Budget finalist: FIAT PANDA
There is something immensely lovable about the Panda.
With its chunky styling, practical design and engaging driveability, the no-nonsense small Fiat punches well above its body size.
Here is a small car with distinctive character that sets it apart from the crowd.
The 1.3-litre MultiJet engine is a stalwart performer that ensures the Panda has plenty of punch, and economy is pretty impressive.
It’s a lot of little car for the money and you get much more personality per pound spent than with most budget cars this size.
Its boxy shape and diminutive size belie a very grown-up practicality.
Commended: Dacia Sandero
Mainstream finalist: FORD FIESTA
From the moment you get behind the wheel of a Fiesta, you just know that Ford’s engineers have got this car spot on.
Civilised and mannerly but above all communicative and fun, here is the benchmark for the way a small car should drive.
It has a distinguished chassis that delivers a really engaging driving experience that simply outshines its rivals. It looks good with its Aston-esque front end styling and swept-back body lines.
The cabin has flair as well as substance. Build quality is high and the price is right.
No wonder it sells like oven-fresh cupcakes!
Commended: Kia Rio
Premium finalist: CITROËN DS3
With this car, Citroën has cornered the market in bijou upper-crust automobilism.
Cute, and a real charmer behind the wheel, the DS3 is both a style statement and an expression of driver enthusiasm.
Throughout every inch, this French favourite oozes class, unusually so for a car of its modest dimensions.
The distinctive body styling has flair and the cabin is a little jewel of imaginative design.
With strong 1.6-litre engines under the bonnet, it has the performance to match its stand-out looks.
Premium small cars are very much in vogue, and the DS3 is a stand-out favourite.
Commended: MINI Hatch
And the winner is…
|Prices||£13,495 to £17,545|
|Bodystyles||3-door and 5-door hatchback|
|Engines||1.5 (74bhp), 1.6 (94bhp)|
|Trim Levels||Style, Zetec, Zetec S, Titanium, Titanium X|