A good value-for-money small car, which makes and models qualify? New cars in this class are available from around €9,000. Used, these small cars hold their value well. Which limits depreciation. This makes it difficult to choose between a new and a second-hand one.   

What points you should take into account when buying a small car you will read in this article. We have also highlighted some models that are frequently sold in this segment. 

Besides the size of the car, in most cases the price plays a major role - after all, buying a used or new car is one of the bigger investments in daily life. 

What distinguishes a small car?

When buying a new or used car, you have the choice of many different vehicle classes - including micro and small cars, middle and upper class or SUVs. Which car falls into which category is not always so easy to determine, however, as there is no fixed definition for this. As a rule, it is assumed that the models within a vehicle class are similar in size and shape and compete on price.

When choosing a model, it is advisable to think in advance about your requirements for a car: how many people should it accommodate, do you mainly drive in town or also regularly on the motorway? And do you want to be able to put a bicycle in the boot? These are all questions you should have answers to before buying a car. Although cheap small cars are generally not pack mules, it is good to check whether the back seat can be folded down. That way, you won't be in for any unexpected surprises later at Ikea. 

A small sized car is convenient in the city

Small cars are well suited to city traffic because of their size. They are particularly manoeuvrable and also fit into small parking spaces - a real advantage in big cities, where parking space is limited. The average dimensions of a small car are about 3.50 metres long and 1.50 metres wide. By comparison, high-range cars had an average size of around 5 metres in length and 2 metres in width - quite a difference.  

In addition, small cars are also relatively cheap compared to the higher segment. As a rule, very cheap small cars are available from around EUR 10,000, but normally you have to reckon with costs of around EUR 11,000 for new vehicles with basic equipment.

However, it should be noted that good and cheap small cars usually offer less comfort, extras and safety and driver assistance systems than higher-end models. For years, it was also true that small cars are much more economical than larger ones. However, this is no longer generally true. The new generation VW Golf is almost as economical as its much smaller brother the VW Up. 

What do Cheap Small Cars cost?  

In the Netherlands, the price of cars is mainly determined by taxes such as BPM and VAT. As a result, there are virtually no cars left that cost less than 10,000 euros new. Dutch prices are 20% higher on average compared to Germany. Below, we have named the most popular models. Which we have also driven ourselves and can therefore make a value judgment about. Besides these the models below are the Kia Picanto, Nissan Micra and Hyundai i10.  

The VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo

You probably have a preference when it comes to brand. Fortunately, most brands have offerings in the smallest segment. The VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo are virtually the same car and share almost all of its parts. These three half-sisters all started at around €9,000 when they were introduced. In the meantime, taxes and inflation have added over 15%. 

The Citroën C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo

Like the VAG models above, the Citroën C1, Peugeot 107 and the Toyota Aygo all have virtually the same parts. This was notable at the time because Toyota has no direct link to the PSA group to which Peugeot and Citroën belong. 

This Japanese/French tandem was offered at its introduction for just over 8,000 euros. The Toyota was the most expensive. Meanwhile, the brands have gone their separate ways and PSA and Toyota no longer share a cheap small car. The new models are all priced above 10,000 Euros. 

The driving experiences  

What can you expect from these small cars when it comes to driving? Most people buying a car in this segment are price-conscious and want a (small) car that matches this philosophy. Still, it is nice if a car comes with some comfort.

The Citroën C1, Peugeot 107 and the Toyota Aygo

The first generation C1, 107 and Aygo is actually quite basic. The insulation is poor and the three-cylinder engine makes its presence clearly heard. Although the engine is present, it does perform nicely in terms of use and performance. Actually, this part, the engine is perhaps the best part of this small car. The top speed is close to 160 km/h and although the 0-100 km/h sprint doesn't look impressive at 13.5 seconds (this is due to the gearbox ratio), it is a lively little engine that is always up for the challenge. Also very reliable - check out this video from autoweek: 


The handling of these types is good, it steers directly and won't surprise you easily. However, this car comes with quite narrow tyres as standard, so grip in fast corners is not infinite. But of course that's not what this little car is meant for at all. On the motorway these days, with a maximum speed of 100 km/h, this car is quite manageable. If you do decide to go 130 km/h after 7pm, it does get a bit uncomfortable in the car because of the engine noise and wind noise. The successors to these cars, for example the Peugeot 108 is a lot more mature on the motorway, the insulation is improved and this car has a lot more comfortable options on board. But whether it is more reliable than its predecessor remains to be seen in coming years. 

Driving experience VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo

You should be able to compare this VAG model, although it is more expensive than the Peugeot 107. Yet the feeling of this little VW model is very different, the interior, the finish and even the interior space seem better matched. This doesn't mean this car is better, it just depends on how you interpret better. In terms of durability, the VW Up and consorts are more sensitive to faults. This is of course because there are more options and electronics in this car. And although the performance is comparable, I do find a Peugeot 107 to be more responsive to the throttle and also a bit sharper on the steering wheel. On the other hand, this VW Up is more comfortable and quieter on the motorway. 

Conclusion VW Up (Mii/Citigo) vs Peugeot 107 (C1/Aygo)  

Between the above models, the VW Up and Peugeot 107, it is difficult to choose. If you want a bit more car for your money and still want to secretly holiday in the south of France, the VW is probably the better choice. This one is just a bit more balanced on long distances and also quieter, the insulation and finish are on a higher level. On the other hand, if you are looking for a car that will always do the job and if you don't attach much value to luxury, then a Peugeot 107 is probably the better choice. This French Japanese is well built and has little complicated technology, so repair costs will never be extremely high.