171 – Top 5 Superminis on sale
1 - Ford Fiesta
On the face of it, the Fiesta's position at the top of our list might seem a little odd, especially as a brand new replacement (set to launch later this year) has already been revealed. The outgoing car is a little cramped inside and it can't match its rivals for technology or perceived cabin quality, yet it continues to top the sales charts for superminis in Ireland. That is undoubtedly thanks in part to massive brand loyalty and the excellent Ford dealer network, but we reckon it's also due to the fact that the Fiesta remains the most fun of all superminis to drive. Spend five minutes at the wheel of one of the feisty turbocharged EcoBoost engined-models and you'll be won over too.
2 - Skoda Fabia
Given that Skoda's cars are supposed to play second fiddle to Volkswagen's, we reckon a few heads might roll because of how good the Fabia is, outshining its more expensive cousin, the Polo. The Fabia is a great all-rounder, starting with a decent level of standard equipment and a wide selection of engines and trim levels. The pick of the line-up is probably the modest 1.2-litre TSI petrol version, which has plenty of power for in town and out, yet is smooth and refined too - and not too expensive to run. The Fabia's final trump card is its noticeably spacious cabin.
3 - Volkswagen Polo
Now, we stand over our placing of the Fabia above the Polo in this list, but we wouldn't blame anyone for choosing the Polo first. Thanks to the big VW badge on the front, it comes with instant, classless kudos that somehow distances it from other models in the supermini sector. As with the Skoda, the Polo line-up is wide, with three- and five-door body shells, power outputs between 60- and 150hp, manual or automatic transmissions, three different core petrol engine and a super-frugal diesel. So, in summary, it's not cheap, but it is worth the outlay.
4 - Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz is associated by many with pensioners, as it seems they're the only ones sensible enough to look past the quasi-MPV looks and see a seriously practical small car for a reasonable price. It's not the best-looking car in the world, and the 1.3-litre petrol engine is best-suited to urban use, but the interior design and size are simply astounding. The rear doors open wide, all passengers sit quite upright (it's easy to get in and out of the seats, which is why it appeals to the elderly, I guess) and there's a big boot out back. On top of that, the rear seating is called Magic Seats, with a unique cushion folding trick that allows the carrying of long, tall objects where most cars of this size cannot.
5 - Mazda2
In reality, the supermini market is quite fragmented now, with some buyers driven purely by PCP rates and low purchase prices, while another group are more interested in chic design and high-end technology and equipment. It's to this latter segment that the Mazda2 appeals. That isn't just a nice way of saying "it's expensive" either, as we'd say that the higher-spec models, approaching €20,000, are lovely cars worth every cent. It's just that there aren't many supermini buyers that think in such big numbers. The Mazda2 is a premium product, looks great and it drives well. Our only real criticism (assuming the price isn't a hurdle), is with the fact that the only petrol option is a 1.5-litre without turbocharging.