7:45am. You’re feeling optimistic today. You’re going to nab an on-street parking spot near your office. You’re not going to trek 25 minutes to the building from the nearest available space you’re usually lumped with.

Things are looking good so far as you reverse out of your spot in the underground car park in your flat block. So far so smooth down the street and around the corner. But your luck is about to run out. The traffic is already jamming up on the stretch into the city centre. You’re going to miss your slot to get your precious on-street spot.

Why oh why did you think that a crossover was a good idea for city driving? 

If you’d just leased a city car, you’d be whizzing in and out of lanes, overtaking here and there, getting to that all-important parking space on time. This commute from the city outskirts into the heart of the hustle and bustle would be so easy to do in a nippy city car.

As you try and stop yourself from banging your head against the steering wheel, another thought comes to your mind. Your rent in the city is already sky high and you’ve been forking out a small fortune at the petrol pump every other day. If you stuck to something smaller, your fuel economy would be fantastic. More money for the Friday night after-work drinks.

And now your mind is flashing back to a conversation you had with your friends recently. They’re all up for a road trip - and you’ve got the biggest car. Guess who’s the designated driver?

Nope. That’s it. Your mind is made up. You don’t need a flashy Audi or BMW or a massive Land Rover Discovery. As soon as you get home tonight, you’re going to look up the best city car you can get your hands on.

Well, while we’ve got your attention, why don’t your start off with our roundup of the best cars for city driving right here?

The Renault Twingo is the Clio’s chirpy younger sibling. It’s compact and comfy and an excellent small car to sidle down narrow city streets in.

The Twingo has a very short bonnet compared to most cars. That’s because there’s no engine in there. It’s at the back of the car. Renault designed it like this so it was more manoeuvrable, shaving off 10cm exterior length, ideal for driving around town on busy, cramped roads.

It’s a four passenger car, so not ideal if you’ve got three kids to tow along, or a gang of pals who claim you’re a “better driver than them” so they can save money on taxi fares after a night out. The rear windows are only pop-out which is no good if you’re going for a long haul road trip, but it’s excellent for your general city driving.

Stand out Features:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
  • R&Go to turn your smartphone into dashboard touchscreen.

Pros:

  • Attractive curved design.
  • Cheaper than many competitors.

Cons:

  • The best engine is quite pricey.
  • The boot is hot. Hope your journey back from the supermarket is short!

The Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 are three peas in a pod, all developed alongside each other. The three manufacturers have put their own twists on the base design but we’re only going to focus on the Toyota Aygo here, because once you’ve reviewed one, you’ve reviewed them all. We want to include other totally independent models in this roundup.

The Aygo is Toyota’s smallest car and one of the best city cars on the market. Its compact size means you can zip along congested streets without having to look over your shoulder every 3 seconds to see if you’ve got enough space.

You can enjoy low running costs with the Aygo’s frugal petrol engines but this comes at the expense of having reasonable room. The boot is teeny, barely enough to pack a suitcase or a larger-than-normal weekly food shop, plus there’s only two seats. If you’re only looking for a set of wheels to get around town in and not for lugging the contents of your entire home, you are all set.

One of its biggest selling points is its 5 year (or 100,000 mile) warranty. It’s a sturdy wee car!

Stand Out Features:

  • Pre-Collision System and Lane Departure Alert.
  • Smartphone integration, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Pros:

  • Cheap to run.
  • A very reliable runaround.

Cons:

  • Is there even a boot?
  • Its masculine, aggressive exterior is polarising.

17 viewed this car Aygo Hatchback View Gallery
7.2

Toyota Aygo Hatchback

16 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.4
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 93 - 109g/km

From £126.79 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,141.11 inc VAT
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The VW Up is, like the Aygo, part of a development trio. Developed alongside the Skoda Citigo and the Seat Mii, you’d be hard pushed to differentiate the three if you took away the badges. So, we’ve picked the best-seller here: the Up.

The VW Up has had all the best bits of a Golf squished into a smaller city car. It’s only got four passenger seats but it makes up for this with one of the largest boot spaces of any city car on the market. It handles superbly, so you can enjoy a nice smooth ride. As long as you don’t take to the motorway for too long.

If you’re looking for something a shade sportier, the Citigo is a good alternative and the Seat Mii is cheaper, but the Up is more specced up and really worth the extra cashola if you have it.

Stand Out Features:

  • Hook up your smartphone to the dashboard.
  • Multi-function steering - guide your car, tune the radio, and take calls without letting go of the wheel!

Pros:

  • Highly customisable - you’ve got a choice of 12 dashboard colours.
  • Solid materials used.

Cons:

  • No middle rear seat, so not great for bigger families.
  • Little bit pricier than almost identical C1 and Mii.

38 viewed this car UP Hatchback View Gallery
8.4

Volkswagen UP Hatchback

16 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.0
  • Fuel: P, E
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £149.28 Per Month

Initial Rental: £895.68 inc VAT
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The Suzuki Celerio is the cheapest and smallest model in the Japanese car manufacturer’s range. If you’re not somebody who wants to spend hours poring over engine choices and the features that come with different trims, the Celerio is a good option for you. There’s only one engine, you can only get 5 doors, and there’s just 3 trim levels.

It does what it says on the tin, basically. It’s a small runaround, the ideal city car. It’s a little longer and a little taller than its competitors which is great if you’re not a fan of the claustrophobic squish that comes with many city cars.

The engine looks out for your wallet and it's a smooth driving experience at low speeds, which is what you’ll be doing anyway in the city centre gridlock.

Stand out Features:

  • Pretty sizeable boot without much of a lip.
  • DAB Radio and CD player as standard.

Pros:

  • Very economical.
  • More interior room than others.

Cons:

  • Handling is poor.
  • Only has 3 stars in the Euro NCAP ratings.

19 viewed this car Celerio Hatchback View Gallery
7.7

Suzuki Celerio Hatchback

0 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.0
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 89 - 99g/km

Currently unavailable!

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The Kia Picanto is one of the best small cars around, and it makes its way on to pretty much every single best city car roundup, so it had to snag a place on our list too.

It shares some of its parts with the Hyundai i10, also on this roundup. It’s 1.2-litre engine helps it zip along at motorway speeds, but you need to be a little patient for it to catch up speed with others on the road.

It’s a sporty model with a great amount of room. And it’s an incredibly reliable machine: it comes with a whopping 7 year (or 100,000 mile) warranty. That’s the best out of all the city cars here. 

Stand out Features:

  • Brake Assist System and Electronic Stability Control.
  • 7-inch floating touchscreen.

Pros:

  • It has a looooooong warranty - the best on the market.
  • Lotsa space.

Cons:

  • Brace yourself on bumpy roads.
  • Slow to get up to speed.

21 viewed this car Picanto Hatchback View Gallery
7.0

Kia Picanto Hatchback

19 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £124.28 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,118.56 inc VAT
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Reliable? Check. Spacious? Check. Can you get out of the city in it? Check. The Hyundai i10 is a sturdy car that should definitely make your shortlist.

For jaunts around town, the smallest 1-litre engine should power you through the streets just fine. If you want to take to the motorway, you might want to look into the larger 1.2 litre engine. It’s obviously not designed for long haul journeys at top motorway speeds, so it can be a bit sluggish.

It’s got five seats and a spacious boot, so it could be a great family car. And to give you peace of mind, it’s got a very generous 5 year warranty with no mileage limit. Amazing.

Stand out Features:

  • 252-litres of luggage capacity. 1,046-litres when the rear seats are down.
  • Entry level comes with Audio system with DAB.

Pros:

  • Roomy for a city car.
  • Great warranty.

Cons:

  • In for a bouncy ride.
  • Steering not great for twisty, fast roads.

19 viewed this car I10 Hatchback View Gallery
7.4

Hyundai I10 Hatchback

10 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.2
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 93 - 141g/km

From £106.84 Per Month

Initial Rental: £961.56 inc VAT
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For those looking for something with a bit more of a retro feel, check out the Fiat 500. It’s been around for absolutely donkeys and its fresh new look retains some of that quirky 1950s charm.

If you want a new car to cart around the family, it can be a bit of a squish. There’s only a 2-door option and the back seats don’t have a ton of room, but you can convince yourself there’s enough when you let down the roof on the convertible version.

It has two pretty punchy engines, 0.9-litres and 1.2-litres respectively.

Stand out Features:

  • Panoramic glass sunroof.
  • Uconnect touchscreen information system.

Pros:

  • Very good looking.
  • Affordable - cheap to run.

Cons:

  • Ride could be more cushioned.
  • Rear seat passengers better be kids. Small ones.

29 viewed this car 500 Hatchback View Gallery
6.9

Fiat 500 Hatchback

21 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.4
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £119.23 Per Month

Initial Rental: £715.38 inc VAT
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The Vauxhall Viva is the beloved Corsa’s little sister. It’s up there with other retro revamps on this list, having been released for the first time in 1963 and hailed for its practicality and affordability. Today, this still rings true.

It offers fantastic value for money - there’s loads of tech as standard and it has a lovely nippy 1.0-litre engine that will take you through the city with ease. Running costs are low too. In terms of fuel economy, it manages around 54.8mpg, so you won’t have to worry about making several trips to the petrol station.

It’s one of the larger city cars on the market, which is good if you want something a little more versatile. 

Stand out Features:

  • Cruise control.
  • Bluetooth and USB compatible stereo system and mobile phone mirroring.

Pros:

  • Roomy for 3 folk in the back seat.
  • Plenty of standard equipment so great value for money.

Cons:

  • Noisy engine.
  • Constant gear changes on the motorway.
17 viewed this car Viva Hatchback View Gallery
7.5

Vauxhall Viva Hatchback

0 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 1.0
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 99 - 118g/km

Currently unavailable!

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The Smart brand is a funky choice. The Fortwo is a teeny tiny city car. Others will look at you with envy as you glide straight into the tightest of parking spots that would take them several complicated manoeuvres. It has a tight turning circle, ideal for city traffic.

It’s an impressively frugal machine, so despite being a little pricier than larger city cars on this roundup, it’s got amazing fuel economy to make up for it. Plus, you don’t get that unique manoeuvrability with those other models.

It is a tiny car, so the boot is, to be honest, quite pathetic, but if you’re just taking your bag to work, that shouldn’t matter much. Just don’t book a 2-week holiday and expect to get your suitcase in there. There’s only two seats, but if you want four, go for the aptly named Smart ForFour instead.

And for fans of electric cars, you can get the Smart Fortwo (or ForFour) with an electric motor.

Stand out Features:

  • Cruise control, crosswind assist, hill start assist, all as standard.
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

Pros:

  • Easy to park.
  • Great fuel economy.

Cons:

  • Interior materials aren’t all of a great standard.
  • Acceleration isn’t terribly smooth.

Fortwo Cabrio Special Editions View Gallery
6.8

Smart Fortwo Cabrio Special Editions

0 derivatives available

  • Doors:
  • Engine:
  • Fuel:
  • Body: Sports
  • Drive:
  • CO2: None

Currently unavailable!

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When have you heard a bad word about the Ford Fiesta? It’s a great city car alternative to some of these more compact offerings with more versatility to hit top speeds on the motorway.

It’s a bit bulkier than other models in this roundup, but if you want bigger boot space and larger rear seats, there’s got to be a little give and take! Its SUV-inspired styling and wider wheel arches make it great for more rugged driving.

The Ford Fiesta delivers on all fronts. It’s not too big. It delivers great MPG. It’s comfy and easy to drive. And it’s packed with modern technology. It won’t break the bank and it’ll see you through your standard city driving plus more heavy-duty journeys when you need it to.

Stand out Features:

  • Active Park Assist, Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Traffic Sign Recognition.
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.

Pros:

  • Fantastic fuel economy.
  • Handles really well.

Cons:

  • Top models can get a little pricey.
  • Some of the safety features are optional

67 viewed this car Fiesta Hatchback View Gallery
7.3

Ford Fiesta Hatchback

111 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £125.26 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,503.12 inc VAT
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The MINI is an absolute classic. And it lives up to its name, so it has to be on this list.

One of the nicest things about driving a MINI is its low centre of gravity handling. It’s smooth and perfect for navigating those narrow, cramped city streets.

Take your pick from a three or five-door model. Practicality is one of the major appeals of a MINI Hatch over other city cars on this roundup - you’ve got a very decent amount of rear seat and boot space.

It’s a name that’s been around for decades and we don’t see the British public’s beloved MINI going out of fashion any time soon.

Stand out Features:

  • Great 6.5-inch infotainment system, ready to hook up to Spotify.
  • Punchy TwinPower Turbo engine, improving efficiency.

Pros:

  • Loads of standard tech.
  • Classical good exterior looks.

Cons:

  • Very popular. Good luck finding it in the car park.
  • Motorway driving can be a bit noisy. Whatever you backseat passenger said wasn’t important anyway.

44 viewed this car Hatchback View Gallery
7.3

Mini Hatchback

121 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £171.15 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,053.80 inc VAT
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Wading through the many car reviews on the many city cars on the market can be very time-consuming and confusing! We hope this roundup of our top 10 best city cars has cleared things up a bit.

Look forward to your stress-free commutes to work. Look forward to grabbing that teeny parking space your crossover would have no chance sneaking into. Look forward to those very infrequent trips to the petrol station.

We’ve got a massive range of city car leasing deals on LeaseFetcher from the UK’s leading leasing brokers - take a look to see what we can offer you!