Being an island nation, space is at a premium in the UK. Our crowded cities mean we have to get creative with our cars, part of the reason the B-segment hatchback sells so well here. These superminis are compact yet practical, capable of squeezing into a tight parking space while carrying the weekly shopping.
There are plenty of these compact cars fighting for a spot on your driveway, so here are some of the very best in no particular order.
The all-new Peugeot 208 continues the French marque’s push upmarket. Its premium design and distinctive interior certainly set it apart from favourites such as the Ford Fiesta – this yellow is actually a standard colour. Speaking of standard, equipment is good from the get-go with a 7-inch infotainment system, rear parking sensors, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Step up a trim and you can have a futuristic 3D instrument cluster.
The old 208 proved popular and so this new model, with a good range of engines and an e208 electric variant, will likely follow suit.
For those who love the Golf’s excellent build quality and ergonomic design, but need something a little smaller, the Polo is perfect. This refined hatchback offers rear passengers good levels of leg room while incorporating new technology such as a Beats audio system in some trims. This generation Polo represents a real step forward for the model, a genuine contender for class leadership.
Thanks to strong residual values, you should be able to find a Polo on an attractive PCP deal.
The first generation Audi A1 proved incredible popular due to providing a new entry-level to the premium brand. This latest incarnation is far more aggressive in terms of styling, something that actually echoes the original Quattro in some places. It’s quite the fashion statement amongst competitors.
Just like the Polo, there’s some strong PCP deals out there to be had, allowing more people than ever to drive a car with four rings on its nose. Just be wary of the pricey options list.
If you’re after good value for money, the Suzuki Swift delivers. Currently kicking-off at under £11,500 the Swift undercuts many of its competitors. Sure, there’s plenty of scratchy plastics to the interior and the car is far from the most refined car in the class, but it scored well on practicality and can be had as a hybrid.
It’s cheap and cheerful motoring, and will likely never let you down due to strong reliability.
The Seat Ibiza is something of a hidden gem in the world of superminis. While every other manufacturer is trying to win you over with premium badging or bright paint, the Ibiza gets the basics right. A solid engine lineup means there’s something for everyone, it has strong perceived quality from the moment you sit inside, and it has a large 355-litre boot. To cap it all off, it handles almost as well as the class-leading Fiesta.
If you’re looking for good value for money and a break from something more predictable, the Ibiza is a great choice.
It’s not the freshest model on this list – launched in 2014 – but it is one of the best to drive. Keen handling is baked into most Mazda models, and this supermini is no different. Its ‘Kodo soul of motion design’ still looks fresh, and regular model updates have kept the car competitive with rivals.
A big plus of this being a Mazda is the Japanese manufacturer’s reputation for reliability.
Who doesn’t love a Mini? One of the most characterful cars you can own, the Mini has remained totally classless for over six decades. Available in three or five door, the hatch promises agile handling and some peppy turbocharged engines. Practicality is not its song point, with a lack of leg room and a small boot, but its premium interior wins many people over.
There’s now also an electric Mini available, encouraging more people than ever to buy an EV.
Only available as an electric car, the new Honda E is a bold new model for Honda. Its funky styling has proven to be a big hit with enthusiasts, while its huge bank of screens spanning the dashboard intrigues tech lovers. It might only have an official range of 136 miles, but that’s ample for a car that’s likely to spend its life in busy city centres.
£26,160 is a lot of money for a small car, but there’s not much out there like the Honda E.
Renault’s all-new Clio represents a return to form for the French car maker, with this model being another strong contender for the B-segment crown. Its exterior design echoes its larger Megane sibling, but somehow looks better proportionally on this more compact car. It is much more fun to drive than its predecessor and offers a far better interior to its occupants.
If you’re looking for good value for money and good levels for practicality, the Clio might be for you.
The Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best selling model for a very good reason. It ticks all of the boxes that a B-segment buyer could want, and then appeals to the enthusiast with an engaging driving proposition. This latest car has taken a big step-up in terms of interior quality, and the Sync infotainment system has come a long way, too.
As an all-rounder, the Fiesta is a very hard car to beat.