In today’s congested and environmentally-conscious world, you may think that car ownership, especially in cities, would be on the decline. However, it appears the opposite is true, in many of the biggest and most well-connected cities in the world, car ownership is increasing. This has numerous ramifications, which we will discuss below, but what it tells us is that owning a car is still necessary for a portion of the population, and choosing the right car is of the utmost importance. Here’s our guide to the best city cars you can buy in 2019.
Before we get into the cars themselves, it’s important to establish what makes a good city car. To do this we must consider the problems facing modern urban driving. Large cities are busy, and congestion is one of the biggest concerns for inner-city travel. To combat congestion, the ideal city car will be compact and take up a minimal amount of space on the road. A city full of Minis is far less congested than a city full of trucks. Additionally, many big cities, especially in Europe, are very old and have small streets with tight turns, making a compact car necessary for simply being able to drive on the road. Being small and nimble is essential for darting around and not being held up by squeezing past parked cars.
Driving in a city also includes a lot of stopping and starting, furthermore that acceleration is the single largest factor in fuel consumption. Therefore, the best city car should be designed for smooth acceleration and be fuel-efficient whilst doing so! It’s far easier to be fuel-efficient while travelling at a constant speed on a motorway than it is while accelerating and decelerating every minute. Poor air quality is another problem that cities face, so to combat this a good city car will have low emissions too.
Finally, a city car must be affordable. The cost of living in major cities is higher than other areas of a country, therefore to be a viable transport option, a city car must be relatively inexpensive both to buy and to maintain.
With our criteria laid out, here are our picks for the best city cars you can buy in 2019.
CO2 emissions: 82g/km
Fuel economy: 74.3mpg
The Ford Fiesta is a modern classic, and deservedly so. Consistently excellent to drive, it’s been one of the UK’s most popular cars for several years. For a small car, it manages to be very comfortable, smoothing over almost any bump in the road, while also being very precise, giving the driver full confidence.
It may be the most expensive car on this list when bought new, but it’s also the most fuel-efficient and produces the least CO2 emissions, so it really depends on what is most suitable to your particular circumstances. If it’s in your budget, you will not be disappointed with buying a Fiesta.
CO2 emissions: 95g/km
Fuel economy: 68mpg
The plucky Toyota Agyo is almost the stuff of legend, thanks to it being featured in Top Gear’s Car Football game a few years ago. Its agility is almost unrivalled and the steering is incredibly light, making manoeuvring around tight spots in cities is easy.
It should be noted, however, that this is a very small car, so if you’re someone who needs a lot of boot space or regularly has 3 passengers, this car may not be the most practical. If this doesn’t apply to you, then the Toyota Aygo makes for an excellent city car.
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
Fuel economy: 64mpg
The Kia Picanto is a very popular car, and it’s not hard to see why. It manages to blend being compact with space and comfort – which isn’t easy. It has a very small turning circle, which makes getting in and out of tight parking spaces a breeze.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of this car is its aforementioned spaciousness. There is plenty of space in the boot for a big shopping trip or even luggage for a relatively short family holiday. Seating arrangements are also excellent; the driving position is very comfortable, and all passengers will generally have enough legroom, unless they’re exceptionally tall.
Unlike most cars in this category, there is even space to seat three adults at the back, making this car a viable option for young families.
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
Fuel economy: 50mpg
The Fiat Panda can be described as a humble car – it prioritises practicality, affordability and simplicity over flashy looks and features, and in many cases, that’s all you need.
It has definitely been designed with the city in mind, with a relatively narrow but tall body, making it nimble while giving passengers ample head-space.
The Panda is the cheapest entry on this list, and in an effort to save costs, the legroom at the back isn’t great and the boot is particularly restricted. However, it’s very reliable, and it’s ‘does what it says on the tin’ approach is very appealing to many motorists. This car may not be for everyone, but it will certainly meet your urban driving needs.
CO2 emissions: 101g/km
Fuel economy: 68mpg
Last, but by no means least, is the Volkswagen Up. A winner of several Car of the Year awards, the Up is an excellent city car. It’s extremely comfortable, dealing with all the bumps a city road could throw at it, whilst also being very planted when turning corners quickly.
The Up’s interiors are also very impressive, boasting perhaps the highest quality of any city car on this list – it looks and feels far more expensive than it actually is. There’s plenty of headroom for passengers in the front and back, and while it doesn’t have to biggest boot on this list, it’s suitable for everyday needs.
Safety has also clearly been considered as the Up features plenty of airbags as well as automatic emergency braking when it detects an imminent collision. A great car for the hustle and bustle of the big city.
That concludes our recommendations for the best city cars you can buy today. We’re sure that whichever car you decide to buy, if it’s on this list then you won’t be disappointed.
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