Top five city cars to help avoid parking perils
We recently reported that there had been a drastic rise in the amount of scrapes and prangs drivers are experiencing in car parks, with the ever-increasing size of family vehicles being blamed on the 35% increase.
And it’s not just because of the rise in popularity of SUVs either, even a traditionally smaller hatchback such as the Vauxhall Corsa is now 16% larger than its forebear was 15 years ago.
Despite this, the majority of car park spaces have remained unchanged since they were first painted. In fact, research suggests that up to 87% of council-operated car parks are still using outdated spacing guidelines of 4.8 x 2.4m. So is bigger always better?
If you think vehicle size is getting out of control, or you need something a bit more manageable for the array of parking and manoeuvring you have to do on a day-to-day basis, we’ve picked out five city cars that should fit in any space.
Dimensions: 3.595m x 1.646m
Turning radius: 9.09m
Cool, nimble agile, the Twingo has built a reputation as one of the best city cars on the market since its launch and rightly so.
The tiny 0.9-litre turbocharged engine of the Dynamique TCe 90 we tested recently produces a reasonably healthy 90bhp and returns a very healthy 47.1 urban mpg. Like others on this list, CO2 emissions are 99g/km, which means you won’t be paying any car tax at all.
The Twingo zips around town with such ease that you completely forget that driving in the city isn’t supposed to be fun. Even better, its diminutive dimensions mean you can sneak through gaps that a Corsa would baulk at, while a London-taxi-rivalling turning circle allows you to change your mind on pretty much any road.
It can do can do anything you ask of it in the urban jungle and for these reasons alone it’s one of our favourite city cars.
Dimensions: 3.665m x 1.660m
Turning radius: 9.56m
Despite being a city car, the Hyundai i10 is both evidence of the size problem – 80mm longer and 60mm wider than the previous model – and in its own way a solution, as it is still smaller than your average car while remaining one of the largest cars in its segment.
Available in a 1.0 or 1.2 litre engine and either automatic or manual, the Go! 1.0 derivative offers 47.1 urban mpg while only emitting 108g/km of CO2. It’s not a particularly powerful motor, producing just 66hp and 94Nm of torque, but it’s more than enough to get your around town quickly and cheaply.
Better yet, on the motorway it isn’t as out of its depth as some in the segment – at cruising speed the refinement is good and the engine is relatively quiet. So if you’re after a city car predominantly but expect the occasional long-range excursion, the i10 is a great choice.
Dimensions: 3.563m x 1.641m
Turning radius: 10m
Motorists have a long memory. Despite Skoda regularly hitting it out of the park with each new model released, many people still hark back to the brand’s reputation in the early 90s.
SNAP OUT OF IT! Whether it’s the new Kodiaq, the awesome Octavia, or the nippy Citigo, Skoda has a model to suit every need and outstanding quality in every facet – from drive to build.
With a low driving position and small dimensions the Citigo certainly has a go-kart feel to it, but this makes it perfect for getting around all manner of tricks our towns and cities can throw at us – particularly some of the tight parking spaces you may find on the road or in a multistorey.
The entry-level Citigo comes with a 60hp 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. That means it’s great for city driving and can offer mpg of 51.4 (64.2 combined). If you want to opt for the GreenLine model, this comes with stop/start tech and radically ups the economy to 57.6mpg (69.9 combined).
Dimensions: 3.595m x 1.595mm
Turning radius: 9.8m
Kia has developed a reputation as one of the most reliable automotive manufacturers out there, thanks in part to the quality of its builds and its (still) unbeatable seven-year warranty.
With recently revised trims, the Picanto’s main strength remains in providing quick response for quick acceleration up to 50mph. Anything over that and it can be quite sluggish which leaves you feeling a little exposed on motorways. However once it’s up to speed, no matter what environment you’re driving, it’s pretty nippy.
The basic spec five-door 1.0 Picanto also offers seriously cheap motoring, offering free road tax and urban mpg figures of 52.3. This means it is not only cheap to run around town but the 3595x1595mm dimensions means it can squeeze into any parking spot.
Still not convinced? The Kia Picanto was recently voted most dependable city car by JD Power, so if you want good value for money, low running costs, a market-leading warranty and unparalleled dependability, look no further.
Dimensions: 3.455m x 1.615m
Turning radius: 9m
The Toyota Aygo effectively invented the city car formula – small in stature, lively acceleration, three-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, and a choice of three or five doors – so we’d be remiss not to have it on our list.
As cars get bigger and bigger, the Aygo’s compact dimensions only seem smaller and smaller by comparison and at only 3,455x1,615mm it is still one of the smallest cars on the market. On top of that, the steering is light and accurate meaning any manoeuvring is easy and the Aygo turns sharply whether you need to parallel park into a tight gap or make a quick u-turn.
When it comes to economy, the Aygo excels yet again, with an urban mpg of 56.5 and CO2 emissions of only 95g/km meaning it qualifies for free road tax too.