It’s hard to fault the Ford Fiesta. The little supermini is consistently rated as one of the finest handling cars not just in its segment but across the whole car market. It’s not perfect, however. Some buyers prefer comfier cars, some prefer more luxurious ones and some criticise the Fiesta’s slightly cluttered cabin.
While there is a premium to pay for the Volkswagen Polo, you might find it’s less than you imagine. The entry-level three-door S trim Polo costs from £11,300, compared to £10,145 for the basic three-door Fiesta Studio. While neither car is exactly bristling with features, they both have the bare minimum and are fairly closely priced.
Petrol engine options go from the 1.0-litre TSI through to the 1.8-litre turbo in Polo GTI models, while the solitary diesel option is the 1.4-litre TDI. There are five and six-speed manual gearboxes and as a seven-speed DSG auto as well. The Polo has a little badge kudos thanks to being a Volkswagen, but you start to pay for it at the top-end of the range.
See the savings available by choosing your perfect Volkswagen Polo in our car configurator.
The Peugeot 208 is arguably one of the best looking cars in its class. Overall quality is much better than its forebears, especially on the inside. A seven-inch infotainment screen features on the dash if you go for Active models or above. Not only does it give you optional sat nav, but it also controls the audio, air con, Bluetooth and more besides.
The Peugeot doesn’t drive as well as the Ford but is more focussed on comfort. Around town, it can get jostled by rough surfaces but when you pick up higher speeds it quickly smoothes out. The slightly controversial small steering wheel might not be to everyone’s tastes but helps when manoeuvring the car.
Put the Peugeot 208 in our car configurator to see the discounts on offer.
The fourth-generation Mazda 2 is bigger and more practical than before, as well as being better looking and built to a much higher quality. Its agile handling, smooth and efficient engines, and low weight, all contribute to the Mazda’s trump card – fantastic driving characteristics.
The Mazda 2 is a serious rival to the Fiesta, because it’s packed with technology as well as being great to drive. It’s a little pricier than the Fiesta in base form, but represents stunning value thanks to its higher levels of standard equipment.
Find out how much you could save by picking your ideal Mazda 2 in our car configurator.
The Honda Jazz is big on practicality. The inside is like Dr Who’s Tardis – offering levels of space you’d normally only expect to see in considerably bigger cars. As well as being extremely practical, the Jazz also brings impressive reliability and strong residual values to the table.
One area where it loses out to the Fiesta is pricing. The Honda isn’t cheap by anyone’s measure, with entry-level models costing around £11,500 and high-spec versions approaching £20,000.
Choose your perfect Honda Jazz in our car configurator to see the deals available.
Citroen C4 Cactus
If you want to stand out from the crowd and need more room than the Fiesta, few vehicles are as different as the Citroen C4 Cactus. Despite its size, clever construction techniques mean the Citroen weighs a similar amount to the Fiesta which makes it faster and more efficient than some comparably powered rivals.
There are three petrol engines and one diesel to choose from, and no efficiency-sapping four-wheel drive option. It costs a little more, but is more practical and much more eye-catching than the Fiesta.
Find out what discounts are on offer by speccing up a Citroen C4 Cactus in our car configurator.
Think we’re wrong? Then spec up the excellent Ford Fiesta in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you need help picking your next car, check out our car chooser.