Small can be beautiful when buying a car, and modern superminis are seriously talented packages. Bigger is better, right? Not always! Sure, a huge SUV or massive estate car is nice, but if most people were being truthful, they’d admit they don’t really need anything that large.
In fact, something as small as a supermini can easily fulfil the duties of a single person, a couple, or even a young family with little to no compromise. We’ve rounded up some of the best reasons your next car should be one of these pint-sized wonders, and if you’re trading in your car against one, get your car properly valued somewhere like parkers.co.uk, as trading in to one shouldn’t prove costly.
Cheaper to buy, cheaper to run
One big reason for downsizing is cost. Even a great supermini can be had for less than £20,000 – with cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo or Renault Clio starting well under that figure.
The equivalent SUVs, which are often based on the same mechanical underpinnings and can even be less practical, are anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds more expensive for a matching model.
That cost saving filters down into every aspect of ownership. Finance payments will be lower, if you’re purchasing through hire purchase or a PCP scheme. Insurance costs are reduced, too – lower-spec superminis sit in some of the lowest insurance groups, making them perfect for first-time buyers.
Fuel economy is another huge plus. It’s pretty simple – a smaller and lighter car uses less fuel, making superminis some of the most efficient models around.
Practical in more ways than one
It goes without saying that if you’re a large family, with lanky teenagers, a multitude of six-foot adults and hobbies that take up a lot of space, you’ll need a large car. But in practicality terms, superminis can work brilliantly for a huge swathe of the population – if only they’d admit it!
Take passenger space, for example. When’s the last time a six-foot adult sat in the back of your car for an extended period? More likely, your back seats remain empty – or, if you’re a young family, you might seat kids back there in their car seats. Almost every supermini on the market has ample room for this, even more cramped examples such as the MINI Hatch.
Superminis are more than practical enough in terms of carrying capacity, too. Boots big enough for a weekly shop are standard fare, and there’s not an example on the market that doesn’t feature fold-down rear seats to accommodate a big shop, a run to the tip or a trip to the flat-pack furniture store.
But there are other practicalities you might not consider at first. What about parking? A small car fits into a smaller space, and is more manoeuvrable in crowded city streets. They’re also significantly less daunting for new motorists to drive, making them ideal first cars.
Great fun to drive
Once again, size and weight play a blinding hand, and ensures that almost without fail a supermini is more dynamic and satisfying to drive than a tall, heavy SUV. It’s no coincidence that some of the most fun cars on the market are hot hatchbacks, such as the Ford Fiesta ST.
Even those who aren’t particularly keen drivers can enjoy responsive steering and a supple ride, while those who are can choose from some of the best-handling cars on the market today. And it’s not as if a supermini has to be particularly slow, even if it’s not a full-blown hot hatch. Though most entry-level models can barely pull the skin off a rice pudding, step up to one of the mid-range models and you’ll find there’s ample pulling power.
Plenty of choice around
Buying a supermini doesn’t mean you have to be limited on choice, either. Although the market sector isn’t nearly as competitive as it has been in previous decades, most mainstream manufacturers still offer a supermini in their range.
There are budget offerings, such as the Dacia Sandero or MG 3. You could opt for a premium, luxurious model, such as the Audi A1 or Volkswagen Polo – or something youthful, fun and customisable, such as a MINI Hatch or Peugeot 208.
What this means in short is that regardless of your budget, your personal style, your individual needs or even your preference of brand, you’re bound to be able to find a supermini that suits you.
The same applies when you start looking in detail. A Ford Fiesta remains the supermini choice for keen drivers, but those who are more focused on ‘going green’ and saving money could opt for a hybrid supermini, such as the Renault Clio E-Tech or Toyota Yaris Hybrid.
Some models still offer diesel engines, which are great for long-distance drivers looking for maximum mpg – while others can be configured in a huge array of colours, styles and optional extras so you can truly express your individuality.
Millions of people can’t be wrong…
Despite SUV sales increasing every month, a supermini isn’t exactly a niche choice. Take a look at the charts for best-selling cars in the UK – you’ll find it dominated by superminis, especially the Ford Fiesta which has topped the charts for decades.
That just goes to show that for huge numbers of us, a supermini is all the car we really need. And just imagine what would happen if we all thought that way – with fewer people driving enormous, heavy cars that they don’t need, it’d be far easier to tackle pollution and congestion.
In conclusion, then, if you evaluate your needs honestly, you may find that downsizing to a supermini really gives you all the car you need.