These 1.0-litre city cars are compact, frugal and cheap to buy and run

A 1.0-litre economical city car could be ideal for your urban commute, here are our five of the best.

1. Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost (2013-present)

In 2013 Ford brought the 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine from the Focus into the Fiesta line-up, where it was met with near-universal acclaim for its excellent throttle response and impressive urban performance.

Today the Fiesta’s 99g/km CO2 emissions and 65.7mpg combined economy (figures shared by both the 99bhp model and the higher-powered 123bhp version) make it an attractive proposition, and you can pick one up for around £7000.

Problems have been few, but some owners have reported issues with Ford’s Powershift automatic transmission where fitted, particularly in relation to its oil seals.

2. Volkswagen Up (2011-present)

The truth is that any of the Volkswagen Group’s city car trio - the VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo - is a great bargain buy for city dwellers, but it’s the stylish and comfortable Up that brings the best blend of affordable running costs and luxury.

Under the bonnet is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine developing either 59bhp or 74bhp. While the lower-powered version can find itself quickly out of its depth anywhere other than in the city, the 74bhp model is fine for adventures farther afield on the motorway. Expect to pay upwards of £4500 for a secondhand example.

3. Toyota Yaris 1.0 VVT-i (1999-2005)

Used examples of the 1.0-litre Toyota Yaris — which at the time of its launch in 1999 was said to offer performance equivalent to that of a 1.4 — can be found for as little as £450. For that, you’ll get a 68bhp 1.0-litre engine that can sprint you from rest to 60mph in a fairly sluggish 13.2sec. You’ll top out at 96mph, too, but enjoying more than 50mpg won’t be too much trouble.

Early models start at around £500. A reputation for solid reliability, low insurance quotes and cheap replacement parts means that the Yaris remains a good choice for first-time buyers and money-conscious motorists.

4. Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 (1993-2000)

Vauxhall’s Ford Fiesta rival has been using 1.0-litre engines since 1982, when the model was known as the Nova. A 1997 update brought with it the option of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with 54bhp, which was enough to get you to 60mph in a hardly hair-raising 16.5sec and on to a top speed of 93mph.

Expect fuel consumption of around 50mpg without too much effort. Combine that with typically low insurance quotes and the Corsa is often seen as an ideal first car. Prices for high-mileage examples start at about £250, but expect to pay upwards of £450 for a good runner in fair condition.

5. Nissan Micra (1992-2003)

When the second-generation Micra was launched, it brought with it a new 54bhp 1.0-litre engine. While the small-capacity option failed to receive much in the way of praise from the media, the Micra was nevertheless crowned European Car of the Year in 1993.

Today, you’re best off buying a Micra built after 1997, when a mid-life facelift resulted in styling changes and the standard fitment of power steering across the range. A reputation for reliability and solid build quality ensures the Micra’s popularity on the used car market, and tidy 1.0-litre examples can still be found for as little as £300 today.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

Join the debate

Comments
6

6 April 2015
Are the UP! engines really turbocharged?

6 April 2015
Course not. Sloppy.

6 April 2015
Also strange that there is no mention of the issues some owners of 1.0 Ecoboosts have had with lost coolant leading to engine failure and replacement.

6 April 2015
.... also the official 'fantasy' fuel consumption figures.

Wide cars in a world of narrow.

6 April 2015
Aygo/C1/107?

7 April 2015
I'm not so sure that any of these models are good buys used. They're too much in demand, hold their prices so well that it might be better to buy new, take advantage of any manufactures' offers, cheap servicing deals etc and a long warranty. Of course, you can probably buy the old model Aygo/C1/107 fairly cheaply, or the old model Hyundai i10, but the latest models are so much better and still won't break the bank.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK