Best city cars for £7500

Dan Powell

Written by

Dan Powell

Fiat 500 Side

What is the best city car in the UK? We’ve searched our latest cars for sale to reveal the best and cheapest used city cars for value, comfort and fuel economy.

How much should a good city car cost? We think you can find a comfortable, safe and economical small used car in the UK with a budget of £7500. What’s more, you’ll get a huge choice of petrol and diesel engines, with a manual or automatic gearbox. 

How have we done this? Our team of experts have been busy searching heycar to find the top 10 pint-sized bargains. These cars are designed to excel in small city streets, with their nimble handling and compact size making them easy to use and park. What’s more, all of these cars are good for fuel consumption and filled with lots of useful equipment as standard. 

Hyundai i10

Year launched: 2014

Hyundai i10  frontright exterior

The Hyundai i10 is a city car that majors on value and quality. All versions are easy to drive, generously equipped and have enough room to carry four adults. Fuel costs are cheap, too, thanks to the i10’s good range of petrol engines that return around 45mpg. 

The i10 is one of the best city cars for comfort. Even on large alloy wheels, the soft suspension irons out the usual array of lumps and bumps in the road. It’s particularly good at cruising speeds, which means you can cover long distances without being rattled around like a bean in a can. 

The i10 is wonderfully refined for its size, with low levels of road and engine noise. However, while we love the 1.0-litre engine in town, it can feel a little breathless at cruising speeds. This means long distance drivers may be better off with the 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol. 

Volkswagen Up

Year launched: 2012

Volkswagen Up Front Side View

We’re big fans of the Volkswagen Up. It is stylish, economical and brilliant to drive. You get the choice of three- or five-door models, with the former usually being the cheapest on the used market. If you want a frugal and rewarding city car then the Up should be on your shortlist. 

The Up has room for four adults and a useful 251 litres of boot space, which puts it in a similar class as the Hyundai i10. The rear seats also fold down to provide even more space (959 litres). This means the Up is very practical. What’s more, measuring just 3.6 metres long, it’s ridiculously easy to drive and park. 

Inside, the Up has an upmarket inside that’s filled with high-quality materials. If you want a splash of colour, avoid the basic models - these are usually finished in varying shades of grey and black plastic. Mid-spec models add a bright and colourful dashboard, while the desirable Beats model adds smart seat trims and an upgraded audio system. 

Kia Picanto

Year launched: 2017

Kia Picanto frontright exterior

If the value for money is your thing, the Kia Picanto will be the city car for you. This small car has been a huge hit for Kia, thanks to its smart combination of affordability, handling and comfort. All versions are backed by Kia’s seven-year warranty. That means, even when buying used, you get a car with a huge manufacturer warranty. That’s a big tick in the peace of mind box. 

The cabin isn’t as plush as the Hyundai i10 or Volkswagen Up, but the materials are hardwearing and the seats are supportive. Standard equipment is pretty good, but the mid-spec ‘2’ models are the best and include air conditioning, alloy wheels, electric windows and automatic.

The Picanto is offered with the choice of 1.0- or a 1.24-litre petrol engines. Neither are turbocharged, but both are good to drive thanks to their high revving nature that gives the Picanto a rewarding zip through the gears. 

Peugeot 108

Year launched: 2014

Peugeot 108 frontright exterior static

The Peugeot 108 is one of the best-equipped city cars in the UK. Mid-spec Active models get everything you could ever need from a small car, with air conditioning, DAB radio and a smart 7-inch touchscreen included. Prices are affordable, too, which makes the 108 a bit of a used city car bargain. 

The newest versions are powered by Peugeot’s efficient 1.0-litre petrol engine, while older versions use a 1.2-litre petrol. Both are smooth, quiet and linked to a smooth-shifting five-speed manual gearbox. An automatic gearbox is also available, but it can be a little clunky and this can make the 108 feel a little slower than it actually is. 

The 108 has a rewarding soft ride that soaks up rough road surfaces. It isn’t as sharp as its rivals to drive, but the 108 is competent and will find favour with buyers who want a comfortable small car. 

Skoda Citigo

Year launched: 2012

Skoda Citigo Front View

The Skoda Citigo is based on the Volkswagen Up. It uses the same mechanical platform and engines but usually commands a lower price on the used market owing to the fact that some buyers turn their noses up at the Skoda badge. Don’t worry, the car snob’s loss is your gain. The Citigo is a very good city car. 

The cabin gets all of the basics right, with a comfortable driving position and a neat dashboard. All versions will carry four adults with ease, but we’d recommend searching out one of the special edition models - like the Monte Carlo - to get the best fabric seats and the highest level of standard equipment. 

The interior might not be as plush as the Volkswagen, but this Skoda has got everything else pretty much nailed on. Like the Up, the Citigo is very good to drive. The steering is nicely weighted and the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine is more than willing, with lots of low-gear acceleration. 

Suzuki Ignis

Year launched: 2017

Suzuki Ignis Front Side View

Looking for a city car with some retro appeal? The Ignis borrows its styling cues from the Suzuki Whizzkid (it’s from the 1970s, ask your dad). However, unlike its small car rivals, the Ignis feels more like a mini-SUV, thanks to its rugged styling and raised driving position.

The Ignis is advertised with a good 51.4mpg, which makes it a cheap travel companion. Find an SZ-T model and you’ll get an Ignis that’s packed with useful tech. This includes a bright touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. 

The Ignis is popular with outdoor types, owing to the fact it’s offered with front-wheel or four-wheel drive. This little Suzuki also gets a decent amount of ground clearance, which means it’ll happily churn its way down a muddy farm track, without catching any of its important oily bits on loose rocks. The 1.2-litre petrol is sprightly, which means you always have enough power on tap.

Toyota Aygo

Year launched: 2014

Toyota Aygo Front Side View

The Toyota Aygo is something of a ‘back to basics’ city car, with the focus on usability rather than style.  This means the interior is tough and practical. But not as modern or as plush as some of its rivals. 

The 1.0-litre petrol engine is good on fuel and a nice match for the compact dimensions of the Aygo, with punchy performance and affordable running costs. In real-world driving conditions, most versions of the Aygo will return up to 55mpg. The only fly in the ointment is the noisy nature of the three-cylinder engine, but this was rectified in 2018 when Toyota redesigned the body and bolstered the car’s soundproofing. 

Four adults will squeeze into the Aygo. And the firm cloth seats are supportive and extremely comfortable over a long journey. The driving position is also good, with excellent visibility and lots of seat and steering wheel adjustment.

Vauxhall Viva

Year launched: 2014

Vauxhall Viva Front Side View

It might share its name with the 1970s’ Vauxhall classic but the latest version of the Viva is a very modern and likeable city car. All versions are well-equipped as standard and the 1.0-litre petrol engine is advertised with 65mpg. That makes this little Vauxhall extremely good value. 

The Viva doesn’t try to match its rivals for interior flair. Everything is finished in varying levels of grey, but the cabin is well made and intelligently laid out. Go for a mid-spec SE Nav or SE L model and you’ll get a smart infotainment system with touchscreen navigation. 

The Viva majors on everyday usability. The handling is soft and predictable, while the well-judged ride will cope with rough road surfaces. The Viva is also quiet and comfortable at cruising speeds, which means you can use it for long-distance travel. 

Ford Ka+

Year launched: 2016

Ford Ka+ front

The Ford Ka+ is one of the most refined city cars on the market. It’s quiet, practical and really easy to drive. It also gets a 270-litre boot and a roomy cabin that has space for four people. 

The Ka+ is based on the Fiesta hatchback, which means it’s good to drive. The steering is light in town but firms up as the speed builds, which inspires confidence. The 1.2-litre petrol engine isn’t as punchy as the Ka+’s rivals, but it’s efficient and returns 56.5mpg. If your daily drive takes you on long journeys, we’d recommend the 1.5-litre diesel, which returns up to 76.3mpg.

There are some nice features to be found in the Ka+, too, with things like body coloured bumpers, door mirrors and front fog lights all standard. You also get Ford’s Easy Fuel system, which makes it almost impossible to misfuel with Ka+ with the wrong fuel type. 

Fiat 500

Year launched: 2008

Fiat 500 Exterior

Want to inject some Italian style into your daily drive? The Fiat 500 trades heavily against its classic history, with its styling influenced by the 1957 original. Even just looking at the FIat 500 makes us want to book a two-week fly-drive holiday to Sardinia. 

There is a huge choice of Fiat 500s for sale. This includes the 500C convertible, which gives you a fabric folding roof for those wind in your hair driving moments in the summer months. Unlike its rivals, there is no five-door model - all Fiat 500s are strictly three-door. 

Engine choices include petrol and diesel. You also get the option of manual or automatic gearboxes. The 0.9-litre and 1.2-litre petrol engines are the most popular, thanks to their refined nature and good performance. All versions of the 500 are easy to drive, while its compact body makes it easy to drive and park. 

A city car tends to be small, compact and efficient vehicles that are generally the smallest (and cheapest) cars in a manufacturer’s line-up. As the name suggests, city cars are generally well suited to driving in towns and cities but aren’t very well suited to motorways.

As a new buy, a city car generally costs between £10,000-£15,000. As a used buy, you’ll be looking at around £9000 for something nearly-new and around £1500-£2000 for something that’s eight years old. City cars tend to make good first cars and there’s strong demand from younger drivers.

The heycar choice for the best city car in 2020 is the Hyundai i10. It’s new for this year, is wonderfully grown-up inside, is great in the city and comes with a five-year/unlimited mileage warranty. As a used buy, we’re rather fond of the Volkswagen Up, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo.

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Volkswagen Up

1.0 High Up 5Dr

  • 2017
  • 37,475 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Barnards Volkswagen
  • Suffolk, IP141EP
PCP: £104.33/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £104.33, Customer Deposit: £1,048.00, Total Deposit: £1,048.50, Optional Final Payment: £3,520.00, Total Charge For Credit: £1,230.05, Total Amount Payable: £8,220.05, Representative APR: 8.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 8.88%, Excess Mileage Charge: 4.78ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Volkswagen Up

1.0 High Up 5dr

  • 2014
  • 29,000 miles
  • CMC SEAT Harlow
  • Essex, CM202EG
HP: £174.82/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £174.82, Customer Deposit: £1,004.00, Total Deposit: £1,004.25, Total Charge For Credit: £612.77, Total Amount Payable: £7,307.77, Representative APR: 7%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.86%