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Five of the best city cars to buy in 2023

Looking for a new car to nip about the city in? We've got you covered!

The Fiat 500e is among the best city cars currently available.

The Fiat 500e is among the best city cars currently available.

A city car is perfect if you're driving in and around an urban environment.

And the great news is that there's plenty to choose from.

These smaller cars make city driving seem a breeze thanks to their low running costs and exceptional manoeuvrability.

Here, we take a look at five of the best city cars on the market.

BMW i3

Famous for its powerhouse vehicles and cruising confidently along motorway stretches, the German manufacturer has introduced a neat and tidy EV which can manoeuvre tricky city streets with expected efficiency.

The BMW i3 has a sporty, peppy exterior, with BMW’s signature kidney grille providing a familiar touch. Elsewhere in the exterior, it has the neatness of a city car and extremely smart dual-colour paintwork surfaces.

For charging performance, BMW claims a range of 182 – 190 miles fully charged, the equivalent of a London-to-Brighton commute and back – more than what 90% of the drivers in the UK will do on a daily basis. And BMW’s EV technology is so advanced that its I3 can even be charged through domestic solar panels, a forward-thinking slant on an already progressive fuel choice.

Volkswagen up!

While it’s the most diminutive model in the German manufacturer’s range, the up! still punches above its weight in both style and performance. Available with 3- and 5-door versions, its bright and fun outer bodywork is matched by a stylish interior. Featuring intricate stitching on its front seats and room to fit two passengers comfortably in the rear, even families can take to the town in the up! with confidence. All models above entry level come with air conditioning, too, helping keep you cool no matter how many pesky traffic lights halt your progress.

A notable addition to the up! range is the R-Line, with VW promising ‘attitude’, amongst other quantifiable things like tinted side and rear windows and 16-inch alloys, with 17-inch ‘paragon black’-coloured alloys an additional option.

Can’t hear yourself think in the noise of the city? Then it’s time to block it out, with up! beats, a system featuring six loudspeakers, an 8-channel digital amp, and, most impressive of all, a subwoofer in the spare wheel well. The ‘beats’ style package also contains ambient lighting for in-cabin immersion to go along with that driving music, and a leather multi-function steering wheel ensuring you can keep a handle on the up! at every turn.

Fiat 500e

A classic city car with renewed sophistication, the Fiat 500 navigates the busy piazza just as well as it does the open road – and now it’s available with electric power.

Starting with the 500’s exterior, the front bumper is emblazoned with the ‘500’ logo, and a metallic matte paint finish, giving the outer bodywork a stunning look from the front.

Other exterior features include LED lighting at both the front and rear of the car in the range-topping Icon trim, complete with 500 logo in the rear lighting, a neat little detail touch.

The car’s two-spoked steering wheel has a nice feel and is easily adjustable, while there’s a digital instrument display for the driver and a touchscreen infotainment system with app pairing connectivity for the rest of the crew.

And while a new-age powertrain, featuring a 24kWh battery with 115 miles’ driving range or a 42kWh battery with a respectable range of 199 miles on full charge, perhaps deprives the 500 of its sports car compatriots’ powerhouse appeal, as a city car it could prove the pride of the peninsula.

Kia Picanto

A highly-rated South Korean city car that’s available in five trims; if it’s sporty street style you’re after, then you’ll want to get your hands on either the GT-Line or GT-Line S, with stunning aesthetic details like twin exhausts, tinted windows, and chrome exterior panelling. In the cabin, too, these sporty lines are strongly laid out, with leather-effect seating and vibrant design and colour stitching on the seating and instrument trims.

Even the more basic trim lines offer air conditioning, body colour door handles and alloy wheels for a smattering of sporty flair. However, it’s the range-topping GT-Line S where, amidst all the buzz of the city, you’ll benefit from a 7-inch touchscreen and steering wheel controls at thumb’s reach – all the better for firing up the sat nav and charting your path home. And for that drive back to the banlieue, you’ll benefit from the car’s punchy choice of engines, such as the top-spec’s GT-Line S’s turbocharged 1.0-litre T-GDi with 99 bhp, going from 0-62 mph in 9.9 seconds.

Vauxhall Corsa

The award-winning Vauxhall Corsa is currently the UK’s best-selling supermini.

Corsa has been sold in the UK since 1993. Since then, through five generations, it has been a sales sensation, selling 2.28 million cars in the UK since 1993, while also proving popular in Europe with over 13.5 million sold.

The latest generation Vauxhall Corsa launched at the end of 2019 and is available with efficient petrol engines as well as with a fully electric powertrain. The Corsa-e is powered by a 50kWh battery and a 136PS (100kW) electric motor and is capable of up to 222 miles (WLTP test cycle) from a single charge. Capable of supporting up to 100kW rapid charging, an 80% charge takes just 30 minutes to complete.

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