Buying a Small Economical Car for €8,000

Fiat 500


Hi there, I am looking for a small economical car to use around the city. It must be small enough that it is easy to park and suitable for city driving but I also leave the city most weekends so it needs to be up to motorway driving.  My budget is around €8,000 and I’d like something with a bit of style too, Any ideas? 

Karen Cronin,



Hi Karen,

There is a huge choice out there for city driving, but finding the right mix of “small car” with safety can be difficult.

The first choice that comes to mind is the Fiat 500. This car is small, cute and full of character but with 7 airbags as standard is also one of the safest in its class. The 1.2 engine will average 55mpg with a top speed of 160kmph (road tax of €160.00). The 100bhp 1.4 will only get you 44mpg but will do 0-100kmph in 10.2 seconds and comes with electronic stability control (road tax €330.00).

The Seat Ibiza is the largest of my suggestions and best in its class for interior space with Spanish styling making it the best looking too. At 52mpg the 1.2 engine can reach 162kmph (although with only 69bhp it might take a while) and a massive boot will mean you can pack plenty of luggage for your weekends away. (€225.00 road tax)

Any Kia’s sold from 2010 on come with a 7 year warranty which makes the Kia Picanto big on value but less than impressive on safety with only a 3 star NCAP rating. The 1.0L engine is economical with 57mpg and road tax of only €160 but falls short on luggage space with only 157 litres.

If you want reliability and excellent build quality a Volkswagen Polo might be the way to go, but as they hold their value your budget might only stretch to a 06/07 version. The 1.4TDi does a very impressive 60mpg and if you can a 2008 or newer Polo your road tax could be as low as €160.00, otherwise you will have to fork out almost €390.00 each year on Tax alone.

Most economical – 1.4TDi VW Polo with 1.2 Fiat 500 a close runner up……

Most luggage spaceSeat Ibiza with a huge 292litres of space

Fastest 0-100kmph time – 1.4L Fiat 500

Highest NCAP rating  – Seat Ibiza with 5 stars for Adult, 4 for Child and 3 for Pedestrian Safety

Best for city driving – With only 11mm difference in length it’s a close tie between the Kia Picanto and Fiat 500

  mpg 0-60 Motor Tax Length/ circle Top speed Boot space Bhp Engine size
Fiat 500 55mpg-
12.510.2  160330 3546mm /9m 99mph –
185L 69100 1.21.4
Seat Ibiza 52mpg 13.5 225 4061mm/10m 101mph 292L 69 1.2
Kia Picanto 57mpg 15.9 160 3535/9m 93mph 157L 61 1.0
VW Polo 60mpg 14.1 160 post 2008
384 pre
3916/10m 102mph 270L 69 1.4TDi

 Suzanne Keane

19th June, 2012

Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for Retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @_suzannekeane

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