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Best City Cars to lease in 2021

As much as we all love to lease a big, fast sports car, a rugged 4x4 or a spacious saloon car, there’s something charming about a small, plucky city car. Not only are they perfectly suited to the urban errands that make up much of our daily lives, but they often go about their business with this kind of joie de vivre that’s missing from bigger, more serious machines.

As well as imbuing their city cars with a great sense of youthfulness and excitement, car makers have also cottoned on to the idea of using electric motors. The technology makes more sense in a small car that does fewer miles and shorter journeys, and theoretically speaking, it should clean up the air in our towns and cities. It’s a win/win.

But electric power is not the only option available when you’re leasing a small car. Different manufacturers have different models, and picking one can be a minefield. So to make things easier, we’ve created this roundup of the best city cars you can lease in 2021. .

Volkswagen UP! GTI

Car lease price: from £191.61 per month*

The little VW Up! may well boast a suspect name with some even more suspect punctuation, but it’s the king of the city car castle. Nothing else in the segment is this classy, this good to drive or this well equipped. If we’re honest, the GTI is not the best version of the Up! – at least not on paper. It’s only slightly faster than the mid-range models and it’s barely any better to drive. But it is the most ridiculous, most exciting Up! you can get your hands on. The tartan seats from the Golf GTI and some sporty red trim make every drive an event, as well as putting the GTI up there with the most stylish models in the range.

Volkswagen UP! need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: City Car
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.8 out of 5**
  • Boot size: 251 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 3 stars

Seat Mii Electric

Car lease price TBC

When all’s said and done, the Mii is just an Up! with a Seat badge pinned to the grille, but that’s no bad thing, because the Mii inherits the Up!’s miraculous breadth of ability. And now it comes in electric form only, with a range of 160 miles and 83hp at the disposal of your right foot. But despite the near-silence of the motor, all is remarkably familiar inside. Everything looks more or less the same, and you even start the car with a key. Fortunately, the weight of the batteries hasn’t damaged the driving experience noticeably, so the Mii Electric is still good fun on a country road and helpfully agile around town.

Seat Mii Electric need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: City Car
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.9 out of 5
  • Boot size: 251 litres
  • Engine Options: Electric
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 3 stars

Abarth 595 Competizione

Car lease price: from £216.76 per month

Abarth is Fiat’s band of in-house nutcases, taking fairly conservative cars and turning them into fire-breathing rocket ships. The best example of this is the 595, which takes the Fiat 500 and turns it into a baby supercar. In Competizione guise, the tiny, low-powered engines of the 500 are replaced with a 1.4-litre turbocharged motor that produces 180hp and gets the pocket rocket from 0-62mph in less than seven seconds. 

Abarth 595 Competizione need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: City Car
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.0 out of 5
  • Boot size: 185 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: N/A

Audi A1

Car lease price: from £200.39 per month

Rooted among the poshest small cars on the market, the A1 is the car of choice for those who think premium cars needn’t be enormous. All the usual Audi trademarks are there, including the solid cabin, stylish exterior and the long equipment list, but it’s all crammed into a compact package. Despite that, there’s plenty of interior space, and there’s more tech than you can shake a stick at. Not only can you have the Volkswagen Group’s impressive infotainment system, but you can also enjoy a digital instrument cluster and plenty of high-end optional extras.

Audi A1 need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: City Car
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.8 out of 5
  • Boot size: 335 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars

Toyota Aygo

Car lease price: from £141.82 per month

The Aygo is the product of a long-running collaboration between Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen – a partnership that also gave rise to the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108. All three are essentially identical, albeit with different bodywork, so all three offer much the same basic merits. They’re nippy in town and easy to drive, but the Aygo offers perhaps the best blend of grown-up styling and youthful chic – particularly after Toyota toned down the old ‘X’ graphic emblazoned across the front as part of a mid-life facelift. you thought the Evoque was pretty before, you’re going to love the latest version.

Toyota Aygo need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: City Car
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.1 out of 5 
  • Boot size: 168 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: N/A

Hyundai i10

Car lease price: from £154.79 per month

Although the i10 name has been around for a while now, Hyundai updated the car for 2020, giving it a striking new look, as well as extra on-board technology. But although there are obvious changes on the surface, the basic recipe remains the same. Solid build quality and a surprisingly entertaining driving experience meets plenty of space and technology. Even the basic SE models come with Bluetooth and a flotilla of safety systems, but climbing the range gets you goodies including smartphone integration tech and wireless charging.

Hyundai i10 need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: City Car
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 4.2 out of 5
  • Boot size: 252 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 4 stars

Fiat 500e

Car lease price: from £134.39 per month

Fiathas finally given the 500 a proper update, a mere 13 years after it was first introduced. In stark contrast to the 2015 facelift, the new model has been comprehensively revamped, right down to the engine. The new bodywork is far more modern, but somehow it manages to be just as retro as before – and it’s the same story inside. The real change, however, is under the skin, where the old petrol engines have been swapped out in favour of an electric motor that will run for around 200 miles before the battery goes flat. And if you don’t want an electrically-powered 500, you can still get the old-shape car with a mild-hybrid petrol engine.

Fiat 500e need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: City Car
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.9 out of 5
  • Boot size: 185 litres
  • Engine Options: Electric, Hybrid, Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: N/A

*Prices include VAT. Credit is Subject to Status, Ts and Cs and Arrangement Fees apply. Excess mileage may apply. Price correct as of 07/01/2021.

**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the scores of the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews

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