 litres of boot space which is very generous for this class of vehicle.
The ride is good too! It’s one of the smoother superminis on the roads today and handling is very impressive, while it may not be as much fun to drive as a Fiesta it comes pretty close.
The entry-level S model gives you the basics including air con, front electric windows, a 5 inch black and white touchscreen with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth plus USB/AUX support. It also includes ‘Front Assist’ technology which keeps an eye out front for you and warns if you get too close to the vehicle in front and can even apply the brakes for you. You stuck with just the one engine the 1.0 MPI (75 PS) petrol engine its economical but feels a tad sluggish. We should probably mention too that all the engines across the range are petrol units, so if a diesel is a must this isn’t going to be for you.
The SE model is the next model up. Here you get the option of a much better (in our opinion) 1.0 TSI 95 PS engine that is cleaner than the 1.0 MPI and out-performs it by some distance, it just feels a whole lot more responsive.
Equipment-wise you get a lot more with the addition of alloy wheels, front fog lights, a colour touchscreen with ‘Media System Touch’, leather steering wheel and gear knob and split folding rear seats.
Next up is the FR model, we get the choice of two 1.0 TSI petrol engines a 95PS or a 125 PS version. The 95PS unit has enough power but the 125PS is noticeable pokier and can get you from 0-62mph in little over 9 seconds plus there’s very little difference in fuel economy and emissions.
As well as the FR sporty styling (flat bottomed FR steering wheel, FR sports seats, twin exhausts and FR rear bumpers) you get the addition of 17 inch alloy wheels, electric adjustable/folding and heated door mirrors, rear tinted windows and the infotainment system is ‘the works’ with a large 8 inch colour screen, sat nav, voice recognition, DAB radio/CD player, Mirror Link, Apple Play and Android Auto.
For young people the FR model with the nippier 125PS engine is must have, it delivers on the looks, styling and you’ve all the tech and gadget requirements covered too.
The last of the line-up is the Xcellence, Seat tone it down a little bit here and drop the sporty styling for more of an emphasis on comfort and practicality with additions like dual zone climate control, alcantara upholstery, front centre armrest, and additional storage options inside the vehicle. Engine-wise we’re back to the tamer 1.0 MSI and the 1.0 TSI (95PS) options.
Younger buyers are going to want the FR model with the nipper 125PS engine.
Great looking supermini, spacious, fun to drive and affordable.
Entry-level model doesn’t offer enough, no diesel engines.
The Skoda Fabia is one of the cheapest superminis on the market today and whilst at first glance it may not be the best looking small car there’s a whole lot to like with a large range of models and engines on offer and the price point.
Inside the Fabia won’t blow you away with its aesthetics but you a get tidy functional dash and there’s a solid feel to it. All models include an infotainment system, with higher trim-levels equipped with a larger screen.
Let’s be clear about one thing, the stigma of owning a Skoda and all the tongue in cheek jokes are a thing of the past and the Fabia has played a key part in elevating Skoda’s reputation.
The Fabia is a very solid vehicle, with decent space inside and a boot offering 330 litres of space which is about as big as you’ll get in this class of vehicle, it’s trump card is the range of economical engines.
The range consists of the S, SE, SE L, a sporty ‘Monte Carlo’ model and the special ‘Colour Edition’. We think most people might want to skip the S model and look the SE or SE-L models which should offer plenty, engine-wise there’s plenty of petrol and diesel offerings but we like the 1.0 TSI (95PS) petrol engine, its nippy enough (0-62mph is about 10 seconds) but still offers great fuel economy.
The SE model includes alloy wheels with anti-theft bolts, air con, front electric windows, rear parking sensors, a 6.5 inch touchscreen, Bolero radio, Arkamys sound system, front assist, speed limiter, smartlink+, leather steering wheel with radio and telephone mounted controls.
The SE-L model adds the following to the SE model: 16 inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, cruise control, climate control air con and keyless start/stop.
The SE model with 1.0 TSI (95PS) engine offers enough equipment and is nippy enough whilst still being very economical.
One of the cheapest superminis available, economical engines, big boot for class, solid vehicle.
Not the best-looking of the bunch.
The Renault Clio has gradually evolved into one of the more stylish looking superminis available today with its bold looks. Whilst it may not excel in any one particular area what you get is a very good all round small car with plenty of equipment (assuming you skip the entry-level model and a good choice of engines. A common theme in the supermini sector is fuel economy and the Clio doesn’t disappoint with some very efficient engines, especially if you choose one of the ‘Eco’ options. At the other end of the spectrum is the Renault Sport hot hatch, a particular favourite of ours and one of the best of its kind. If you’re in the market for a speedy hot hatch you need to put the Renault Sport on your short list.
Despite the sleeker styling of the latest model, Renault have still managed to eke-out a little more space inside the cabin than the previous model, there’s a little bit more leg room than you might expect, although for passengers in the back the Clio still doesn’t quite to some of its rivals other superminis.
The model range consists of 6 trim-levels, the Expression, Play, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav, Signature Nav and the Renault Sport.
The entry-level model, the Expression model features cruise control, DAB radio, electric front windows, keyless entry and push button start. For us it just doesn’t match up well to the competition lacking some basic equipment and only offering a 1.2 engine that is a bit sluggish. We think most people will want to skip the Expression AND the Play model and look at some of the better equipped models in the range.
The Dynamique Nav is where the model range starts to get a bit more interesting, as we see the tech and gadgets that people expect in a vehicle in 2017. The model includes Renault’s MediaNav touchscreen with Arkamys sound system, DAB radio/CD player, 3D sound and Bluetooth/USB/AUX support, you also get sat nav with traffic updates. Economy is a strong point here too as you have the choice of two Eco engines. The dCi 90 Eco diesel engine is our choice, it offers a fuel economy of up to 88mpg (combined) and super-low CO2 emissions of 82g/km plus it feels nippy enough for around town travel or doesn’t feel strained on the motorway.
The Dynamic S Nav and Signature Nav models add some more equipment like rear electric windows and automatic climate control but for some reason they lack the option of of the ECO engines. We you can do without a few extra bells and whistles we think the Dynamique Nav is the way to go.
The Renault Sport is the hot hatch version and a favourite of ours; we’ll visit this model in more detail in our upcoming top 5 Hot Hatches review. But as already mentioned this really needs to be on your shortlist if you’re in the market for a hot hatch.
The Dynamique Nav model with the Eco diesel engine offers super-low running costs and the equipment levels most people will be more than happy with.
Bold, eye-catching design, extremely economical and clean ECO engines.
Lacks refinement inside, entry-level model doesn’t compete well with rivals.
If there was a prize for the most-improved supermini this year then we’d have to give it to the Micra. For the last few years it appears Nissan had neglected the Micra and let it fall behind rivals like the Fiesta and Polo, instead putting all its efforts it seemed into their flagship Crossover the Qashqai. But with this latest model we can see Nissan really mean business.
The outside design of the new Micra has undergone a transformation and looks an infinitely more handsome vehicle, whilst inside there’s been a major effort to offer a level of refinement that’s up there with the best of the superminis. The cheap hard plastic feel has largely been replaced by a soft touch finish, you’ll find an infotainment system/touchscreen (Acenta trim-level upwards) and even some faux leather in upper trim-levels.
Engine-wise there’s 1.0 petrol, a the more powerful IG-T 90 0.9 turbo petrol engine or a 1.5 dCi diesel. We actually prefer the petrol units, they’re clean and offers good fuel economy, if you stretch your budget to an additional £700 or so go for the turbo.
The Visia is the entry-level model, equipment levels here are similar to the Clio and lacking some basic requirements. You have to upgrade to to the Visa+ to get air con for example.
We like the Acenta model but if you’re on a tight budget you may want to look at alternatives like the Skoda Fabia that will offer more equipment for the less but lacks the refinement of the Micra. You get a good level of equipment and gadgets on the Acenta including front fog lights, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, front electric windows, air con, cruise control, stop/start plus an infotainment systems with 7 inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB, Smartphone App integration and Apple CarPlay
The top-end model the N-Connecta and Tekna models up the ante with features like alloy wheels, NissanConnect, automatic air con and on the Tekna there’s a reversing camera and Bose audio system.
The Acenta model with the turbo petrol engine.
Huge improvement on previous model, great looks, refined inside.
Entry-level models not equipped well enough.