4. Ford Fiesta
The latest Fiesta had the difficult task of bettering its class-leading predecessor, which might have been the best-handling supermini of the past 25 years.
This new version is much more than just a reskin of the old one and in some respects – namely its supple ride, sparkling on-road handling dynamism and driver appeal – it remains best in class.
However, the Fiesta’s new crop of opponents have moved the supermini game on in ways that this Ford can’t quite cover. Interior quality lets the Fiesta down compared with the very best superminis, and equipment sophistication and practicality are not quite in the same league as the classy Ibiza, either.
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5. Mini One/Cooper
A modern rework of a classic name, and now in facelifted third-generation form, the ‘new Mini’ continues to build momentum and to enjoy enduring sales success. It remains quite expensive to buy and you will need to tick a fair few option boxes to get all the equipment that many of its rivals include as standard – but the Mini continues to deliver retro style, singular charm and desirability, premium equipment features and driver appeal like few cars in this class.
The car’s small by supermini standards, with packaging that isn’t brilliant, and space is tight in the boot and rear seats. But its selection of nippy three-pot engines and a well-constructed, premium-feeling and quirky interior make it a great place to spend time, while its direct, terrier-like handling should seal the deal for keener drivers.
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6. Mazda 2
The Mazda 2 has matured over the years to become a grown-up supermini that is very well made. It may not be quite as vivacious to drive as some of the cars above it in this list, but it remains a car that an interested driver should naturally gravitate towards for its clean-revving atmospheric engines and nicely clipped, involving handling.