Best city cars
A small car can still be stylish
The best city cars

The best cars to make you look good in the city

  • Published 4 April 2020
  • 6 minute read
  • By Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

If you don’t take a cheeky look at your reflection as you drive past a shop window, you’re in the wrong car. What’s the point of donning your best clothes and perfecting your hairstyle if your car is as glamorous as a sack of spuds?

We’ve selected seven cars that are small but perfectly formed, making them ideal for our congested city streets. Because they’re stylish and cheap to lease, you’ll have more money left to spend in the shops when you’re turning heads on the high street.

Also read: best cars to lease for less than £250 a month

Citroen C1

Compact yet chicCars to make you look good in the city - Citroen C1 Available to leaseLease Now

The Citroen C1 is one of the cheapest cars you can lease, but don’t confuse affordability with an absence of style. With eight body colours available and a choice of contrasting roofs, you’re certain to find a look that rocks your world.

Choose the top-spec C1 Flair for air-conditioning, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 15-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav and a reversing camera. For the ultimate indulgence, opt for the Airscape model, which features a full-length fabric roof. It’s one of the cheapest ways to go topless in the city.

PCP vs Lease: our jargon-busting guide to car finance

Seat Mii Electric

Going green in affordable styleCars to make you look good in the city - Seat Mii ElectricAvailable to lease Lease Now

Do you fancy some Mii time? The Seat Mii Electric is one of the most affordable electric cars you can buy. It’s also rather brilliant.

If you rarely venture beyond the urban sprawl – given the speed of the wi-fi outside of the city, we wouldn’t blame you – the Mii Electric is perfect. It’ll cover a claimed 162 miles on a single charge, while an 80 percent fill-up is possible in just 40 minutes using a 40kw public charger. It’s fun to drive, loaded with kit and practical enough for you and your mates.

Should I lease a diesel car or is it time to plug in?

Fiat 500C

A true urban iconCars to make you look good in the city - Fiat 500C Available to leaseLease Now

Grazia magazine doesn’t build cars, but if it did, the chances are the result would look something like the Fiat 500C. With the fabric roof folded back, it can turn the streets of Milton Keynes into Milan, Romsey into Rome and Nantwich into Naples.

Choosing your favourite trim level will be as pleasurable as selecting your best frock for a night out, and there’s an array of accessories available if you want to add a little more glamour. New for 2020 is the addition of a mild hybrid which cuts fuel consumption in traffic, so you can show you’re tipping your coppola to the planet.

Volkswagen Up

The smallest VW you can buyCars to make you look good in the city - Volkswagen UpAvailable to lease Lease Now

Three-door or five-door, petrol or electric, the Volkswagen Up is the world’s best city car, full-stop. It offers big car levels of practicality, a strong image and build quality that would shame a car twice its price.

The Up is brilliant in the city, but on those occasions when you make a break for the countryside, you’ll find it’s just as comfortable on a long drive. Finding a look that’s right for you will be easy, as there’s a range of trim levels to choose from. Highlights include the Beats model with its upgraded sound system, and the White Edition with alloy wheels, door mirrors and a roof finished in – you guessed it – white.

If that’s not enough, you can even order your Up as a performance GTI model or an eco-friendly electric car. This is definitely one of the must-own city cars of 2020.

Or try a Volkswagen Polo - read the review on CarZing

Volkswagen T-Cross

SUV looks, city-friendly sizeCars to make you look good in the city - Volkswagen T-CrossAvailable to lease Lease Now

It won’t have escaped your notice that a lot of your friends are driving crossovers and faux-by-fours, but what’s the appeal? Quite simply, they offer the raised ride height and practicality of a larger SUV, combined with the low running costs of a hatchback.

The Volkswagen T-Cross is a good case in point. Although it’s based on the VW Polo, its chunky stance and loftier suspension make it feel a touch more premium than the supermini. Dare we suggest you’ll also feel a little safer in the T-Cross?

All versions are well equipped, with the entry-level T-Cross S boasting 16-inch alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen and DAB radio for access to a wider spread of digital radio stations. If you’re feeling brave, you can dress the T-Cross in some pretty daring outfits, with plentiful options to personalise your car.

Or try an Audi Q2 - read the review on CarZing

Mini Convertible

Let your hair downCars to make you look good in the city - Mini Convertible Available to lease Lease Now

The Mini Convertible goes from cool to cooler in just 18 seconds. That’s the time it takes to open the electric roof. With the hood up, it feels like a regular Mini Hatchback, which is high praise, but with the roof down you’ll feel like a million dollars.

Because you’re never more than 18 seconds from a spot of rain in the UK, the roof can be raised on the move at speeds of up to 18mph. Shrinking violets need not apply, because doing this on the move will turn more heads than a Philip Treacy fascinator.

Top tip: you don’t need to venture too far up the price list to enjoy the good life. The entry-level Cooper Classic is cheap to run and features the same sky above your head and wind in your hair as a top-spec Mini Convertible.

Luxury cars that don't cost the earth

Mazda MX-5

Even more fun than it looksCars to make you look good in the city - Mazda MX-5Available to lease Lease Now

The Mazda MX-5 is the world’s most popular sports car, so buying one won’t make you a trendsetter. But dedicated followers of fashion will love its blend of style, handling and performance at prices you won't believe.

Don’t dismiss the MX-5 as a car that’s best reserved for weekend blasts through the countryside or for hunting down fellow sports cars on a track. There’s joy to be found in the city, too.

On a Sunday morning, before the street cleaners emerge from their slumber, the city is an ideal playground for the MX-5. Whether it’s revelling in the sharp steering on a mini roundabout, or playing slingshot between speed cameras, there’s nothing quite like driving a sports car through a deserted town.

If nothing else, enjoy the sound of the exhaust echoing off the sides of buildings and the sight of your reflection in the windows of the empty shops. When you’re done, enjoy a fresh coffee as you give your MX-5 a knowing nod from the opposite side of the road.

Sorry, we got a little carried away there… But it's one of our favourite affordable sports cars and you'll be the envy of your mates in one of these.

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