If you’re tired of SUVs, these amazing, tiny vehicles are the ideal alternative.
10. VW Up
Yes, we are aware that the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo are less expensive. But we always have a smile on our face when we get into an Up. And what is the cost of happiness, eh? VW has previous experience with compact city vehicles, unsuccessfully attempting to sell the Fox for a few years before quitting up with its tail between its legs.
Fortunately, it returned with the Up, a car with its own character and personality that is deserving of its position within the larger VW portfolio. The Up, like the other cars on our list, handles any type of travel with ease, managing to feel polished and punchy despite only having a maximum power output of 75bhp.
9. Suzuki Jimny
No, don’t go clicking away. You are still viewing the top ten best compact vehicles. We couldn’t explain this list without including the fantastic off-road Jimny — technically not a tiny vehicle by traditional definition, but no less good for it. And, while it’s true that it makes certain concessions when compared to other tiny vehicles, the Jimny’s aesthetics and perfect four-wheel-drive setup make it too amazing not to include.
It has a lot of attitudes, refusing to follow the industry’s line of having paper-thin 4WD credibility. Its honesty is refreshing in today’s Instagram-filtered society.
8. Renault Zoe
In the middle of the clamor of Jaguar I-Paces and Audi e-trons, and the cacophony of the Tesla-rati, it’s easy to forget that Renault was an early user of electric vehicles. That was the first-generation Zoe, and now there’s a new one, which addresses many of the flaws of the original but sensibly leaves the aesthetic mostly alone. It appears futuristic enough without succumbing to the blandness that plagues so many electric vehicles.
The main difference today is the range, as the battery capacity has increased from 41kWh to 52kWh, providing up to a third greater distance. If you’re cautious, it can run 240 miles between charges, according to Renault. That’s critical, because it, together with the addition of DC charging, ensures the Zoe has the hardware to keep up with the competition. Early adopters cannot afford to wait.
7. Renault Clio
While the British love story with the Ford Fiesta continues unabated, our friends on the other side of the Atlantic continue to admire the Renault Clio. Renault, wisely, has mostly left the newest one alone and pursued an evolutionary route. It’s a nice car, but in a style contest, we’d choose the 208. Still, where the Clio excels is on the interior. If only a small portion of the budget was spent on the outside, the remainder was spent entirely on the cabin.
Renault has prudently maintained certain controls for air conditioning and the like beneath the portrait-style floating infotainment panel. There’s no need to jab a touchscreen madly to modify the temperature by half a degree. It has a spacious, modern interior that feels just at home. It appears that the French preoccupation will continue.
6. Peugeot 208
Peugeot is having a good run right now. The style is spot-on, the vehicles perform well, and they appear to be creating products that people desire. The 208 is no exception. Because Peugeot took a risk by providing customers with three engine options: petrol, diesel, and electric. Unlike VW, Renault, and others, there is no distinct electric model. Furthermore, the engines range in power from 74bhp to 128bhp (which even gets an eight-speed automatic in a supermini!). The French know their little vehicles and how to manufacture them well.
5. Kia Picanto
We brought one to the Korean DMZ only for the sake of having one. But, to be honest, a TG stunt isn’t really necessary to promote the Picanto. The automobile is a stylish, sophisticated urban runabout that has changed people’s opinions of the Korean automaker. Kia, as usual, nails the fundamentals.
The wheels are pushed out to the edges to maximize cabin space, the cabin has a good blend of technology and practicality, and the petrol engines, either four or three cylinders, have adequate power to handle any trip. This is what we love about modern tiny vehicles, and this one is no exception.
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4. Ford Fiesta
The Fiesta is to the small car world what the Porsche 911 is to the sports car world – an omnipresence, a car you always attempt to argue against because you refuse to bring out the same group of test winners over and over. And you always fail—it’s just too good. And, unlike many of its competitors, Ford has stuck with the hot hatch variant, the ST.
Those who prefer a slower pace will be pleased with the variety of three-cylinder petrol that is turbocharged and peppy enough to handle any travel. It’s difficult to predict how Ford will improve on the next one, as it was with the 911.
3. Fiat Panda
If you’ve ever spent a vacation in the Italian Alps and seen vintage, seemingly rusted-out Fiat Pandas moseying along like placid mountain goats, you’ll understand why it’s the coolest compact car out there. It’s small enough to navigate mountain passes or Croydon’s width restrictions, but with five doors and a great range of engines, it’s practical enough to transport the family on a daily basis.
There’s also a four-wheel-drive option, which is unusual in this class. It all comes up to the impression that this is low-fuss motoring at its finest.
2. Citroen C3
How many French allusions can we squeeze into one vehicle? It’s a well-worn route to discuss Gallic flair in a French automobile designed for the European (mostly French) market. But then you see a car like the Citroen C3 and realize there aren’t many more words for it. While the inside is new, you may remove or leave the Airbumps based on your preferences and parking habits.
1. BMW i3
Finally, we have our most outlandish wild card on the list. The i3 is pricey, premium, and electric, so it doesn’t instantly strike out as a standard compact vehicle. But it does stand out, particularly in a world where the differences between all automobiles are becoming increasingly blurred.
There’s also an i3S, which is a quicker model with Dynamic Traction Control. It appears that it will allow you to stray. The range-extender version with a petrol engine on board to charge the battery is no more.