Best new small cars launched in 2020

There were plenty of exciting new small cars launched over the course of 2020. We have all the details for the best ones right here

James Wilson
Nov 23, 2021

There will always be a market for small cars, so it's really no surprise that there were a good number of new ones launched over the course of 2020. Over the last decade we have seen the rise and rise of the SUV, but there is still a substantial place in the hearts of many for a good old city car full of charisma and optimism.

As increasing numbers of us move towards a more urban lifestyle, the convenience of having a small run-around to duck and weave among congested side streets is hard to argue with, and small cars such as these ones listed here often prove to be some of the most enjoyable cars to drive.

Whether it's the practicality-driven maturity of the Honda Jazz, or the puppy-like exuberance of a Mini John Cooper Works, small cars offer more than just ease of parking.

It's not all rosy for the humble city-car though, as emissions restrictions get tighter, these small runarounds have found their natural habitat becoming increasingly uninhabitable. So these cars should not only offer the practicality and enjoyment of their size, but also low-emission usability around town.

So, if you're tempted by a switch to a small car, you're in the right place, as we've got five examples here that hit the road for the first time in 2020. Read on for all the details, or check out some excellent value used deals over on the BuyaCar search page.

Best new small cars from 2020

1. Honda Jazz

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Those who thought the previous-generation Honda Jazz did a little too much living up to its name with its striking styling can rest easy, as this Japanese small car is going back to its roots by offering a more toned down appearance. The 2020 Jazz further honours its ancestors with the kind of practicality few rivals get close to matching – case in point being Honda’s 'Magic Seats' - the rear seat bases fold up cinema-style allowing Jazz owners to store extra-large items in the rear footwells.

All 2020 Jazz models come as a self-charging hybrid, meaning the electronics are modest in their size and are there to assist the petrol engine rather than substitute it. Unlike any previous Jazz model, this new one is also available as a crossover-styled Crosstar version which brings a raised ride height, roof bars and body cladding.

2. Hyundai i10

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Hyundai has been turning the heat up on its European rivals recently – the i30 N hot hatch really threw a cat amongst the pigeons – and the 2020 i10 is intended to do same. Not only does the smaller i10 look upmarket, but it also comes with technology such as a proper touchscreen information and media unit (something that trumps rivals such as the Volkswagen Up) and lane keep assist.

It doesn’t end there either, with wireless phone charging, climate control and electric windows all available. Three petrol engines are available: a 1.0-litre producing 67hp, an 84hp 1.2-litre, or a turbocharged 100hp 1.0-litre in the most powerful N Line model (pictured above).

3. Hyundai i20 and i20 N

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Hyundai introduced its latest i20 supermini in 2020 and a performance version followed a few months later. There's a single engine available, the same 100hp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit found in the i10 N Line. Great strides have also been made with regards to the level of technology and safety kit on offer.

While the standard i20 looks to have taken another step up in quality over its predecessor, barging its way into the conversation alongside the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Meanwhile, Hyundai will be hoping that the hot i20 N will be able to knock the Ford Fiesta ST of its perch at the top of the performance supermini sector.

4. Mini John Cooper Works GP

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£35,000 might seem eye watering for a Mini hatchback, but the performance on offer from the 2020 John Cooper Works GP model is equally shocking. With 306hp – a number unheard of in performance superminis – and just 3,000 units being made globally - this is quite a special little thing.

Mini hasn’t just added power though, the 2020 John Cooper Works GP is also exhibiting some incredibly aggressive styling (thanks to flared wheel arches and a massive rear wing), huge brakes and reworked suspension and chassis setups. This really could be one of the best small cars that came out of 2020, but with such a limited number of models being made, though, finding a used one is likely to be tricky.

5. Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris Hybrid front three quarters view

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While previous models have been a touch conservative, this latest generation is looking to break away from this – no doubt in a bid to attract younger buyers to the brand.

The new Yaris is available as a self-charging hybrid; there are no plain petrol models available unlike previous versions of the Yaris. Furthermore, there have been improvements to the convenience and safety kit on available, with key tech including a 10-inch media display and a head-up display, along with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of features – the latter bringing lane departure warning, road sign assist and pre-collision warning.

Best new cars from 2020


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