So on the one hand we have mini-city cars, such as Smart Fortwo, Peugeot 107/108, Volkswagen Up!, Renault Twingo, etc. which are actually designed for strictly urban use and will be reluctant to take the main roads over long distances (although).
And on the other, larger, so-called versatile city cars, for example electric cars, which can be used as your main car, as long as you don’t have a large family… We can mention the Renault Clio, the Peugeot 208, the Citroën C3, the Ford Fiesta, the VW Polo, etc. In any case, this category is experiencing great interest from buyers, and today represents the first in terms of sales, all the more so if we add “urban SUVs” such as Renault Captur or Peugeot 2008.
At Dacia Sandero 2
The Dacia Sandero represents one of the best deals on the used city car market. Admittedly, it discounts little, proof of the enthusiasm it generates, but its prices are so low that a second-hand purchase will always be interesting.
Unlike the first generation, which was clearly low cost, the second generation Sandero, while obviously basic, is still close to a generalist model. Its presentation is more modern and advanced (even more for the Stepway version, with the attributes of an adventurer, see photo), its equipment is enriched with the arrival of Media Nav, Bluetooth, cruise control/speed limiter, ESP, tire pressure loss alert, both of which became mandatory in 2014.
Moreover, this “Franco-Romanian” is very livable, has a large trunk volume (320 liters), and is comfortable. Its only faults are indeed a quality of materials which remains a notch below generalists, with hard plastic everywhere, light soundproofing, and road behavior set back from the best, but quite satisfactory in normal use.
The third generation of Sandero is still a little young and expensive, especially in this time of shortage of used vehicles, to be selected this year, but no doubt we will talk about it very soon. It is even more modern, equipped, soundproofed, versatile, in short, better than the second generation.
Fiat Panda 2 and 3
The second generation of Panda had nothing to do with its rustic elder. It has remained simple, but more modern and comfortable, much better equipped and just as clever. Reliability level, if we except numerous recall campaigns (mostly preventive) and management assistance hazards, the other concerns are minor and for the most part resolved today. What makes that one can buy without fear a occasion. Equipped with the 1.2 69 hp, the engine we recommend, it will have few kilometers for a very low budget. Ideal for the city, it also remains quite sober.
The third generation gains a rounder face, more comfort and a slightly better finish, and above all more cheerful inside. It keeps the very good reliability of its elder and its low prices on occasion. It still exists in a 4×4 version, for those who need it. And it adopts more modern Twin’Air mechanics. But we always recommend the 1.2 69 hp atmospheric, proven and indestructible. Only those who want to get out of the city regularly and take the motorway will need a Twin’Air 0.9 85 hp for example, more efficient but with a heady noise and consumption not so controlled as the official figures suggest. Recently, a micro-hybrid 1.0 70 hp version has been available on the market. It saves a few deciliters of fuel and seems reliable for the moment. So why not.
Ford Fiesta 5
We are talking here about the penultimate generation, the one that arrived in 2008 and was restyled at the end of 2012. It is a gifted city car, a very good student. It is formidable efficiency on the road, where its dynamism will delight all those who like to “drive” rather than “let themselves be driven”. However, it is still quite comfortable. And its engines are sufficient to take it on all terrains. It fishes a little in terms of finish and ergonomics, with a center console that is quite complicated at first glance, because it is very supplied with buttons.
The equipment is complete from the Ghia or Titanium finish (rain and light sensor, cruise control, electrochromic mirror, automatic air conditioning, Bluetooth, etc.). As for the engine, you can opt for the very efficient and powerful 1.0 EcoBoost, in 100, 125 or 140 hp. But it will then be necessary to monitor the timing belt, which can be a concern, but less than for the Puretech from PSA. To avoid worries, and if you don’t go out of town, the naturally aspirated 1.25 82 hp engine is very solid. In pure reliability, he is the best. But his approval is limited.
In terms of prices, as the years go by, they are more and more affordable, even if they have become more expensive lately. However, the Fiesta remains one of the best used price/performance ratios.
It inaugurated with the Yaris Verso and the Meriva the concept of “minispace”, while also remaining a city car. The Jazz is a devilishly homogeneous car. Spacious, the second generation has a very large boot and the possibility of raising the seats of the rear bench seat to fit in green plants or a small bicycle. These are the “Magic seats”. It is also among the most reliable in its category, if not the most reliable, with the Mazda 2. The first generation, less clever but not less livable, is now very affordable, and the second, very successful as we have just to see it, is a little more expensive (but available in a hybrid version, with reduced running costs). The third lost interest in removing the hybrid version precisely, but this type of engine has returned with the 4th and current generation. If you like the Jazz, rush to the first generations (1 and 2), with an almost unbeatable price/benefit ratio. And which start straight away in all weathers, for hundreds of thousands of kilometres.
Beware, the prices of hybrids have dangerously increased. A hybrid Jazz 2 which traded for €7,000 to €8,000 last year can easily be displayed at €11,000 today….
Hyundai i20 II
The Hyundai i20 does not talk about it, nor does it achieve the sales scores of the tenors in the category, of course. But nonetheless, in terms of reliability, quality, equipment, habitability, versatility, it is on par with the best.
Available in a 5-door version but also in a 3-door “coupé” version, and in a version disguised as an “Active” adventurer, it also offers an enviable choice of engines. However, not all of them are modern, especially at launch. Old generation diesels, gasoline without turbo a bit winded and gluttonous. But at least they are tested and do not hold any unpleasant surprises.
During the career, more modern engines were introduced, such as the 100 hp 1.0 T-GDI 3-cylinder petrol engine, which is more efficient and less greedy. Its reliability remains very good to this day. But it is more expensive. After the 2018 restyling, the already rich equipment was further enhanced with the touch screen, Android auto and Apple Car Play functionalities, or lane keeping.
You wouldn’t think of it instinctively, but this Korean chip has some serious tricks up its sleeve: rock bottom prices for the first two generations (although it tends to go up, as with all occasions), completely up-to-date services , and even exemplary reliability.
The first generation lacks a bit of sex appeal, it is true, and appears to be only serious. The second generation, sexier, but also more expensive because more recent, is a must in the category and its reliability is also beyond reproach to date, and the manufacturer’s warranty still runs for a few years, especially for the latest releases (2017). Its plastic is more attractive, and the interior is well finished although still very serious in terms of design and colors.
The very latest generation now also has its place here. Hindsight is now enough to say that its reliability is just as faultless as the other generations. It is simply quite logically more expensive, with ratings backed by a 7-year warranty that still runs for all models in circulation. Equipment and connectivity are more up to date too.
Mazda’s city car hasn’t always shown much appeal. But with the 2nd generation released in 2007, it gained visibility. Attention, we are talking about a car that only makes anecdotal sales in France. However, she landed with a pretty face, and above all good performances on the road, a consequence, above all, of a featherweight. Performance and agility are key. And the reliability chapter is simply almost blank, you won’t have to worry about turning the key in the barrel. The recurring concerns are absent subscribers, which allows you to enjoy this city car serenely. Stay on a gasoline engine, the diesel being particularly badly adapted to this car. A 1.3 86 hp, and even a 1.5 103 hp if you want dynamism will make you happy.
The latest generation of 2 (the 3rd, see photo) is starting to find second-hand easily. It is much more expensive, but it is also officially included in the list of good choices, with reliability that is always on top, a distinctive style, high-quality dynamic performance and up-to-date equipment. But practical aspects set back from the competition.
Peugeot 108/Citroën C1/Toyota Aygo
The Peugeot 108 succeeded a 107 which could have been part of our selection too. But it had some reliability issues. Resolved today, of course, which means that one could also buy one without a second thought. But the 108, whose reliability record is relatively exceptional, at the same time greatly improves the performance of its predecessor. Which makes it one of the most pleasant minicitadines. This of course applies to its second generation cousins Citroën C1 and Toyota Aygo, the “triplet” based on the same technical basis. It is relatively comfortable, sufficiently well soundproofed to consider long journeys, and already sufficiently efficient, even with the small 1.0 68 hp engine. And the 1.2 82 hp gives it wings and great versatility. All with low consumption and a very low cost in use. Only the trunk volume is a bit limited. Overall, few negative points. And a deserved place here, especially as Peugeot stopping its marketing, we will have to rush on the occasion.
Renault Twingo 2
We begin the chapter dedicated to Renault with the smallest of its city cars. The first generation is still a must in terms of practicality and roominess, and remains a good choice for those who put up with average driving pleasure and a high noise level, which it counterbalances with today’s prices. little ones today.
The second version (photo) is much more mature than the first. More comfortable, better soundproofed and finally having efficient and sober diesel engines, it is an excellent choice. Especially since its cost of use is very low (insurance, maintenance, price of parts) and its remarkable reliability. Note that Renault has made very real progress in this area, moreover, for its city cars. Small flat, the basic versions have lost the sliding seat, which is found on the higher finishes (it is therefore necessary to privilege them). The arrival of the latest generation has caused the ratings to settle, but not that much. It is above all the competition between sellers (many) that lowers prices.
The Twingo 3, precisely, does not cause too much talk about it in terms of concerns, but is for the moment less to be recommended, because its rating/benefit ratio is less favourable. It exists in a 100% electric version, for those who want to get rid of fossil fuels.
Renault Clio 3 and 4
The Clio 3 is the archetype of the versatile city car. Its performances are almost worthy of the superior category. It is in any case very homogeneous and encounters fewer reliability concerns than the Clio 2, especially in petrol versions (less true for the 1.5 dCi). Well finished, comfortable, correctly equipped in the middle and top range, it has generally delighted its owners. And with the arrival of the Clio 4, prices will become increasingly attractive on the market.
The Renault Clio 4 precisely. She is starting to have a few years on the clock but remains the queen of French sales! And for the moment, the reliability is not catastrophic (but watch out for the TCe until 2017 and there are always bugs in the R-Link system), which allows it to continue to appear in this selection, alongside its predecessor. Very homogeneous, good road, habitable, well equipped in the high finishes, it mainly sins by a disappointing quality of finish (the best since the restyling of mid-2016). And its prices are not necessarily affordable, but it also resells very well, which compensates. The sobriety of the diesels is also to be credited with a good economic record.
First or second generation, it’s all good. The third is also now a good choice, since hindsight is sufficient to be able to say that for the moment, it shows correct reliability, associated with fairly low prices. Moreover, for all generations, the attractive new prices provide very affordable opportunities. Reliability, if it is not perfect for the second generation (it inherits the concerns of the Polo, based on an identical base and engines), nevertheless leaves peace of mind to owners. Its size allows it great versatility while its sobriety makes up for a little above-average maintenance cost. The estate version (Combi) is a proposal to be studied carefully, because it can be worth it in the middle of rare competitors like the Clio Estate or the 207 SW. The loading volume is indeed record with 505 liters (2nd generation) and 530 liters (3rd generation). Which is as much, or even more than some family cars…
The latest generation of Fabia is very recent. She has grown enormously, is becoming a real all-rounder but charges a high price for her fine performances. It is better to wait before taking an interest in it.
Another Japanese added to our selection. It must be said that the latter are generally friendly, to drive as well as to live, and their reliability is well established. This is the case with this Swift. Because apart from a few box problems on the second generation, and a few minor hiccups on the others, the picture is almost blank. For the very last, released in 2017 (the 4th, see photo), it is still impossible to be categorical about good reliability, even if all the indicators are green. It is larger, more practical and finally with a good volume of trunk.
The oldest are restrained in size and sneak into town like a mouse in its hole. They are lively, alert, and perfectly suited to an urban environment. The presentation is nice from the 2nd generation. The third is quite successful in all areas, and still offers a pleasing sports version. Consumption is correct, the habitability limited by the smaller size than the largest city cars. But its interest really lies in its great robustness, the petrol blocks are indestructible. The latest generation is more versatile, very pleasant to drive, efficient because it is still light and equipped with sober micro-hybrid engines.
Generation after generation, the Yaris remains among the best used choices. Of course, the first and the second had a lot of recalls but suddenly, no serious problem to deplore. It is very economical, wear parts have a longevity well above average. Even if they are more expensive, it is profitable. The third generation is still a bit expensive, but the first ones have now been well discounted, and you can find them from €5,000. It is also available in a hybrid version car, which makes it an even more economical city car to use, but it is more expensive (from €9,000 for a standard mileage, a price which is rising at the moment despite the passing years).
The second generation is the least pleasant, it is really cheap in finish and its look is the one that has aged the least well. It remains recommendable, but a first generation will be less expensive (from €2,000), and a more opulent current generation (but less practical, with less storage and without a sliding bench seat, which was the delight of the previous ones).
Second-hand prices are also likely to drop gradually, with the arrival of the 4th generation on the market. The latter is very recommendable, but it displays elitist second-hand prices. Second-hand prices are also likely to drop gradually, with the arrival of the 4th generation on the market. The latter is very recommendable, but it displays elitist second-hand prices. Second-hand prices are also likely to drop gradually, with the arrival of the 4th generation on the market. The latter is very recommendable, but it displays elitist second-hand prices.