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Compare the safest small cars

High quality safe small cars from rated and reviewed dealers

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red seat ibiza driving

Best safe small cars of 2023

Do you need to compromise safety if you want to save on money and running costs? Well, not with these — small doesn’t need to mean unsafe, and these are the safest small cars on sale in the UK right now…

Volkswagen Polo

1. Volkswagen Polo (5-star safety rating)

Volkswagen Polo review
Audi A1 Sportback

2. Audi A1 (5-star safety rating)

Audi A1 Sportback review
Ford Fiesta

3. Ford Fiesta (5-star safety rating)

Ford Fiesta review
SEAT Ibiza

4. SEAT Ibiza (5-star safety rating)

SEAT Ibiza review
Renault Clio

5. Renault Clio (5-star safety rating)

Renault Clio review
Toyota Yaris Hybrid

6. Toyota Yaris (5-star safety rating)

Toyota Yaris Hybrid review
Peugeot 208

3. Peugeot 208 (4-star safety rating)

Peugeot 208 review
Nissan Micra

8. Nissan Micra (4-star safety rating)

Nissan Micra review
Fiat 500 Electric

9. Fiat 500 Electric (4-star safety rating)

Fiat 500 Electric review
Battery range up to 186 miles
Vauxhall Corsa

10. Vauxhall Corsa (4-star safety rating)

Vauxhall Corsa review

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Advice about safe small cars

Safest small cars FAQs

Absolutely. While a larger car arguably has a better chance of absorbing an impact with more ease than a smaller one, the way cars are designed with load paths and safety cages surrounding the passenger compartment means that small cars can entirely step up to the plate. Put it this way, the safest car that Euro NCAP has ever tested is the Volvo XC60, with a 98 per cent adult occupant protection score. A Volkswagen Polo, almost literally half the XC90’s size, scores 94 per cent on the same test.

Even the cheapest small cars now come with at least front driver and passenger airbags, front side airbags, and a curtain airbag for side impacts. All will have anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and traction control. Autonomous emergency braking — where the car uses cameras and sensors to detect a likely collision and can slam on the brakes itself to prevent or mitigate the crash — is also now standard, although the cheaper models will come with a simpler, less effective system than higher-spec cars. Many small cars, including the Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208, now have standard-fit cruise control and electronic speed limiters, while the Suzuki Swift actually comes with radar-guided cruise control as standard. 

It’s the Volkswagen Polo. Yes, the SEAT Ibiza is basically the same car, but cheaper, but the Polo scores much better for child occupant protection than does the Spanish car, and so if safety is really what you care about, it’s worth spending the little bit extra to get the Polo.