3. Kia Picanto
Just like its cousin, the Hyundai i10, the Kia Picanto has grown up significantly since it first graced our roads.
The latest car is certainly better looking than its predecessors, but is also finished better inside and gains a decent level of standard equipment. It even scores fairly well on the ride and handling front, with the Picanto dealing with the scarred British roads better than some.
Admittedly, its 66bhp 1.0-litre engine does feel a bit weedy at times, but the larger 1.2-litre four-pot is a far more willing workhorse; and at the top of the engine range, meanwhile, the car’s 1.0-litre turbocharged three-pot engine is a trump card that not even the related Hyundai can play. In fact, there’s little that separates the Picanto from the i10 save their looks, equipment, that engine, and the fact the Kia’s boot is slightly smaller. If you like what you see, by all means pick the Kia.
4. Volkswagen Up
The Up may be the smallest car on offer in the Volkswagen range, but it doesn’t miss out on all the hallmarks that the marque is renowned for. It may not be revolutionary in the segment, but the Up beats its closest rivals on finish and outright desirability.
That said, a recent rationalisation of its engine line-up means it’s no longer our go-to pick of the segment. As far as its petrol engines are concerned the slightly gutless 59bhp three-pot that we always felt was the weakest performer in the range is now the only combustion engine available – save that in the go-faster Up GTI, which is a slightly different kettle of fish. Speaking of, with its punchy 113bhp turbocharged three-pot under the bonnet and endearing handling, this sportier strain of city car has a strong claim for not only being the driver’s choice in the segment, although it’s pricier too..
As with its cousins from Seat and Skoda, the Up is also available in all-electric guise. But while battery power suits the dinky city car well, its elevated price doesn’t make it as accessible as you might think a city car should be (although the e-Up is cheaper than it used to be, it’s still a £20k car).
5. Skoda Citigo-e iV
No longer is the Citigo the cheapest member of the Volkswagen Group triumvirate. This smallest of Skodas is now exclusively available as an electric vehicle, and calls on a 36.8kW battery to provide it with up to 170 miles of range on the WLTP test cycle; which turns out to be more like 120 miles in mixed real-world use.