City Car Manufacturer of the Year
City Cars are classified as cars with tailpipe CO₂ emissions of less than 120 g/km.
2020 Winner: Toyota
2019 Winner: Suzuki
Alongside 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre efficient petrol engines, this years’ winner also produces a mild-hybrid version of its supermini. Its Smart Hybrid Vehicle system incorporates an Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) which acts as both a generator and starter motor, coupled with a small lithium-ion battery under the passenger seat that stores energy and has an idle stop function.
2018 Winner: Mini
Mini’s first plug-in hybrid, the Countryman PHEV, was launched in 2017 and has seen huge demand from fleets. It comes with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol and an electric motor to develop 221bhp overall and provide much improved fuel economy and emissions over the rest of the range. The electric only mode manages 26 miles and allows the Countryman to accelerate to 60mph in under seven seconds. Standard features include a 6.5-inch touchscreen, bluetooth, alloy wheels, air conditioning, multifunction steering wheel, chrome detailing and rear parking sensors.
Now fully owned by Daimler, the Smart brand has offered electric versions of each previous generation of Fortwo, but now offers electric drivetrains across its range. The third-generation has been developed in an industry-standard joint venture with Renault. Branded as Smart EQ, the Fortwo, Fortwo Cabrio and Forfour feature a high-performance on-board charger which allows all three to charge from empty in 3.5 hours for a range of up to 99 miles. A regenerative braking system harnesses kinetic energy to help charge the battery.
Roomier than most city cars, the Celerio provides an extra seatbelt, making it a five-seater in a segment where four is the norm. Powered by Suzuki’s K10B 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine (the diesel variant was discontinued in February 2017) it emits 99g/km with a Dualjet version featuring start-stop technology and emitting 84g/km of CO2. Manufactured for Europe at Suzuki Motor Thailand, six airbags and ESP fitted as standard safety equipment for all UK models with Auto Gear Shift now fitted as standard equipment on SZ4 model.
An integral part of the ŠKODA range since 2012, the CITIGO shares components with the Seat Mii and Volkswagen Up. Available in three and five-door versions, a 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine emits 96g/km of CO2. For safety as standard, the City Safe Drive brake assist system uses a laser sensor to automatically slow the car if it senses danger of a collision. One step up from the base model, the SE brings upgrades including air-conditioning, 60:40 split-folding rear seats and height-adjustment on the driver’s seat. CITIGO is to be joined by a fully electric version, with production to begin in 2019 and offering an increased range over the VW e-Up.
The i10 has been a huge success for Hyundai. Its latest version benefits from technology to make it one of the safest vehicles in its class. It comes with a choice of two petrol engines, 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre, driving the front wheels through five-speed manual as standard or an optional four-speed automatic gearbox. The sleek design results in a drag coefficient of just 0.31, one of the best in its class. All models comply with the latest Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standards with the 1.0 litre variant achieving 50mpg in real-world driving tests. CO2 emissions come in at 117g/km.
Smart has been leading the way since 1998 with its conveniently small models perfect for driving in and around the city. Larger than the two-seat Fortwo, the Forfour Electric Drive is as compact as a Smart despite being a four-seater and offers a range of around 99 miles on a single charge. Zero emissions helps make cities cleaner and the Smart Electric Drive models are also exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
The fifth-generation supermini that is the all-new Nissan Micra was released earlier this year and has three responsive and efficient downsized engines available - two petrol and one diesel - all linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. It has a best-in-class drag coefficient of just 0.29 to maximise fuel efficiency. Perfect for short journeys and city driving, it is among the widest and lowest models in the B-hatchback segment.
The Renault Twingo first appeared in 1992 and the latest version was first open for sales in 2014. It has combined cycle fuel economy of 67.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 95g/km. Another desirable model is the new Zoe, which offers a 250-mile NEDC range on one charge, which equates to around 186 miles in real-world use. With new Z.E. 40 battery, it provides greater range and more flexibility with six variants to choose from.
The Celerio range is perfect for inner-city drivers, featuring three models - the SZ2, SZ3 and the Celerio City. With emissions on Dualjet versions as low as 84g/km, its as clean as city cars get. The Ignis combines funky design and go-anywhere ability, and features a mild hybrid Dualjet SHVS engine on some models for improved economy. The new 2017 Swift also offers hybrid and four-wheel drive options as well as 62.7mpg.
Described as an “innovative, bold and fun-looking urban city car”, the new Kia Picanto, released earlier this year, boasts a range of updated technology and a more spacious and practical interior. It also has a fuel consumption of up to 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 101g/km with the ‘1’ 1.0 66bhp five-speed manual model. Also new is the supermini-sized Rio, with a more spacious interior and start/stop technology.
Available in three-door and five-door versions, the small three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engines in Skoda’s Citigo range are flexible and enable nimble driving around town or outside of the city. The more practical five-door is compact, yet roomy with CO2 emissions of 101g/km and a combined mpg of 64.2. The 1.0 60PS GreenTech meanwhile records 96g/km, making it an ideal option in the city car segment.
In spring 2017, MINI presented the first ever production plug-in hybrid model from the British premium brand in the form of the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid. The new MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 achieves CO2 emissions from 49g/km and a combined mpg of up to 134.5. It has impressed customers with its combination of versatility, handling and the option of zero local emissions.
Perhaps the most iconic of city cars, the Fiat 500 has received further tweaks to make it an even more attractive proposition for emissions-conscious fleets. Both versions of the 900cc TwinAir petrol engine are available with start/stop technology, while the 1.3 litre Multijet Diesel variant and a 1.2 litre eco petrol version both provide sub-90g/km emissions for zero road tax and reduce BIK from 17 per cent to 14 per cent. These significant additions to Fiat’s range enhanced the marque’s position as a city car leader.
Well suited to business drivers, the Mini 3-door Hatch achieves up to 83.1mpg (combined) and features intelligent sensors that take the guesswork out of tricky driving situations. Launched in 2014 and providing further options for the fleet market, the Mini 5-door Hatch, delivers the same distinctive styling with combined fuel economy of 80.7mpg and CO₂ emissions from 92g/km. Auto start/stop, an optional Green Driving Mode and a BIK rate of 18 per cent are also seen as an incentive for fleet drivers.
In 2016 Smart continued to be a highly popular choice. Perfectly suited to city driving, the now iconic design of the fortwo has been an everyday sight since its launch in 1998, decorated by the branding of businesses both large and small across the UK and Europe. The third generation fortwo, developed as a joint venture with Renault, features power steering as standard and a completely new design. The eagerly anticipated Smart electric drive is set for launch in early 2017.
Hyundai’s second generation i10 is available in 1.0 and 1.2 litre engines, with modifications to the gearbox which are said to improve fuel consumption by one per cent. The Blue Drive variant features Intelligent Stop & Go, low rolling resistance tyres and an optimum gear change indicator which combine to reduce CO₂ to 98g/km. This helps push the i10 into the zero road tax bracket - an important consideration for fleet buyers.
The Skoda Citigo, available in 3 door and 5 door versions, features the same styling as the Seat Mii and VW Up, but has been brought to market at a much lower cost. The 59bhp and 74bhp engine variants report emissions of 103g/km and 105g/km respectively, with the GreenTech models making the most of eco-enhancements, including low-rolling resistance tyres and stop-start, to push CO₂ down to 95g/km. Attractive pricing and the sub-100g/km option make this a serious fleet player in the city car segment.
In 2015, Citroën re-introduced an electric supermini to its already impressive line-up that now offers a range of 61 cars that are sub- 100grams per kilometer. With an ever-expanding range of efficient three-cyclinder petrol engines helping make the shift away from diesel.