City cars are very popular these days thanks to their manoeuvrability, ease-of-use and efficiency.
Many style-conscious buyers, however, don’t just want cheap utilitarian transport. This has resulted in manufacturers making fashionable and desirable city cars that mix luxurious interiors and technology with diminutive exterior dimensions.
When judging the city-car crowd we were looking for intelligent design, stylish appointments and entertaining and accessible handling dynamics. Below are our three shortlisted entrants.
Previous Twingos were more of an oddity than a genuinely mainstream city car, but this third-generation model represents one of the most significant design departures in the brand’s history. Gone is the old front-wheel-drive layout, replaced by a rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive chassis shared with the upcoming Smart ForTwo and ForFour. This means the car is sensationally well packaged allowing for plenty of interior space for passengers and luggage.
The lack of engine in the front of the car means it can be fitted with an unusually long steering rack making an already small car even more manoeuvrable.
Volkswagen’s take on the city car concept has spawned one of the most accomplished vehicles of recent memory. Critics were blown away by the Up!’s Tardis-like interior space to exterior size ratio – it genuinely seats four full-grown adults and can take their luggage too. They were also impressed with the peppy petrol engine and snappy manual gearchange, which adds a dash of driving enjoyment into the mix.
Most impressive, however, for this small car is how little it feels like a small car to drive. It rides with the kind of composure many bigger rivals struggle to match, absorbs bumps from the road brilliantly, all while being agile and easy to park like the best city cars.
The old Toyota Aygo was on sale effectively unchanged for 10 years, so Toyota will be keen to repeat this success with the second-generation model. It shares a platform with the Peugeot 108 and Citroen C1, with only minor visual differences separating them. Its price undercuts both of those cars, though, making it the best model of the three in terms of value.
Critics praise the improvements in handling and refinement while many enjoy the eye-catching styling. Even the three-cylinder engines manage to sound fizzy and exciting adding to the youthful, fun-vibe of the Aygo.