The best and worst small cars currently on sale

10. Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality and should outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It’s just a shame the ride is rather unsettled.

Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE

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9. Mazda 2

From the outset, the Mazda 2 is more expensive than most of its rivals. In terms of reliability and interior quality, though, the tiny Mazda has its rivals soundly beaten. It’s good to drive, well equipped and most of its engine options are frugal – just be aware that you can get a cheaper deal elsewhere.

Our pick: 1.5 90 SE-L

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8. Nissan Note

If practicality is your top priority, then few cars can match the Nissan Note. What this spacious hatchback lacks in engine refinement and classy looks, it makes up for in everyday usability. The rear seats and boot offer the sort of flexibility you’d expect from a family MPV. It’s expensive to buy, though, and while all of the available engines are frugal, they’re hardly powerful. Mid-range Acentra trim gets you air-con, electric rear windows and alloy wheels.

Our pick: 1.2 DIG-S Acenta

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7. Renault Clio

The Renault Clio is an established name in the small car world, and it’s still a popular choice in the UK. There’s plenty of scope to personalise this stylish hatchback, and while it’s a little bit behind rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo when it comes to engine quietness, the diesel engine recommended here is a real delight. The interior is reasonably spacious, too, even if some of the fixtures and fittings feel a little cheap.

Our pick: 1.5 dCi 90 Dynamique Nav

6. Audi A1

The Audi A1 is the classiest of all the small cars, with a high-quality interior that’s pure Audi on a small scale. It has a strong range of engines in its line-up and offers an enjoyable drive. Go for the five-door Sportback version and there’s room for two adults to sit reasonably comfortably in the back, too, although there are still more practical choices.

Our pick: 1.4 TFSI 125 Sport

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6. Mini hatchback

If you want a truly high-end supermini, then the Mini should be on your shortlist. The Mini hatchback offers stylish looks, a classy, tech-laden interior and plenty of personalisation options. Additionally, if you go for the Cooper version, you’ll get a great engine and all of the technology you could ever want.

Our pick: 1.5T Cooper Chili Media 5dr

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4. Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is the best-selling car in the UK, and it’s easy to see why. It’s great fun to drive and is available with tempting discounts, while the Ecoboost petrol engines are punchy, quiet and frugal. It’s only inside that it’s starting to feel dated – fortunately, a new version of the Fiesta arrives later this year.

Our pick: 1.0T 100 Ecoboost Zetec 5dr

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3. Volkswagen Polo

The VW Polo is a premium supermini in every sense. It’s got a classy interior, smart looks on the outside and a fairly hefty price tag to match. Don’t toss it aside just yet, though, because it has a broad mix of engines and trim levels, ensuring that there’s something for everyone in the range. Our advice would be to avoid the more expensive high-end models and instead stick to the economical 1.2-litre petrol option in Match trim.

Our pick: 1.2 90 Match

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2. Hyundai i20

If you’re after a small car which will give you a load of space inside, then the Hyundai i20 should be on your list. Its interior space dwarfs almost any other car in this class, and because of that we’re inclined to forgive some of its foibles, such as its cheap-feeling interior and sluggish performance. The i20 is good value for money, though, and the 1.2-litre petrol we recommend here is refined.

Our pick: 1.2 84 SE 5dr

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1. Skoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia is a former What Car? Car of the Year and is still our favourite small car. Materials and build quality are both top notch, and the Fabia should be affordable to run, with our favourite version averaging more than 60mpg in official tests. It’s also practical, well priced and both quiet and composed on the open road.

If you’re looking for a practical and well-priced supermini, look no further.

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The small car to avoid – Alfa Romeo Mito

Stylish though it may be, the Alfa Romeo Mito falls so far behind the best in this class in areas such as space, comfort and refinement that it’s near impossible to recommend.