From excellent fuel efficiency to breezy parking and low maintenance costs, there’s plenty to love about small automatic cars. They’re the vehicles of choice for millions of Brits, with most manufacturers offering their own versions of this popular vehicle class.
Thinking of getting behind the wheel of a small automatic car? This article is for you. Read on as we investigate what are the best small automatic cars in the UK, focusing on factors like fuel economy, family-friendly features, eco credentials and more.
Vauxhall Corsa – Best for 2021
When it comes to sales, the Vauxhall Corsa has made quite the impression in 2021. The new look supermini was relaunched by the British-owned brand in 2020 and captivated motorists with its stylish aesthetic, up-to-the-minute tech, and zippy engine. Sales have skyrocketed in 2021, with the Corsa stepping up as a serious contender to the Ford Fiesta, which has been consistently crowned the best-selling car in the UK for the past few years. Want to go electric? Vauxhall has also launched a pure-electric version of the Corsa with an impressive range of 208 miles.
Nissan Leaf – Best electric small automatic car
A sporty profile, impressive driving range and affordable price tag make the Nissan Leaf our top pick in the best electric small automatic car category. The latest models are equipped with advanced Intelligent Driving technologies developed by Nissan, including the highly anticipated ProPILOT² semi-automated driving system and smart e-Pedal mode.
With EV charging infrastructure continually expanding across the UK, driving a Nissan Leaf is more practical than ever. The only downside is you’ll need a garage or secure parking spot to own a Nissan Leaf or similar, as EVs can be difficult to charge when you rely on street parking.
Toyota Yaris – Best hybrid
If you want to dip your toes into the EV scene but aren’t ready to make a full commitment, the Toyota Yaris is a great compromise. Fast and compact, this model is one of the smallest hybrids on the market and offers an impressive 68mpg running on battery alone. This makes it great for zipping around the city and keeping your eco footprint to an absolute minimum. When you need the reliability of fuel, simply fill up the tank and switch to petrol mode. A CVT gearbox ensures smooth gear transitions around town, though things can get a little noisy at higher speeds. This makes the Yaris a great option for urban driving as opposed to longer road trips.
Audi A1 Sportback – Best for luxury
Sleek and stylish, the Audi A1 Sportback is one of the most luxurious superminis on the market. It promises all the bells and whistles you’d expect from the high-end manufacturer, including luxe interiors and lots of upgrades to choose from. It may be small, but the Audi A1 Sportback doesn’t compromise on space or comfort, making it ideal for both urban runs and long road trips.
Peugeot 208 – Best for fuel-efficiency
If saving money at the forecourt is your top priority, you’ll love the Peugeot 208. Marketed as a “city car with a sporty design” this model offers impressive fuel economy of around 44.3 – 56.7 mpg for the auto petrol version. With the RAC warning that British petrol prices are creeping towards all time highs, there’s no better time to upgrade to a fuel-efficient vehicle. When researching what are the best small automatic cars in the UK for fuel economy, the Peugeot 208 will definitely win a place at the top of your list.
Volkswagen Golf – Best family-friendly small automatic car
It’s difficult to outperform the Volkswagen Golf when it comes to family-friendly features. Brits have loved this model for around 50 years and for good reason. The hatchback is practical, spacious, and comfortable, meaning it can transition from school runs to weekend camping trips with ease.
The 380-litre boot offers lots of space for all your luggage, with the option of folding the rear seats down to create a huge 1270-litre boot. Great if you’re taking the dog to the vet or purchasing a new bike. As well as being packed with family-friendly features, the Volkswagen Golf offers great value for money. Once again, this wins it big points with budget-conscious families in search of a small automatic car.
Ford Fiesta – Best all-rounder
What are the best small automatic cars? The universally loved Ford Fiesta has been winning over Brits for decades. It’s reigned as one of the best-selling cars in the country for years, with motorists falling hard for the fun design, smooth handling, and plucky engine.
While we love Ford Fiestas from the 2010s, the latest models will blow you away with high-tech features and systems. Slide into small spaces with Active Park Assist, sit back and relax with Adaptive Cruise Control and enjoy a smoother and safer ride with Lane Keeping Aid. Once you experience these clever new features, you’ll never want to go back.
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