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The Minis, Mazdas and other dinky little automobiles that fall into the automatic category are easy on the eye and easy on the driver. They’re ideal for zipping about, take some of the hassle out of driving and gift the owner the freedom of parking in spaces into which larger vehicles could only ever dream about squeezing (much to their irritation). You can’t help but love ‘em. 

Choosing a small automatic car 

A small automatic doesn’t necessarily have to be fast. If they are, it’s a win. Their smaller size will make them lighter on their wheels and they’ll be able to shift, but this isn’t the prime motivation for buying them. Choosing a small automatic is about finding a vehicle that isn’t too big to manage, that you can drive easily and that gives you the performance you want from it.

The best small automatic cars 

So you’re out looking for a small automatic? By way of suggestion, here are 10 of the best to consider: 

1. MINI hatchback Cooper Sport

The Mini Cooper Sport is a five-door, 7-speed semi-automatic transmission bundle of fun. It’s compact but powerful, sporting a 1.3 L, three cylinder petrol engine with 136 hp (138 PS) and 162 lb ft (220 Nm) torque at 1 400 to 4 800 rpm. That’s a fair bit of pulling power for such a small bod and the vehicle hits 129 mph and 0 to 62 mph in 8.4 seconds 

Dimensions of 3 982 mm (L), 1 982 mm (W) and 1 425 mm (H) make it easy to squeeze in and out of parking spaces and garages. The fact that the car handles so neatly makes this kind of task easier, too, and the general handling of the vehicle gives you plenty of stability while you’re drivingInside, the car gives you a surprising amount of luggage space, storing anything between 278 and 941 litres.  

Best features:

  • Powerful for a small vehicle 
  • Neat handling 
  • Large storage space for a small vehicle 

Prices start from £16,000 

2. Renault Zoe

The Renault Zoe is a tidy little EV with the choice of the standard R110 engine, which offers 108 hp and 225 Nm of torque pulling power, whereas the more powerful R135 lives up to its numbers with 135 hp (137 PS) and 181 lb ft (245 Nm) of torque. Basic top speed is 84 mph upwards, depending on the model, so it’s not really a flier, but it will still give you 0 to 30 mph in 3.9 seconds. 

The Zoe lays its claim to small car status with dimensions of 4 087 x 1730 x 1506. Despite its weight of 1 562 kilos — partially because of the battery — it’s agile and handles well in built-up areas. Inside, you have a maximum load of 338 litres and the car will reward you with up to 245 miles before needing its next charge. 

 

Best features:

  • Handles well in built-up areas 
  • Good acceleration 
  • 245 mile range  

Prices start from £5,200 

3. Peugeot 208

Peugeot tap into their knack of building great little cars with the 208, a 1.2 L petrol-fuelled smasher with 8-speed automatic transmission and 99 hp in the Active model. It’s light, at a kerb weight of 1 090 kilos — i.e. empty weight — and manages a top speed of 117 mph but is capable of more, depending on the engine. The engine has decent pulling power, with brake horsepower standing at 100 (122 PS) and 151 lb ft (205 Nm) of torque. 

 This elegant automobile boasts dimensions of 4 055 x 1 745 x 1 430 mm and, inside, a storage space of between 311 and 1 106 litres. Meanwhile, the driving experience is so smooth you hardly think about it. It blends seamlessly into your overall day, the car handling easilas you move around and just focus on whatever’s next on your busy agenda.  

Best features:

  • Incredibly smooth driving experience 
  • Relaxed driving 
  • Decent pulling power in the engine 

Prices start from £6,505 

4. Hyundai i10

The i10 Premium with 5-speed automatic transmission is a keeper. Underneath the bonnet sits a 1.2 L petrol engine with a horsepower of 84 (85 PS) and a torque of 87 lb ft (118 Nm) to pull it alongThe top speed of 106 mph allows it to shift slightly faster than its 1.0 litre counterparts, although the acceleration is slower off the mark. 

This five seater weighs in at between 935 and 1 006 kilos and inches towards the smaller end of the scale dimension-wise — 3 670 x 1 680 x 1 480, all of this allowing it to do what you’d expect of a compact vehicle. Inside, there’s plenty of storage capacity, ballooning from 252 litres to 1 070 when you put the seats down. Meanwhile, the car maintains some of the line’s trademark versatility, handling just as well on country roads as it does in the city and making for a comfortable ride during which you hardly feel any bumps in the track.  

Best features:

  • Versatile 
  • Good storage capacity inside 
  • Meets the expectations of a compact vehicle 

Prices start from £2,750 

5. Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 turbo SE

Step up to a 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine or a 1.5 litre turbo diesel in the SE model and you help yourself to an 8-speed automatic transmission for smooth gear changes while you drive. The petrol engine on this five-seater dishes up a slightly quicker acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds, and reaches a top speed of 121 mph. The car’s slightly lower overall weight of 1 620 kilos means the engine gets its 151 l ft (205 Nm) of torque and 99 horsepower (100 PS) behind fewer kilos, making the vehicle that touch nippier than its turbo diesel buddy. 

Dimension-wise, you’re looking at 4 060 x 1 960 (with mirrors) x 1 433 mm, so it’s a slightly broader affair once the mirrors are out. Inside, it affords you with 309 litres of storage space and an extra 118 litres to the roof with the seats down. This car is comfortable and convenient to drive, handling corners with confidence and settling nicely on the road. It’s another keeper, really.  

Best features:

  • Lighter than diesel-powered versions 
  • Slightly more nimble  
  • Comfortable to drive 

Prices start from £2,600 

6. Porsche 718 Boxster

The Porsche 718 Boxster wins your admiration instantlyPushing small car dimensions almost to their boundaries with 4 379 x 1 994 (1 081 with mirrors folded) and 1 281 mm, this elegant vehicle commands your attention. A basic Boxster houses a 2 litre turbocharged engine that delivers 296 hp (300 PS) and 280 lb ft (380 Nm) of torque, hammering out 0 to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds and 170 mph at peak acceleration, although it can shift faster with a larger engine.  

The handling is as fine as ever, with Porsche’s PDK transmission helping out with the gear changes. The vehicle is relatively light, with an unladen weight of 1 440 kilos (based on including a 75 kilo person inside, some fuel and a small load) and the car is agileThe car has two luggage storage compartments, with the front one providing 150 litres and the back one a slightly smaller 125 litres. Pretty decent for a sporty vehicle. 

Best features:

  • Reasonable luggage space for a sports vehicle 
  • Commanding presence 
  • Porsche’s consistent good handling 

Prices start from £34,950 

7. Renault Clio RS TCE 130 EDC

Renault are another manufacturer who know what they’re doing when it comes to crafting sublime small vehicles. The Clio in the RS line is no exception, with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission assisting on the gear changes while the 1.3 litre petrol engine obliges you the power. Horsepower of 131 (132 PS) and torque 177 lb ft (240 Nm) get the vehicle’s kerb weight of 1 248 kilos and help the vehicle accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 9 seconds flat and hit its 124 mph maximum speed. Not bad for a supermini. 

Displaying dimensions of 4 050 x 2 058 x 1 440, even with its mirrors folded, this is a relatively broad vehicle, but it’s also slightly shorter than some previous versions so that it doesn’t look too bulky. Don’t worry about that this matter, though, because driving this Clio is bliss. It copes admirably with everything on the road and you might even feel a little sad when your journey ends. 

Best features:

  • Good acceleration for a supermini 
  • Adjustments in size to stay compact 
  • Overall blissful driving 

Prices start from £890 

8. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

The 1.5 L petrol-fuelled hybrid engine on this little corker will give you 108 mph top speed and 0 to 62 mph in 9.8 seconds. The engine delivers a hybrid horsepower of 118 (120 PS) and a torque of 89 lb ft (120 Nm) to make this happen, which it achieves to reasonably nippy effect. Meanwhile, the continuous variable transmission (CVT) puts you at ease with the gear changes on this five seater. 

The car comes in dimensions of 3 940 x 1745 x1 500 mm and supplies up to 946 litres of storage space inside. Whack the seats up and you have 286 litres of boot space. Meanwhile, the vehicle is pleasant, with light, gentle steering; the suspension isn’t too unforgiving of any bumps in the road, making for a comfortable ride; and the car will give you a good account of itself in urban environments.  

Best features:

  • Excellent in urban environments 
  • Reasonably speedy 
  • Generally good handling 

Prices start from £450 

9. Ford Fiesta 1.0 l ecoboost ST Line X-Edition

Choose 1.0 L EcoBoost petrol engine and Ford let you in on the 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT), which removes the need for clutch pedals. You’ll get 123 hp (125 PS) out of the car, 125 lb ft (170 Nm) torque and a 125 mph top speed out of it, with 0 to 62 mph in 9.9 seconds.  

It’s a car that’s as agile as it is elegant and the light steering places you at easwhether you’re on B-roads or main ones. The ride is comfortable throughout, especially around urban areas, with the suspension making light work of any bumps in the road. Inside, the car is spacious, with plenty of legroom, even if you choose a three seater instead of the standard five-seater, so if you happen to be on a longer journey won’t make you feel too desperate to stretch your legs by the end. 

Best features:

  • Versatile 
  • Spacious in either three seater or five-seater 
  • Reliable suspension 

Prices start from £350 

10. Citroën C3 Aircross

The Citroën C3 Aircross is a tidy little SUV that sports dimensions of 4 155 x 1 765 x 1 637. A two-litre engine with 6-speed automatic transmission on the Flair trim of this five-door beauty will deliver 0 to 62 mph in 9.2 seconds and push the vehicle to an upper limit of 121 mph speed-wise. pulling combo of 128 hp (130 PS) and torque of 167 lb ft (230 Nm) gets behind this vehicle that has an unladen weight of 1 205 kilos. 

This strapping SUV oozes the charm, look and feel of a Citroën. The automatic transmission is a big plus, allowing smooth gear changes. Meanwhile, the steering is lightthe vehicle goes into bends quite comfortably and the vehicle is relatively stable. The suspension also gets a big thumbs-up and addresses the bumps easily for your driving comfort. All in all, it’s another finely-handling gem. 

Best features:

  • Loyal to Citroën in look and feel 
  • Going for the win with automatic transmission 
  • Handles well 

Prices start from £8,500 

Looking for a small automatic to get you from A to Z? Find the perfect car at Motors.co.uk 

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