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Cheap small cars: These are the last of their kind

Cheap small cars are dying out - the profit margin for the manufacturers is too low. The market still has a few last copies ready.

Do you remember the time when a Ford Fiesta was available for less than 10,000 euros? Today the small car costs at least 19,000 euros and one could almost get upset about that if Ford didn't bury it completely in 2023 anyway. Especially since the people of Cologne are not alone with the sharp increase in small car prices. Emission standards, mandatory assistance systems and electrification drive up costs and make the segment uneconomical. That is why more and more manufacturers are saying goodbye to offering small cars at all. There are still a few models under 15,000 euros - and here you can find out what they are. Further down in the article we then open up to models under 20,000 euros and take a look at the used car market. ,

Just in there: Citroën C3

With a base price of 14,940 euros, the C3 makes it into this list by a hair's breadth. But there is the little French in the equipment line "You!" with LED fog and daytime running lights, electric exterior mirrors, lane departure warning system, cruise control, DAB radio with Bluetooth hands-free system and 15-inch steel rims. A manual five-speed gearbox sorts the drive power of the 83 hp three-cylinder petrol engine. The C3 accelerates to a maximum of 169 km/h, but allows itself a lot of time for this. It takes 15.2 seconds for the needle to reach 100.

The only color that is applied without a surcharge is sand beige, there is no alternative to the fabric seats in the interior anyway. If you want a real navigation system, you pay an extra 1,100 euros, a parking aid (rear) costs 300 euros, and Citroën offers heated seats in the front for 350 euros. Regardless of the equipment, 300 liters fit into the trunk of the four-meter-long small car, and a maximum of 421 kilos can be loaded. Fully equipped, the C3 ends up in the smallest equipment line at just over 18,000 euros. ,

Almost forgotten: Skoda Fabia

The Czech VW offshoot has almost been lost sight of as a low-budget brand, but the basic model of the Fabia should teach us otherwise. For 14,540 euros there is the Fabia "Easy" in energy blue with 15-inch steel rims, front collision warning, drowsiness detection, lane departure warning, automatic start-stop, LED lights, music system and DAB radio. All in all, standard equipment that you can live with in everyday automotive life if you don't place great value on glitz and glamor.

This also applies to propulsion. The one-liter three-cylinder provides 65 hp, coupled to a manual five-speed gearbox. With this engine, a maximum of 171 km/h can be achieved, and it takes 16 seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h. But the Fabia offers an unrivaled large trunk in the segment.The 4.10 meter long small car puts 380 liters away. Theoretically, there would be a few more lines about the group relatives from Wolfsburg. The VW Up, for example, costs at least 14,555 euros, but cannot be ordered at the moment and it is not clear when it will be again. Incidentally, a few years ago the Up was also available for less than 10,000 euros, but only marginally. ,

Slightly cheaper: Hyundai i20

For 14,410 euros, Hyundai is offering the i20 in the Pure equipment line. This includes an emergency brake assistant with front collision warning, a light sensor with high-beam assistant, electric exterior mirrors, cruise control with limiter, an alarm system, hill start assist, automatic start/stop, traffic sign recognition and an active lane departure warning system. Sounds extensive, but it has to be enough - because Hyundai does not offer any additional equipment packages for the basic model. Other extras can only be booked as individual options. The catalog is very broad, from hifi systems to lowering.

The 1.2-liter four-cylinder has 84 hp, and a manual five-speed gearbox is also used here. The country road speed is reached in 13.1 seconds, the speedometer shows a maximum of 173 km/h. The i20 is 4.04 meters long and packs up to 352 liters of luggage in the rear. By the way, in case you're wondering why the Hyundai i10 isn't detailed here, that's because the smaller car is actually more expensive because of the deleted base version. At least 14,785 euros are due for the entry-level variant "Select". ,

No longer in 1st place: Dacia Sandero

The Sandero was the absolute price breaker in the segment for a long time, but the most recent facelift has lifted the former leader above the 10,000 euro mark. With a new front, the small car with Essential equipment now costs at least 10,750 euros (previously 9,600 euros). There is a pleasingly designed car with white paintwork, LED headlights and daytime running lights and cruise control. The clever infotainment solution " Media Control " should be mentioned separately. Here, thanks to the free app and integrated holder in the car, your own smartphone becomes a fully-fledged infotainment system.

Dynamic top performances are not to be expected on the other side. The Romanians get 67 hp from three cylinders and one liter displacement, which are sorted by a manual five-speed gearbox. More than 158 km/h are not possible, from zero to one hundred it takes 16.7 seconds. After all: According to the WLTP, consumption is moderate at 5.3 liters. Dacia stretches the Sandero to just over four meters in length and donates 328 liters of storage space behind the tailgate. If you need more space, you will find a large number of inexpensive additions in the form of roof boxes, luggage racks and bicycle racks in the configurator.,

Established bargain hunter: Mitsubishi Space Star

Anyone who has looked around for cheap new cars in recent years has certainly not been able to avoid it: the Mitsubishi Space Star . The small Japanese is currently available from 10,380 euros in the basic version with a 71 hp 1.2-liter three-cylinder and manual five-speed gearbox. Mitsubishi equips the entry-level model with six airbags, hill-start assist, a light and rain sensor, electric exterior mirrors and 14-inch steel rims as standard. The fact that elements such as the glove compartment, seat belts, fan and heated rear window appear in the list of standard equipment can certainly be understood as an indication that you are getting a very puristic vehicle here.

With a length of 3.85 meters and a 235 liter trunk, the Space Star can clearly be classified as a small car. But convincing data such as the curb weight of 940 kilos or a turning circle of only 9.2 meters. The front-wheel drive creates a maximum of 167 km/h, for the standard sprint it takes 14.1 seconds. This is always sufficient for classic commuter routes or inner-city traffic. However, the Space Star prefers to leave longer stretches of motorway or trips to more distant countries to larger models. ,

Models under 20,000 euros

If you look half a class up, the range expands a bit. Small cars up to 20,000 euros today are often surprisingly close to what was called compact class 10 years ago. Classics in the segment are certainly the Opel Corsa (from 18,280 euros) and the Renault Clio (from 18,250 euros). Both come with similar standard equipment, with the Corsa bringing the more powerful engine (75 hp, 1.2-litre three-cylinder), while the Clio shares the base engine with the aforementioned Dacia Sandero (67 hp, one-litre three-cylinder). In addition, with 284 liters it packs a little less into the rear than the Rüsselsheimer (309 liters).

Other candidates in the range between 15,000 and 20,000 euros are, in ascending order, the Mazda2 (from 15,590 euros), the Kia Picanto (from 15,840 euros), the Toyota Aygo X (from 15,980 euros), the Renault Twingo (from 16,100 euros), the Seat Ibiza (from 16,490 euros), the Fiat 500 and the Panda (each from 16,990 euros), the Hyundai Bayon (from 17,260 euros), the Suzuki Swift (from 17,390 euros), the Kia Rio (from 17,590 euros), the Toyota Yaris (from 17,800 euros), the Ford Fiesta (from 19,350 euros), the Nissan Micra (from 19,790 euros), the VW Polo (from 19,925 euros), the Skoda Scala and the Seat Arona (each from 19,990 euros).

Price development for used cars

In order to get an idea of ​​the used car prices and their development, we requested statistics from the online marketplace autoscout24.The colleagues sent us a list of the average prices for various models from 2019 to 2022, which we would like to show you here in a table. So much can be said in advance: All cars have become more expensive, sometimes significantly. , The table shows what effect the corona pandemic in particular with all its side effects had on the used car market. The partial price slump in 2020/2021 can be explained by the fact that various border closures had prevented the export of vehicles. The yards of the dealers were accordingly full of cars, including those whose condition would have made a sale in Germany rather unlikely under normal conditions ( too high mileage , old age, lack of equipment). But the special effect of the pandemic, with many commuters deciding to buy a used car so as not to have to use public transport, led to the sale (and ultimately to the price increase) of such vehicles. Young used vehicles in good condition and with reasonable equipment were particularly popular. Such specimens are still rare among flag dealers.

In our photo show at the top of the article, we show you the cheapest current small cars in one go. If you would also like to know which small cars consume the least fuel, you will find the corresponding overview in this article on the most economical petrol engines .


Really cheap small cars have almost completely disappeared from the automotive landscape. The margin is too small against the background of ever stricter emission regulations and mandatory assistance systems. Since the corona pandemic, the market has still been too thin for real used car bargains. So the situation is tense. If you are looking for a good offer, you should wait until mid-2023 if possible. From then on, the discounts should increase again.


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