Best small cars on the road in 2016
The market for small cars has changed radically over the last 10 years. No longer are people forced to choose between the diminutive stature of a supermini and hulking mass of a coupé. There’s now a whole smorgasbord of options in-between, from the mini-MPV to the SUV crossover.
In honour of this advancement, we’ll take a look at the bijou end of the market and tell you which are the best small cars to look out for in 2016:
Ford’s Fiesta has been a staple of small-scale motoring since its inception back in 1976, and it just keeps on getting better. The 2016 edition promises updated styling, feather-light handling and a whole host of new driver and entertainment tech. Plus, overall boot space has been upped to 295-litres (979-litres with folded seats), and you’ll get access to Ford’s award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.
Among the ultimate family motors, Hyundai’s ix20 is a mini-MPV that gives you space and practicality at a price that will leave a little extra wiggle room. The South Korean manufacturers are incrementally improving the quality of features but keeping prices low. Higher-spec models represent the most value in the range and are likely to do well at holding back against overall depreciation.
The Fiat Panda has graced our streets since 1980, becoming ever-more versatile in adapting to the challenges of modern driving. Buyers can choose the TwinAir petrol engine, which generates 67.3mpg, to save money on both fuel and road tax. Or, they can even choose a 4×4 option like the Pandas of yesteryear. And, you’ll get the familiar urban car body composition, with a high vantage point, upright stance and spacious cabin with handy storage areas.
The Qashqai revolutionised the market by introducing the first truly workable small SUV crossover. Nissan has re-invested their profits wisely, keeping the Qashqai ahead of the pack with a complete overall of the interior, which now boasts an upgraded layout and fabrics, as well as a ton of new technology. It has picked up a host of accolades along the way, including WhatCar?’s ‘Best Small SUV’ (2015 and 2016) and Euro NCAP’s ‘Safest Small Family Car’ (2014).
Ford’s B-Max gives you all the great features of the legendary Fiesta, but adds an extra dash of practicality. Taller overall than the Fiesta, designers have removed the ‘B’ pillar from the B-Max and added a sliding door, which is almost unheard of in a car of this size. Whether you’re juggling a kids’ seat or assisting an elderly relative, this can give you the scope that you need to manage in comfort.
If you’re looking for a small family car that won’t break the bank, the SEAT Leon might just be it. It comes in estate, SC (sporty) and versatile five-door formats, alongside a slice of Latin passion. The SEAT manages to stay comfortable and refined while also staying nimble, but the real bonus is in the car’s spaciousness. Five adults can fit comfortably inside regardless of the model, and boot capacity starting at 380-litres gives you an awful lot to play with.
Last but not least, the Mazda 3 is a fine example of why the Japanese manufacturer is now about so much more than just top-of-the-line roadsters. Something of a generalist, the Mazda 3 achieves highly in all areas, balancing practicality with performance. The ‘SkyActiv’ platform has tightened up the ride and handling, while the diesel variant is more than a match for the far pricier Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI when it comes to torque.
There you have it. There are now small cars to suit just about every taste, need and budget, and 2016 is set to see another bumper crop. If you’re thinking of purchasing a new car this year and are stuck for a place to start, just review this list and see which car is speaking your language.