Lots of things change as we get older. We have different needs and different lifestyles – it’s only natural that we have different requirements for our vehicles too. If you or your elderly parents are in the market for a new small car, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 small cars for older drivers in the UK. To form the list, we’ve looked at important factors such as safety, cost, comfort, and extra features. For every car, you’ll find the average price of a new model alongside the average cost of a five-year-old second-hand version for comparison.
The Polo has been around for many years now, and it is fair to say it has changed and developed quite a lot. It has also grown in size. Despite this, it is still a small car, perfect for lots of older drivers. The Volkswagen Polo is a great car from start to finish and one which has been created to a very high standard. There is a brilliant engine range, so you can get the right level of power for you and your budget.
For a small car, there is a lot of space, both in terms of legroom and room in the boot. Brand new Polos start from around £17,000. Premium features are available for an additional cost, with built-in screens, parking sensors and cameras, heated seats and much more. However, you can pick up a five-year-old Polo in good condition for around £5,000. The VW Polo is also one of the safest cars on the market. Perhaps it’s no surprise that it’s won several awards over the years, including Best Small Car at the What Car? awards in 2020.
Ford has been a trusted car manufacturer for more than 100 years. The Fiesta is another car that has changed dramatically in recent years, right in front of our eyes. On the roads, they barely resemble the original Ford Fiesta from 1976. However, the new Fiesta is a dream to drive and own. The Fiesta is a nippy little car, which feels safe and sturdy on any road. It’s cheap to run and easy to drive, making it a popular option for first-time car owners and older drivers alike.
The Ford Fiesta also comes with a whole range of gadgets such as active park assist, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping aid and traffic sign recognition. The new Fiesta is similar in cost to the Volkswagen Polo, with prices starting from around £16,000. Similarly, you can pick up a five-year-old model for around £6,000. The Ford Fiesta is one of the UK’s most popular small cars – and for good reason.
If you don’t need as much space as a Polo or Fiesta offers, the Hyundai i10 might be the car for you. This is a compact, 5-door vehicle, which still has a good amount of boot space. It is very easy to drive, park and steer. The automatic version boasts slightly better reviews and drives very smoothly and comfortably. The i10 comes in a great range of colours, from pastel blues to bright reds, so there is something for everyone to choose. There is also a range of different specs available, depending on the gadgets you are after. The top of the range comes with rear parking sensors, a large screen with navigation, an audio system with DAB, steering wheel remote controls and an automatic air conditioning system. A brand-new Hyundai i10 starts at around £12,000. However, a 5-year-old vehicle will be around £4,500. This car would be a great choice for an older driver who only needs to carry one or two passengers.
The Citigo is another very small car. You can just about squeeze in four adults and a couple of bags. However, as the name suggests, it is perfect for city driving and travelling short A to B distances. This car is in competition with the Volkswagon up! and SEAT Mii as they share the same compact design. All three of these vehicles are very cheap to run and maintain. They can reach up to 53.3mpg, so they are also pretty good on fuel. This is a very robust and high-quality car, given how much more affordable it is than its competitors. Skoda stopped manufacturing the Citigo in 2019, but approved used models are available from around £4,300.
On this list of great small cars, the Corsa is definitely on the larger end of the spectrum, especially the five-door series. It has plenty of space inside for four adults plus luggage. It is also a comfortable ride, and easy to drive. The Corsa is an all-around great car and has a very safe feeling to it. A brand new, five-door Corsa costs around £16,000. However, a five-year-old vehicle will cost you around £4000. The Vauxhall Corsa has been one of the most popular small cars in the UK for several years.
There are hundreds of different cars on the market. We recommending doing a bit of research before buying. It is always a good idea to book a test drive to get a feel for the car and also try contacting your local dealer to see if they have any promotions on. Another good option is using an approved used vehicle dealer. This is where the dealership carries out plenty of checks and provides you with a warranty on the vehicle. Approved used vehicles are usually a couple of years older, but can be a great alternative to buying a brand new vehicle.
The Kia Picanto might be a small car, but it has plenty of space inside – both for passengers and luggage. It offers a wide range of specs at different prices, with the Picanto 1 starting from £11,000. This makes it one of the more affordable small cars on this list. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-range Picanto GT-Line S is still more affordable than some of its competitors most basic models at £15,800. With a 7 year warranty and up to 58.9 miles per gallon, the Kia Picanto could be a very sensible option for older drivers looking for a comfortable, compact car.
The new Toyota Yaris has scooped the Car of the Year award for 2021, thanks to its stylish design, impressive features, and efficient hybrid engine. With a respectable fuel economy and a pleasing range of colours, the Yaris is a great choice for an environmentally conscious drive. It has a reversing camera, smartphone integration, and an intelligent pre-collision system with sensors that detect pedestrians and cyclists.
A brand new Toyota Yaris costs upwards of £20,000, while a five-year-old, second-hand model will cost around £9,000.
Renault describes its latest Clio as a small car with a big-car-feel. It boasts some impressive safety features which will appeal to older drivers, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian sensors. It also features a 360° camera and Park Assist system. A brand new Renault Clio will set you back £16,200 for the basic model. Meanwhile, a five-year-old model costs around £7,000.
The iconic Mini has been one of the UK’s favourite small cars for decades. It’s a great option for older drivers. The Mini has a familiar design inside and out, with several modern features that blend in seamlessly. For example, the crisp, 8.8-inch display screen comes as standard, alongside Bluetooth connectivity. Several premium features are available as optional extras, including camera assistance and Real Time Traffic Information. The cabin is on the compact side, with four seats instead of five. Folding the rear seats down will give you up to 941 litres of cargo space – ideal for older drivers who like to travel.
You can pick up a brand new Mini 5-Door Hatch from £17,305. Five-year-old models tend to start from around £7,500.
The Volkswagen up! shares a design with the Skoda Citigo, which appeared earlier in this list of small cars for older drivers. The basic up! features a surprisingly roomy boot and a 5-inch colour display screen among other impressive features. Meanwhile, at the other end of the range, the up! R-Line comes with heated front seats, a multi-function camera, and elegant interior finishes.
The Volkswagen up! will be the best of both worlds for lots of older drivers. It’s compact yet comfortable, fairly cheap to run, and comes from a reliable manufacturer. It might pack the punch some drivers are used to with its 1.0 litre engine, but this won’t be an issue for everybody. The standard, 5-door up! costs £13,310 brand new, or around £6,000 after five years.
More Advice for Older Drivers
And there you have it: our top 10 small cars for older drivers in the UK. We know that driving can become a source of anxiety and even family arguments as people get older. If you’re an older driver, or you’re concerned about an elderly relative being on the road, you might wish to read the following articles:
If your loved one would benefit from extra security at home, a personal alarm is a great idea. Check out our guide to the Careline alarm service here. If you have any questions about our service, please get in touch. You can call our Customer Service team on 0800 101 3333 or get in touch by email at email@example.com
You can also order a Careline alarm online or over the telephone at any time.
Note: we updated this article to include the latest information on 26/04/2021/
Originally published 12/08/2019.