Oversized cars are overrated. You don’t need a 20-foot SUV to drive around cities, and you can get away with a much smaller vehicle if you want to have fun on twisty, winding country roads. That’s why we turned to you in order to uncover the best small cars out there.
We asked what you think are the best small cars of all time. Here are some of those answers.
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Renault Clio RS 200
Renault Clio RS 200
“Mk3 Renault Clio RS 200 – last of the manual NA cars. Base shell was used for the one-make series called the Clio Cup. The engine is the same between the road and race cars, and revs to 7400. You can bolt on the race car suspension parts to get a well handling street car with a full interior, or upgrade to a race car and run slicks.
“They are practical, can do around 30 mpg on the highway, come with a folding rear bench and Recaro Sportster CS seats out of the box. I love mine.”
The Clio Renault Sport hot hatch has been on offer from the French car maker since 1998. The MkIII Clio RS 200 came in 2009 and brought an improved exhaust system, faster acceleration and improved fuel economy.
The MkIII also came in several limited edition variants, including one to celebrate Renault’s partnership with the Red Bull F1 team.
Suggested by: bedoe
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“EF Civic – specifically the hatch. It offered a combination of light weight, great handling, enough power to get out of its own way, a slick-shifting 5spd, and fuel injection.
“Knock down the rear seats and the little bread wagons could hold a fridge.”
From 1987, the EF Civic gets high praise here – as do a host of other Civic models that were also suggested in the comments. The fourth-generation Civic hatchback offered 70hp in the base configuration, while the 1989 Civic Si boosted that up to 108hp.
Suggested by: Scott Pro (Facebook)
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“1991 Swift GTi. Just over 1700lbs, 100HP, fantastic handling, practical interior, nice clean styling. Fuel economy measured in miles per cup. First car I ever bought new. Bulletproof reliability. It lasted me over 10 years and the second owner at least 4 more, and I drove it like I stole it. Big smiles all the time.”
The Suzuki Swift premiered in Japan in 1983 and proved popular for its small size, modest looks and practical stylings.
Suggested by: andyindividual
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Fiat 500 Abarth
Fiat 500 Abarth
“Fiat 500 Abarth. If you haven’t driven one, you will never understand.”
Often regarded as the daddy of powerful, small cars. The 500 Abarth has taken many guises since its debut in 1964, each packed with added performance and aggressive styling. Abarth recently celebrated the heritage of the 500 with a bonkers limited edition, which packed a huge spoiler and 180hp.
Suggested by: Jacob Hoffman (Facebook)
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“It handles like a dream, it goes like hell and will be way more reliable than any Mini ever produced.
“I own an ‘84 A112 LX and a ‘19 Fiesta ST, there’s nothing more fun than a small hatchback, the Fiesta could be a strong pretender for best small car, but it has not the design, or the character that the Autobianchi offers.”
Another Italian supermini, the Autobianchi A112 was produced between 1969 and 1986. More than 1.2 million Autobianchi A112’s were produced at the brand’s factory in Milan.
Suggested by: felixtheroman1997
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“Nissan Micra K10 has to be on the list. It was by far the best econo-subcompact value of the 80s. They were so well designed (for the time) from a driving and ergonomic perspective and cost so little to maintain that they became ubiquitous at driving schools throughout Europe. Controls were easy to operate, and had a light but solid touch and were even clever. They also suffered far fewer electrical issues than many of their counterparts, like VW or Mini.”
The original Nissan Micra earned a nod for its cheap maintenance, clever design and reliability over similar cars of the period. When it launched, the Micra weighed just 1,389lbs, which helped it achieve a high fuel economy for the time.
Suggested by: Eugene Carroll (Facebook)
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“Easy, economical, boxy, and fun. and it even had a decent 4x4 variant. Turn it from a small van into a small car, and with the upright seating in it, it actually could fit four reasonably comfortably (although you wouldn’t want to do a coast to coast road trip in it that way).”
The original Fiat Panda is one of those vehicles that you find in places no car should go. The Mk1 Panda is a seemingly unstoppable car, and its 4 million models sold could one day be the final remnants of our once-great civilization.
Suggested by: skeffles
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“R56 Mini Cooper Goodwood Edition. It’s the young, playful offspring of a 135i and a Rolls-Royce Phantom.
“But in general, Minis are the best small cars. They’re communicative and responsive, upgradeable and customizable, and they’re very practical daily drivers. They’re the closest thing to a street-legal go-kart.”
The Mini was a popular choice for the best small car of all time. While the original Mini holds a special place in many people’s hearts, this limited edition version commanded a $50,000 price tag and came packed with luxury features.
Suggested by: @FPE33 (Twitter)
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“Suzuki Cappuccino! It’s an adorable Kei car with a 3cyl turbo motor. What’s not to like?”
This two-seater sports car was produced by Suzuki between 1991 and 1998. The Cappuccino meets the Japanese Kei car standard, which at the time required vehicles to have an engine no larger than 110cc and an overall length less than 10.8 feet.
Suggested by: yesidrivea24
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“Honda S600. 9500 rpm in a mass-produced road car, in 1965. Hell, has there ever been any road car, MP or not, that exceeded this ever since?”
This 1960s roadster from Honda packed in a water-cooled four cylinder engine producing 57hp. It was also the first Honda to be offered with two trim levels.