Whether the kids have flown the nest or you’re tired of paying through the nose for car tax, there are lots of reasons for wanting to downsize to a smaller car. Hatchbacks, super minis and city cars have become more popular for a number of reasons — not least because they’re super cheap, easy to park and not thirsty on fuel.
But despite these obvious benefits, there’s one thing many small cars lack — and that’s power. Larger cars, such as 4x4s and saloons, typically feature beefier engines than smaller models, making them more comfortable and refined on long journeys.
While this lack of grunt could be enough to put large car owners off downsizing, there are a number of small cars with the power to rival their bigger brothers.
Here, we list 6 powerful small cars that are ideal for downsizing.
For those who spend a lot of time on the motorway, enter the Mercedes A-Class. Like its larger siblings, the A-Class does an excellent job of reducing wind and road noise, so you can devour motorway miles in complete comfort. It’s powerful too, with even the base model packing a 1.6l turbo engine. Drive it in town however, and you’ll soon grow to love its hatchback proportions, which help when squeezing through gaps in traffic.
Ford Fiesta 1.0l EcoBoost
A 1.0l Fiesta, are you mad? You might scoff at Ford’s 1.0l Fiesta, but thanks to EcoBoost technology, this is a surprisingly quick car. Powered by a modest 1 litre engine, this version of the Fiesta benefits from a turbocharger, which affords the car plenty of poke across the rev range. On the motorway it’s quiet and refined, so quiet in fact that you’ll forget you’re in an affordable super mini. As well as speed, the Fiesta handles with complete precision, making it extremely fun to drive on A and B roads.
Minis have gotten bigger and faster as they’ve got older, and the latest version is the largest Mini to date. While the Mini One is the cheapest and most economical of the range, if you want power and performance, opt for the Cooper S. With its 2.0-litre engine, the Cooper S is far from steady — capable of out-accelerating plenty of powerful family saloons. The car can hit 60mph in second gear, which should give you a good idea of its outstanding performance.
Seat Leon FR
Good looking, powerful and incredibly cheap to run — buy the Seat Leon FR, and you’ll get all this and more. This Spanish-made hatchback might not be as quick as some hot saloons, but it could out manoeuvre anything thanks to its sharp handling. What’s more, the diesel engine means its incredibly fuel efficient, with a tank of fuel boasting an average range in excess of 350 miles.
Volkswagen Polo GTI
The VW Polo GTI might be the pin-up car for boy racers across the country, but its stylish looks and power make it a great choice for grown-ups, too. Built to VW’s consistently high standard and refined to the point of being a little boring, the Polo GTI can outpace plenty of bigger cars despite its compact size. For the price some might prefer to go for its bigger brother, the Golf GTI, but we think the Polo’s small size and handsome profile make it a great option for those hoping to downsize.
If you want a fun, small car that’s cheap to buy and run, look no further than the Suzuki Swift Sport. Yours for just shy of £18K, this dinky super mini packs a 1.6-litre turbo-charged engine that loves to rev, forcing you to have fun even when you’re on the way to work. Sure it’s not the most practical small car out there, and some drivers might want a bit more power, but we think the Swift Sport is a wise choice for those who want a little more fun in their life.
Whether your car is small, mid-sized or large, Redex fuel additives can help you get more miles from every tank of fuel by helping your engine run more efficiently. To find out more, visit the Redex website.