Gone are the days when car buyers could pick up any number of superminis for well under £8,000. In fact, a number of performance models could now set you back more than £20,000.

However, just because you don’t have a limitless budget doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on equipment, economy and performance. We’ve rounded up the best small hatchbacks that you can pick up brand new, for less than £14,000.

The latest breed of superminis may set you back more than in previous decades, but choose wisely and a small car really can be the only car you need – whether you spend most of your time negotiating tight city roads or cruising up and down the outside lane of the motorway.

Ford Fiesta 1.0T EcoBoost 100 Zetec 3dr – £13,945

If you need proof that an inexpensive supermini is all the car you could ever need, the Fiesta is it. This model has been the UK’s bestselling car for years. And the reason for that is simple; it doesn’t matter if you’re young free and single, have a few children or are retired and after a cheap-to-run car, there is a Fiesta to suit.

Models start from just under £10,000, but we’d save up for one of the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol models, to get the best combination of economy and performance. In 99bhp form, the 1.0-litre motor returns strong claimed fuel consumption of 65.7mpg, but is still capable of firing this small car to 62mph in a competitive 11.2 seconds.

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 SE – £13,390

The Skoda Fabia has always been a sensible, sturdy supermini and in its latest incarnation, which is just about arrive in showrooms, adds a welcome dose of style to the mix.

With a turbocharged 1.2-litre motor under the bonnet the Fabia is both sprightly and economical, returning 60.1mpg and sprinting to 62mph in a reasonable 10.9 seconds.

Though the Fabia is not the cheapest supermini on the market, it does have a lot of standard equipment, including a digital radio, Bluetooth, a trip computer and alloy wheels.

Seat Ibiza 1.2 TSI 105 I-TECH – £13,790

The Seat Ibiza is similar under the skin to the Fabia, but this model offers a more powerful motor and even sharper styling. This chic Spanish supermini can return fuel economy of 55.4mpg but canters to 62mph in a speedy 9.8 seconds.

In I-TECH form the Ibiza includes chic 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth and leather upholstery and a trip computer along with Bluetooth and sat nav.

Hyundai i20 1.2 Classic 3dr – £8,780

The Hyundai i20 may be getting on a bit compared to fresh-faced rivals, but it still drives well and offers very good value, for money – especially with £1,400 slashed off the price of the entry-level model in anticipation of the new model, which arrives soon.

For just £8,780 you can get your hands on the nippy 1.2-litre Classic model which returns strong economy of 57.6mpg and cheap road tax of £30 per year, under current rules. Even in entry-level form this affordable supermini includes air conditioning, electric front windows and a spare tyre.

Fiat Panda TwinAir 85 Lounge – £11,595

If space is high on your list of priorities, the Panda offers plenty of room in a compact, easy-to-park package. This two-cylinder ‘TwinAir’ model also offers plenty of character, with a deep thrum from under the bonnet and has more than enough poke for scooting around town.

The nought to 62mph sprint takes just 11.5 seconds, while economy is also strong from this diminutive motor, with the car returning 68.9mpg.