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10 of the best citycars to buy for £10k and under

By Paul Connolly

Citycars are all the rage in some quarters. And why not? They’re nimble, frugal, little urban runabouts that don’t cost the earth.

Plus, they are generally very kind to the planet with low emissions, high miles to the gallon and – as a consequence – low insurance rates.

In the past, some were, well a bit boring. But no more.

In recent years, most have become funky and fun, and where previously many were almost devoid of extras, mostly these days even entry level models come reasonably well adorned.

Fancy packaging isn’t everything of course. But now that the safety and driver assists pioneered in the large car segments are trickling down into even the smallest of cars, this class is actually becoming quite sophisticated.

Most will now carry four adults in reasonable comfort given their size. Bear in mind many models will only have four seatbelts.

So what’s good out there? The usual rules apply: do your research, and see what fits you and your unique circumstances.

That said, here are, in our opinion, 10 of the best. All prices are approximate guides, based on initial RRP, and are likely to fluctuate over time or with special deals.

As always, shop around and bargain hard.

1. Seat Mii

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The first three places in our list go to a trio of cars that all share the same underpinnings because they are based on the same Volkswagen Group platform.

However, the Seat Mii is our favourite due to its stylish good looks, fun Seat personality and about-town nimbleness.

You get a choice of a 1.0-litre engine with either 59bhp or 74bhp. Prices from around £9,600, but you get a higher spec than many rivals.

2. Skoda Citigo

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The Mii’s sportier cousin, the Citigo is smart rather than stylish, but has a roomy cabin and very good road manners.

Prices are from around the £7,850 mark, and for that you get a well-kitted out car officially capable of around 64-69 mpg on the combined cycle.

3. VW up! 

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Set aside the up! daft name and exclamation mark; the Up really is a very accomplished citycar that changed the game when it was originally unveiled in 2011.

It has lovely road manners and makes the most of its front-engine, front-wheel drive layout.

There’s a three-cylinder 1.0 litre petrol engine, plus there’s a battery electric version, called E-up. From £9,135.

4. Fiat 500

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Funky to its wing mirrors, the Fiat 500 was also a game changer upon launch in 2007. It was the first citycar to really, really care about design – thanks, Italy!

The 500 is a two-door, four-passenger car with a transverse front engine that comes in lots of variants including a neat open-roofed model and a sporty Abarth version. Prices from around the £10,700 mark.

5. Ford Ka

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Ford has a strong track record for handling and reliability and the Ka is no exception.

It’s been very nicely redesigned lately to make it more funky and in tune with what young urban buyers in particular want, including parking distance sensors, and Ford Synch phone/music technology. Prices from £9,545.

6. Hyundai i10

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The improvements in quality from Hyundai these days mean it must make any list. The i10 comes in five-door form only, with a choice of two petrol engines.

The latest redesigned version is longer and wider than its predecessor – you might even feel it’s more supermini than citycar inside. Prices from £8,995.

7. Vauxhall Viva

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Vauxhall revived the name Viva in 2014. It had previously belonged to a 1960s and 70s small family car.

But in 2014, the Viva was reborn (in the UK anyway, elsewhere it’s known as the Opel Karl).

The range includes the entry-level SE model, the SE A/C (which has air con as standard) and the flagship SL. There’s good equipment, e.g. electronic stability, on base models. Prices from £9,765.00.

8. Peugeot 108

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The 108 is a funky little Euro car with lots of personalisation choices to suit its perky personality.

It shares underpinnings with the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo, but we prefer the Peugeot.

It comes with 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre engine choices and a very nice optional full-length fabric sunroof that’s perfect for summer days. From £8,995.

9. Kia Picanto

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Another Korean, the Picanto has just emerged in much-improved third generation form with both three and five door models.

It‘s roomy, has plenty of standard and optional kit, and the build quality is good.  There’s a choice of 1.0-litre three-cylinder or 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engines, with the former better for urban efficiency and the latter for highway driving. Prices from £9,450.

10. Renault Twingo

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With its cute appearance, the Twingo looks great, particularly its all-glass tailgate and fancy LED running lights.

There’s a rear-mounted engine and rear wheel drive, which has allowed the designers to create extra room inside. The funky dash has plenty of kit including as standard an infotainment system with smartphone mount. From £9,995.

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