Anybody who has driven in a big city will have experienced their narrow streets with little-to-no parking at extortionate rates – not to mention the slow-moving and fuel consuming traffic.
But city cars are purposely designed to tackle the practical and economic challenges posed by big city driving, and that’s why investing in a city car can save you time and money.
We’ve put together a list of 5 city cars under £20,000 - new or used - which will give you the upper hand when navigating the streets of a big city.
No city car list is complete without a Smart car, which so often tick all the right boxes for both practicality and eco-friendliness.
In terms of its efficiency, all variants of the Smart Forfour are exempt from road tax due to below 100g/km CO2 emissions.
Although it’s the largest Smart model, the Smart Forfour is ideal for urban driving. With a turning circle of just 8.65 metres, manoeuvring through otherwise impossible backstreets will be a breeze.
And if awards are your thing, the Smart Forfour was recognised for its city car qualities when it won the "City Car of the Year" prize at the UK Car of the Year Awards 2016.
MINI COOPER 3-DOOR HATCH
The MINI Cooper 3-Door Hatch is not only the perfect companion for city driving but it is also known for a smooth driving experience when you need to break out onto the motorways. MINIs also hold their value well, so you can rest assured, they are a great investment.
The MINI comes with some handy features when getting around a big city. The MINI saves plenty of fuel with the Stop/Start system, which cuts the power while at a standstill to reduce fuel consumption.
Although over the price band from new, you can pick up an approved used MINI with low mileage for around £15,000.
A reliable and versatile car, the Audi A1 is light but with reassuring steering that allows the A1 to glide effortlessly through narrow city streets. Its slick gear changes are ideal for city driving, but it’s a car that wouldn't feel at all out of place on a motorway.
The Audi A1s interior design makes effective use of limited space to ensure comfort for all passengers, and its multimedia system gives it the edge over many of its competitors in terms of in-car entertainment, which is great for those times when you're stuck in heavy city traffic.
Just the same as the MINI, the Audi A1 is slightly above the £20,000 mark from new. However, there are always quality approved used A1s on the market, but you'll just have to be quick as they fly off the shelf.
The Volkswagen up! is a fun and popular choice within the city car market. Extremely low CO2 emissions result in road tax costing just £20 a year, whilst the BlueMotion version brings the CO2 emissions to below 100g/km – making it completely exempt from road tax.
The up!’s compact dimensions allow for easy parking and swift manoeuvring through traffic or narrow streets whilst still having enough room to hold three passengers in the back without too much of a squeeze.
The up!’s five-speed automatic gearbox is always a smart option in a city with plenty of stop/start traffic.
You can purchase a brand new up! from under £15,000, making it both cheap to buy and cheap to run.
The Toyota Aygo has exceptional fuel efficiency with just 95 g/km of CO2 emissions and an impressive 69mpg, meaning that running costs are low.
And it’s not just a low cost option: the Aygo is nippier than many of its rivals and, coupled with a tight turning circle, makes for excellent city manoeuvrability.
The Aygo also allows for a degree of personalisation. Its OUTshield enhancement pack includes rear parking sensors for tight city parking, and a Safety Sense system for automatic emergency braking, all of which help reduce the likelihood of a collision when you’re navigating through busy one-way systems.