With so many people living in close proximity to each other, it's not surprising that everything in Britain seems to be small. You can certainly see this on the roads of the kingdom, where small cars abound, and there is a great deal of competition among manufacturers for consumer attention. If you're trying to zero in on your next purchase, what are some of the leading candidates in the small car market?
Ford wins first prize in the manufacturer competition with the evergreen Fiesta, and that's no small accolade. Once again on top of the pile in 2020, this car drives as well as it looks and you can choose from a dizzying array of models.
Some consumers find the Fiesta a little tight inside when it comes to the three-door models, and there's not as much boot space as others in its class. Yet if you can get past that, you can expect a very smooth and confident ride and a selection of different engine configurations. If you're looking for some extra fun, check out the ST versions, where you'll find some of the technology from the company's successful motorsport campaigns.
Vauxhall gave Ford a run for their money in terms of 2020 small vehicle sales, and you can now buy an all-electric version as well. Again, this is a tried and tested model that has been around since the mid-90s, and not likely to go away any time soon.
Corsa suffers from a lack of interior space, just like Fiesta, but the boot area is more accommodating. In terms of power, choose from diesel, petrol or electric mobility in the all-new Corsa-e.
The driving experience is predictable and comfortable, and this Vauxhall may have a better interior trim, tech and infotainment system than the Ford. All in all, though, there is little to push these two apart.
While Honda has more than one entry in the small car race, the all-electric E is definitely worthy of attention. It is the first mass-market EV and hits the showrooms in 2021, although we will see how long it takes for an exclusively small electric car to penetrate this competitive category.
The E is undoubtedly the epitome of a small car and, being realistic, is only a city dweller. It's got a limited range and even though it's relatively pricey, does qualify for the generous UK government grant.
If you want to stand apart and turn heads, you will be happy, as the E has a very funky design with a retro colour scheme.
Some people think that the Honda E looks a lot like the Mini, and that's no bad thing. Surely this design is the most iconic of any make, and the relaunch was definitely a success for BMW.
Mini has a five-door variant for your deliberation, so it is much easier to access than the base car. It comes with a bigger boot, an unmistakable interior and plenty of options as well. In fact, there are no fewer than 17 different trims and seven engine variants, with an electric Mini on your showroom floor too.
If you've been around long enough, you may remember Mini's historic victory on the Monte Carlo Rally. You can still celebrate some of this heritage with a 2 L John Cooper Works version, or even a Paddy Hopkirk Edition.
The fourth-generation Rio features a new platform and more powerful engines, as the company tries to make inroads into this coveted category. While it's not the most exciting car to look at, it does drive very well, and there is plenty of punch from the new turbocharged motors.
Inside, designers have done well to provide plenty of front and rear space, with above-average room in the boot. The Rio returns good economy at the pump as well, and it competes on price with the category leaders. Also, you'll get plenty of equipment and connectivity at the entry-level.
VW has a solid reputation in the marketplace for providing practical, comfortable and well-built cars, and Polo is no exception. It's a worthy candidate for your consideration alongside category-leading Fiesta and Corsa.
The interior is very roomy, and there is a massive boot. You'll find some of the latest technology as standard, including an automatic emergency brake system and adaptive cruise control.
As you might expect, Volkswagen provides a range of diesel and petrol engines, from the sluggish to the sportiest and Polo is enticing to drive on the open road.
Peugeot has always been stylish, and the 208 certainly has good looks. It's available in diesel, petrol or electric versions and you're sure to be pleased by its interior design.
On the open road, the 208 scores well although some drivers find it a little less predictable in a tight environment. Yet you will find a well-designed dashboard, with a high-resolution infotainment system and plenty of cutting-edge technology to take your mind off that.
The interior space and boot capacity may not be very generous, but it should nevertheless be quite enough for the average family.
If you love motorsport, you may know that Hyundai won the 2020 World Rally Championship with the i20, albeit a very heavily modified version. However, the car you can buy in your showroom looks and feels a lot sportier than its immediate predecessor, and you may find that this is the one for you in the fun department.
Hyundai only provides you with one engine choice: a 1 L, turbocharged petrol motor, with some low-end hybrid technology thrown in. It'll give you plenty of performance and at least a reasonable ride over those undulating country roads.
Open the door of the i20, and you find a welcoming interior, with quality materials and a well-configured infotainment system.
And finally, if you're looking for the cheapest small car for sale in the UK, Fiat's Panda may be for you. The Italian company fully intends this to be a city car, but it has a surprising amount of space inside and a good-sized boot. Don't expect too much performance or refinement on the open road, however, but Fiat's are much more reliable these days, for your peace of mind.