Towns and cities are becoming even more popular places to live than ever, but many of us continue to choose our own car over public transport.
While you originally just had ‘city cars’ as the vehicle of choice in urban areas, you only need to head to any UK city to see the sheer variety of cars that people now use. While small cars are unsurprisingly better-suited, crossovers and SUVs have vast appeal in such areas, too.
So to reflect that, here we’ve come up with a list of 10 fantastic cars for use around towns and cities – ranging from little city cars to much larger models…
Fiat 500 Hybrid – from £12,770
Ever since the new Fiat 500 was reborn in 2007, this model has been a big hit for those living in towns and cities. Thanks to its compact size, it’s very easy to drive and park when space is at a premium, while the retro styling and huge personalisation options give it plenty of street cred.
For 2020, there’s a new mild-hybrid 500, too, which is better to drive than before, as well as more efficient – with a fuel economy of 53.3mpg promised along with CO2 emissions of 119g/km. Later this year there will also be an electric 500 with a range up to 199 miles.
Mini Electric – from £24,900
Speaking of EVs, Mini is joining in with the action this year with an electric version of its cool three-door Hatch. Like the 500, this is a model that favours fun styling over spaciousness, and makes it ideally suited to city surroundings.
Its 145-mile range isn’t the longest, but it will prove plentiful around town. The Mini Electric is also fantastic to drive – being one of the lightest electric cars around and having the same performance as the Cooper S hot hatch.
Fiat Panda Hybrid – from £10,340
While the Fiat Panda might not be hugely popular in the UK, over in Italy, these models fill the narrow city streets. Given its dinky dimensions and ease of driving that’s not surprising, and it also makes it a great car for UK towns and cities as well.
With prices starting from just £10,340 it’s also one of the most affordable new cars on sale, while it’s also available with the same mild-hybrid powertrain as the 500. A host of Panda derivatives are on offer – including a more rugged ‘City Cross’ version that’s great for urban driving.
Skoda Fabia – from £12,990
Sometimes there is no harm in admitting that simple and no-frills affordability is best, and if you’re not fussed about having an EV or something with bold styling, the Skoda Fabia should be on your shopping list.
The entry-level 59bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine can feel out of its depth on the open road, but is perfectly suited to town and city driving – it also means it sits in the lowest insurance group. Despite undercutting key rivals by several thousand pounds, the Fabia is still a practical supermini that’s well-suited to being a small family car, while standard kit is generous, too.
BMW i3 – from £36,025
If you want an upmarket and premium electric car, you might think you have to make the step up to an SUV or large saloon. But no, thanks to the BMW i3, you can still have a high-quality EV in a compact package.
Despite being on sale since 2013, the i3’s futuristic looks haven’t aged a day, while a cabin made from recycled materials helps to give you the feel-good factor behind the wheel. It’s certainly not great value, but if you want a cool and interesting EV for running around town in, the i3 is a very appealing thing. A range of between 182 and 188 miles is promised.
Jaguar I-Pace – from £64,495
You only need to head to a high-end area in Central London to see that a lot of the time, people don’t really choose small city cars – despite living in such built-up areas. And if you want a large model, you don’t need to go with a polluting diesel 4x4, but rather an electric SUV would fit the bill.
One of the best is the Jaguar I-Pace SUV – a car that’s just as good to drive as it is to look at. With a claimed range of 292 miles - one of the longest of any EV – it’s a great option in case you find yourself undertaking any longer trips.
Ford Fiesta – from £16,140
Few small cars are as versatile as the Ford Fiesta, and in a similar way to the Skoda Fabia, it makes you question whether you really need anything bigger than this – given it has a decent-sized boot, space for four adults and an ability to easily slot into the smallest of parking spaces.
Also adding to the appeal is the fact it’s now available with mild-hybrid powertrains – available on the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with outputs of either 123bhp or 153bhp. These are both more responsive and cheaper to run than before, and add to its appeal as a town car.
Honda Jazz – from £19,895
If you don’t quite feel like you’re ready to make the switch to an EV yet, a hybrid is a great choice, and also often more affordable. It’s why the new Honda Jazz is such a great choice, with this supermini-cross-MPV managing 62.8mpg, with rather low CO2 emissions of 102g/km.
Despite its impressive practicality and its apparent larger size, the Jazz is actually no bigger than a Ford Fiesta. If you value comfort and refinement above fun and performance, this car is certainly worth considering.
Seat Mii Electric – from £19,800
While EVs have exceptionally low running costs, the price of them to buy can still be quite expensive. But thanks to models like the Seat Mii Electric, they’re becoming more affordable, with this compact EV being one of few to cost less than £20,000.
There are few cars that will be more useful around city centres than the Mii Electric, while with a 160-mile electric range, there’s more than enough juice for most occasions - even if you’re not able to charge at home. It’s worth noting that this Seat is a sibling product to the Volkswagen e-Up! and Skoda Citigo-e iV.
Renault Captur – from £18,925
Crossovers are becoming popular options for those who live in urban areas, and with their high driving position and largely compact size, it’s not easy to see why. One of the best choices is the new Renault Captur.
While not being much bigger than the Clio which it’s based on, the Captur is far more practical and not significantly more expensive, either. Various personalisation options also mean that you can make your car stand out from the crowd.
Citroen C1 – from £12,660
And last but certainly not least is a conventional petrol city car – the Citroen C1. It’s the shortest car on this list, and an ideal choice if you live somewhere with tight on-street parking as it’s less than 3.5m long.
Prices start from £12,660, and it comes surprisingly well-equipped, while will be impressively cheap to run as well, with Citroen claiming it’ll return 58.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 110g/km. There’s always special editions on offer for extra style, while you can choose it with a cool electric canvas roof as well.