WhoCanFixMyCar takes a closer look at some of the best small premium cars to own
The tagline of the A1 from Audi is ‘It’s not a small car, It’s a small Audi’. This means that while the vehicle is small, Audi haven’t cut back on any of their signature trademarks. Priced from £17 735, what is included?
The second generation A1 was released in 2018, only available with a petrol engine. The A1 can be customised making it possible to have the roof and chassis in different colours. The interior of the Audi is seamless, maintaining the high-end dashboard that’s consistent in more expensive models. All models come with an 8.8in touchscreen infotainment system, placed at a height, it’s easy for the driver to use.
The A1 is rather roomy for a small car- not to the extent of the A3, however, it’s a good alternative. It is a 5-seater vehicle and not too much of a squeeze for five adults. It is worth noting that there are only two Isofix points on the outer seats of the rear so as luxurious as the A1 is it may not be suitable if more than two car seats are required. The boot of the A1 is a reasonable size, able to fit five carryon suitcases.
The classic Mini One has been in production since 2000, and is often thought to be the only real competition for the Audi A1 in terms of luxury within the same price bracket.
The 3-door Hatch is available from £16 195 and the 5-door from £16 1895. The 5-door mini has more space in the rear due to the extra doors.
Both Mini’s come with a 6.5in infotainment system as standard as well as Bluetooth and a USB port. It’s possible to upgrade to an 8.8in screen with Apple CarPlay. Bear in mind that the upgrade provides a screen that is standard with the A1.
The interior is both plush and well made. The Mini, like its name is a petite car and whilst it is possible to seat 5, the middle passenger in the rear would be uncomfortable with one leg either side of the raised tunnel. The boot of the Mini is the same size as the A1, also able to fit five carryon cases.
The Mini is customisable like the A1, available in a range of colours and trims which are great for individuality however the A1 holds on to its value more when it’s time for a resale.
The Volkswagen Polo is one of the top ten best selling cars in the UK and won the What Car? best small car of the year for 2019. The one litre engine is the most popular of the range as it can be nippy around town and can also hold its own on the motorway.
Volkswagen and Audi are both manufactured under the Volkswagen Group brand so there are some interior similarities. The similarities are mainly visible in the shape and finish however the A1 has a much busier dashboard. Every Polo has an 8in infotainment system, in the same slightly raised central location as the A1.
The interior space is about the same as an Audi A1, equally as comfortable for five adults however the boot size of the Polo is bigger.
The Volkswagen Polo is said to be a very comfortable car to drive and can be upgraded to include all the bells and whistles. With upgrades the cost also increases and whilst it’s a very strong vehicle that holds on to its value, it doesn’t scream luxury the way the A1 and Mini do. The Polo is priced from £16 635 which is only slightly cheaper than the Audi A1. A decision between the two is more likely to be based on running costs and personal preference.
The Seat Ibiza shares the same infotainment system amongst other features than the Volkswagen Polo. It’s cheaper than the entry level A1 and Polo at £16 090. Standard features include a spacious boot and a 6.5in infotainment system. The infotainment system is inclusive of Apple CarPlay.
The interior overall is nice; however, you’re looking at upgrading the Xcellence model which is available from £18 060 to get the level of interior close to the A1 however by that point you have reached the price of an entry level A1. However, by upgrading, a lot of additional features are included which would be considerably more expensive with the A1.
The interior of the Seat Ibiza is slightly smaller than the Polo, however it provides a generous amount of space for a vehicle in the small car category.
The Ford Fiesta is Britain’s most popular car and is easy to see why! The 3 door is priced from £15 995 and the entry level 5 door from £18 320, which is more expensive than the entry level A1 Sportback.
All Ford Fiesta models come with a heated windscreen as a standard feature which is generous and a feature that would cost much more with a different make. An 8in infotainment system is also included as a standard feature and is slightly raised making it easy for drivers to use when on the go. The interior is well made however the Ford Fiesta isn’t a particularly luxurious vehicle. Upgrading to the top of the range provides more luxury, however the price also increases especially for a top of the range Fiesta with five doors.
The front of the Fiesta is roomy however three adults in the back is a squeeze, the Ibiza offers more room in terms of the rear and boot space.
The Fiesta is popular because it’s a safe reliable car with affordable insurance, fuel costs and low maintenance costs.
The Skoda Fabia has won numerous awards, best small car for the hatch model and best estate under £20 000 for the estate.
The cheapest Skoda Fabia is the SE model which retails from £14 145 which increases to £17, 460 for the top of the range Monte Carlo edition which is great value if you consider the extra features. Skoda ditched diesel engines on the Fabia in 2018 so all new models are petrol.
With the Skoda Fabia SE money goes far. Entry models include a radio swing with 6.5in touchscreen display, Bluetooth and four speakers. The screen is well positioned and easy to use when driving. It’s also possible to connect either Apple or Android with smart link which is a feature that often costs extra on other models. Drivers also get a multifunctioning steering wheel with radio and phone controls.
As far as small cars go the Fabia is roomy, all models have five doors and two isofix seats as a minimum feature. The boot space is also very generous however it’s worth noting that the rear seats don’t lie flat when put down.
A Skoda Fabia is the type of vehicle that really requires you to decide what’s important to you personally. It’s a vehicle that is value for money however it’s not necessarily a luxurious vehicle… The Polo, Audi and Mini will give you more of a wow feeling.
DS used to be part of Citroen but is now its own make. The DS3 was created to rival the Mini. It’s only available as a three door and standard features include a 7in infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, aux and USB points. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available as extra features on models above entry level.
The DS3 is marketed as a premium brand. Some interior features are luxurious however these are mixed with some of Citroens standard features which aren’t as luxurious. The seats look comfortable and plush, the dashboard in general also has a nice finish.
Unfortunately, space within the vehicle is at a premium. The DS3 is only available as a three door which makes getting into the rear (that is already on the small side) difficult. The DS3 is marketed as a five-seater however this should be considered as a technicality. Three adults would be cramped, although it’s great to have the option. The boot is simply functional, what you’d expect for a vehicle of that size.
It’s possible to customise the DS3 in a similar way to the Audi A1 with different coloured roofs and chassis. Surprisingly the DS3 is more expensive than the Audi A1 and Mini. It retails upwards of £19485, so based on price it’s not the strongest competitor on this list.
Compared with some of the other models in our list, the Fiat 500 feels like a bit of a wild card. However, part of the reason for its inclusion is that many people want a small car that feels like a bit more than just a ‘small car’. The Fiat 500 is one of the most popular small cars on the market. Priced from £12 165 you get a lot for your money.
Admittedly space isn’t one of them. The Fiat 500 is a four-seater with limited space in the rear and is only available as a three door. The interior is sleek, well made and looks more expensive than it is. The entry level Fiat 500 POP has a radio with USB and Aux port. The Fiat 500 Lounge model which is the model above has a 7’’ touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, USB, Aux-in, DAB, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The Lounge model is priced upwards from £13 895 which is worth it for those comforts still significantly cheaper than the entry level Audi A1.
A very good thing about the Fiat 500 is that due to its popularity, and timelessness, the vehicle holds on to its value much longer than majority of its alternatives.
One of the most popular cars in the UK is the Vauxhall Corsa. While this car may not initially scream luxury the all new Vauxhall Corsa looks great and now has a sense of style that wouldn’t be out on place on the Audi A1 or Volkswagen Polo. The entry level Vauxhall Corsa’s have the basic radio/cd combo with a USB port. However, every other trim includes a 7in touchscreen infotainment system which connects to both Apple and Android mobiles.
The interior of the Corsa is roomy. It is a five-seater, but again is not the best for three adults in the rear. That said the five-door option is easier to get in and out of, working well with car seats. The boot is average sized, fine for a weekly shop but nothing to write home about.
The great thing about the Vauxhall Corsa is that it’s affordable to maintain. Insurance and tax are on the lower end of the spectrum and parts for spares and repairs are both affordable and readily available. The price for the all new Corsa has increased and now retails upwards of £15 550 from new. It’s a cheaper option than the Audi A1 but by no means a cheap vehicle.
The Honda Jazz looks like a pretty good alternative to many of the models in our Top 10. The entry level S model is available from £14,600. The top of the range Sport model is priced from £17,640, about the same as an entry level Audi A1. If it was simply an issue of price, a fully kitted out Honda Jazz would be better value.
All Jazz models have an infotainment system, it’s basic on the entry level model but even then, it still has Bluetooth, DAB radio, aux and a USB port. The Jazz is the roomiest small car on this list. You get a lot of space for your money as a result it’s more than possible to get three adults in the rear and comfortable to do so due to a flat space on the floor of the middle seat. The rear seats can be tilted for comfort and the boot of the Jazz is very large- biggest of the vehicles in the small car category.
The appeal of the Jazz is that it is sturdy, roomy and made to last. That’s great for some however it’s not particularly fun or luxurious.