Automatic gearboxes tend to be found on larger, more expensive cars, due to their complexity and ability to take the hassle out of longer road trips. Automatics are equally well suited to the hustle and bustle of city streets, however, so some small cars are also available with the option of an automatic gearbox.
We’ve rounded up our 10 favourite small automatic cars. Use our car configurator to find the best deals of any of the cars featured in this list, or check out our deals page. Once you’ve picked the perfect car for you, our PCP calculator can help give you a better idea how much it could cost.
1. Hyundai i10
The Hyundai i10 is one of our favourite city cars, and one of its stand out features is the optional four-speed automatic gearbox. It may not have quite as many gears as you’ll find in larger cars, but the Hyundai’s gearbox is smooth and easy to use – just slot it into ‘D’ and go, no fancy driving modes or paddle gear-changes to worry about. It’s perfect for city driving, with just enough power from the 1.2-litre engine. The ‘box’s traditional torque converter means it’s much smoother than the automated manuals fitted to some similarly sized rivals.
The i10 may only be a city car, but it offers a surprising amount of space for occupants and their luggage – four adults will fit in quite comfortably, and the 252-litre boot isn’t much smaller than the one you’ll find in many superminis. Add in a comfortable ride and a five-year warranty, and you have a great all-rounder that’s cheap to buy and run.
Check out our Hyundai i10 deals page to find the latest savings
2. Skoda Fabia
Skoda’s Fabia is offered with the excellent DSG automatic gearbox as an option. With seven speeds and dual clutches, it’s silky smooth and doesn’t use much more fuel than the manual option. You can only get the DSG with the more powerful engines, but the extra performance suits the gearbox.
The rest of the Fabia is equally appealing, and similarly borrows a lot from more expensive models in the Volkswagen Group. The interior is classy and well made, with just enough soft-touch plastics to make it feel special. You also get a good amount of space, perfect for a small family or as a second car. Skoda’s usually fare very well in owner surveys too, great if you’re intending to own the car for a long time.
Spec up a Skoda Fabia through our deals page to find the best savings on offer.
3. Mini Hatchback
Cheeky styling and go-kart-like handling are expected from a Mini Hatchback, but the latest generation brings a level of sophistication missing in previous models. If you really want a grown-up Mini, it’s worth checking the automatic gearbox option – the six-speed unit is sweet and smooth and makes it much more useable around town.
The available paddle-shifters also mean you can still up the fun factor if the mood takes you, with the range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines offering vigorous performance when pushed. Interior quality and infotainment is a solid notch above most competitors and, if you need a little more space, Mini now offers a five-door model that offers extra interior space.
4. VW Polo
The Volkswagen Polo may have been around for quite a few years, but it’s still one of the most desirable and popular superminis around. It’s also available with the seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, enhancing the Polo’s refined nature cultivated over the past five generations. Costing around £1,300 more than comparable manual versions, the DSG isn’t cheap, but it’s a superb gearbox that suits the Polo well.
There’s lots to like in addition to the slick gearbox – the interior remains classy and well-made, with a good amount of room, and the comprehensive choice of engines offers something to suit virtually every buyer. Some rivals are a little more exciting, but if you’re after a safe and respectable supermini with a great auto ‘box, the Polo is a brilliant choice.
Check out our Volkswagen Polo deals page to find all the latest offers.
5. SEAT Ibiza
The SEAT Ibiza is the third small car in our list from the Volkswagen Group, and also features the same impressive seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox as the Fabia and Polo. The Ibiza has a a sportier character than its cousins but the DSG’s flexibility means it works just as well pottering about as it does on a fast country road.
Inside, the SEAT loses out a little in terms of practicality, but you still get tech such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In exchange for the slightly smaller boot and reduced rear headroom, you get a much more striking design that looks significantly more premium than its relatively modest price tag suggests.
Check out our SEAT Ibiza deals page to find the latest savings.
6. Renault Twingo
The Renault Twingo is a funky city car that does things a little differently to its rivals. Not only is it rear-wheel drive and rear-engined, but it’s also available with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox making town driving a doddle. There’s not a huge price increase over manual versions either, so it’s worth some serious investigation.
Renault’s innovative packaging means there’s a good amount of cabin space and a very tight turning circle, although boot space is only average. If you’re not keen on the Twingo’s looks, it’s also worth taking a look at the Smart ForFour – it’s pretty much the same car, but comes with a slightly higher price tag and a more luxurious interior.
Spec up a Renault Twingo through our deals page to find the best savings on offer.
7. Audi A1
If you’re keen on a small automatic car but want a premium badge, the Audi A1 might well be the choice for you. The slick DSG auto is again shared with other models in the Volkswagen Group stable and, if chosen, is arguably the cherry on top of the Audi’s premium-flavoured cake. Most of the time it’s very refined and makes the A1 very easy to drive but, if the need arises, it can change gears swiftly for sporty responses.
A major part of the A1’s appeal is the fact it offers traditional Audi values in a small package. In addition to the gearbox, there’s a beautifully made and well equipped interior, a range of reasonably powerful engines and, of course, a desirable badge. It won’t be cheap but, for many buyers, it’ll be worth the money.
Check out our Audi A1 deals page to find all the latest offers.
8. Kia Picanto
The Kia Picanto is a value-packed city car that shares the bulk of its underpinnings with the Hyundai i10. As such, it has the same four-speed automatic gearbox, giving smooth shifts and reasonable performance when driving on city streets. It’s only available with the 1.25-litre petrol engine, but all versions of the Kia are good value and come with the brand’s excellent seven-year warranty.
It’s a little short on space compared to the i10, but the boot is still big enough for a weekly shop, and four adults can travel in reasonable comfort for shorter journeys. Factor in the soft suspension and light steering, and you have a car that’s perfect for manoeuvring through town, only struggling if you regularly need to make motorway jaunts.
Check out our Kia Picanto deals page to find the latest savings.
9. Ford Fiesta
The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best selling car, so many buyers will see it as the default choice for a small car regardless of what gearbox is on offer. The standard manual gearboxes are precise and suit the Fiesta’s engaging driving experience, but the six-speed dual-clutch automatic is definitely worth checking out. It offers smooth changes and reasonable efficiency, although fuel economy is poorer than manual versions.
You might be disappointed to discover you can only get the auto with a petrol engine – either the 100hp 1.0 litre EcoBoost or naturally aspirated 103hp 1.6-litre – but both are good choices with the former especially well suited to the car. It’s not quite as smooth as the best DSG units from VW but, for the most part, it’s a great alternative.
Spec up a Ford Fiesta through our deals page to find the best savings on offer.
10. Hyundai i20
Hyundai’s i20 is a stylish supermini with a high quality interior and a good amount of interior space. There’s a range of engines and trims available, and most versions sold in the UK will have a manual gearbox. However, those who want an automatic will have to go for the 99hp 1.4-litre petrol engine.
You might be surprised to learn that this gearbox only has four speeds, but provided you don’t floor it everywhere you’re unlikely to notice the deficit. For a mere £500 premium over the equivalent manual version, it’ll take the hassle out of driving for lots of willing buyers.
Check out our Hyundai i20 deals page to find all the latest offers.
Save money on your next automatic car
If you like any of our picks, our car configurator will find you the best discounts at dealers across the UK. Alternatively, if you’re struggling to decide what your next car will be, our car chooser will help narrow your search or use our PCP calculator to get a better idea how much your next new car could cost.