After an accident that wasn’t their fault, and a clutch that gave up the ghost, it became clear to Sue and Simon Worthington that it was time to replace their 2007 Toyota Aygo.
The couple from Kent, who live with their two young sons, want to spend around £6,000 on a used city car and would like something that’s more fun than their current model.
Here are three chic and fun choices that meet this budget…
Fiat 500: As chic as city cars come for £6,000
Sue and Simon’s current Toyota Aygo was bought because it was competitively priced and came with the perception of being reliable. Style didn’t enter the equation.
Fiat’s chic 500 would represent a real change for the family, but a change they will no doubt enjoy. The hatchback looks cool on the outside and keeps up its stylish appearances on the inside too; a funky dashboard, vibrant fabrics and exposed panel sections that match the exterior colour.
It’s also surprisingly accommodating. The back seat carries two adults in comfort, and the boot is far from outclassed. There have been some interesting special editions since it was launched in 2008, including the appealing Colour Therapy. And the engine needs choosing with care, the 1.2-litre or 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol motors being good options.
Mini Cooper: The most fun city car for £6,000
There is something about the Mini Cooper that suggests it’s always up for a good time.
Some of that is down to the way it looks. But a lot of it has to do with the way the car drives. All the controls feel responsive and the car seems alert and agile, ducking and diving its way along a twisting road or nipping in and out of city traffic.
You sit low on the floor, which makes getting in and out a bit more of an effort compared with most hatchbacks. And the two back seats are seriously snug so Sue and Simon’s two growing boys will need to try it out for size, especially given that the earlier Mini hatchbacks were only available with a three-door body. And although the fuel economy of 52mpg is acceptable, it’s not the best of these three city cars.
Minis aren’t cheap either. Popularity means they hold their value well as they age – great news for owners, but buyers often have to accept an older car for their budget. 2008 Cooper hatchbacks, with around 30,000 miles on the clock, can be found for around £6,000.
Skoda Citigo: The best £6,000 used city car for customer service
Let’s face it - no matter how much money we spend on a car, we expect to get a good standard of service from the manufacturer’s dealers. And it’s here that Skoda scores highly. Not only is the Citigo a cracking city car, it comes supported by some of the best dealers in Britain.
That’s the view of 61,000 readers of Auto Express, who ranked Skoda the third best manufacturer in the country, just behind Jaguar and Lexus. And it’s five places ahead of Toyota, the maker of Sue and Simon’s current car.
But will the car leave its owner as satisfied as the dealers? In a word, yes. The Citigo has a perky, three-cylinder petrol engine that makes a distinctive thrum and can manage as much as 67mpg – if you pick the 1-litre, 74bhp version found in the GreenTech model.
It’s also affordable to service and seriously cheap to insure, important considerations for drivers looking to minimise their motoring costs.
The interior is simple but smart. It’s also surprisingly spacious, carrying four adults in some degree of comfort. And Skoda offers a choice of three-door and five-door body styles, although the boot is tiny.