Citadine car – Buying guide – UFC -Que Choisir, the top of city cars | Cnews

The top of city cars

i3, BMW, from € 27,990 (ecological bonus deduced). Its oversized wheels, its square lines and its blue keys give the BMW i3 a small 4×4 air of the future. Inside, the battery integrated under the floor gives an impression of space. The cabin is designed with natural or recycled materials, and has all the luxury to which the German brand has accustomed its customers. The i3 provides passengers with a comfortable and raised seat, ideal for urban driving. In addition, the car benefits – as an option – from an autonomy extension system. [© BMW]

City-dweller car

The city segment is by far the most represented in France. It must be said that it is available in many models to cover different needs: city dwellers at 3 or 5 doors, from 2 to 5 places, low cost or high -end, etc. All share a common point: good compactness and significant maneuverability intended to make them as practical as possible in the city, their place of favorite.

  • 1. What is a city car ?
  • 2. What are the best -selling city dwellers in France ?
  • 3. What are the different categories of city cars ?
  • 4. Cars adapted to the city
  • 5. Citadine at 2, 4 or 5 places ?
  • 6. Do you have to choose a city dweller at 3 or 5 doors ?
  • 7. Why not a city break ?
  • 8. And the look in all of this ?
  • 9. High -end city dwellers, it exists
  • 10. Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric ?
  • 11. Low cost city dweller to ride cheap
  • 12. Significant price differences
  • 13. Better and better equipped
  • 14. There are “Made in France” city workers ?

In summary

  • A city car is small and generally measures 4 m maximum.
  • There are 3 categories of city dwellers: micro-taradin (segment B0), mini-city-city (segment A or B1) and versatile city cars (segment B or B2).
  • The city cars are available in 3 or 5 -door versions, they also exist in several bodywork (sedan, station wagon or convertible) and can accommodate depending on the 2, 4 or 5 occupants models.
  • City prices vary strongly, whether it is a low cost model or a high -end version with state -of -the -art technological equipment. The prices then range from € 8,000 to more than € 34,000.
  • City cars can receive several types of engines: petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric. They can also be equipped with a bicarburation system which combines a petrol engine with LPG, GNV or E85.
  • City cars can receive a very important level of equipment which has nothing to envy to that of the higher categories. But beware, you will have to get your hands in your pocket because the prices fly away. It is therefore wise to take stock of your needs.

What is a city car ?

The city car, as its name suggests, is a small car intended for the city. Its contained dimensions give it good maneuverability allowing it to sneak everywhere and park in the smallest parking spaces. The city cars are very popular on the French market and have been, for several years, much more than half of the total sales of cars. And this segment has been growing regularly for over 7 years according to data from the CCFA (Committee of French Automobiles). Of the 20 best -selling models in 2019, 10 belong to the Citadines category.

The city market in France

Curve year Parts Marche

Source: CCFA

What are the best -selling city dwellers in France ?

In 2019, among the 100 best -selling cars in France all segments combined, there are 28 city cars. And if not the most represented car category in terms of brands and models, it is in number of registrations. French brands, provided that Dacia is considering a hexagonal brand because of its membership of the Renault group, are very largely represented in the city cars and alone occupy the first ten seats of car sales all segments combined with all segments combined. The first foreign brands to integrate the list of 100 best sellers shed their city dwellers: Toyota with its yaris (14 th) then Volkswagen and its polo shirt (15 th). Follow the Opel Corsa and the Ford Fiesta which take respectively the 19th and 20th places. Finally, let us underline the excellent result of the Renault Zoé city dweller, the only 100 % electric car to integrate the 100 best sales in France and which is 30 th, all categories combined.

Palmarks of the 30 best -selling cars in France in 2019 (in orange, city cars)

(1) The Renault Clio V appeared on the French market in mid-2019.
Source: CCFA

What are the different categories of city cars ?

Through the city cars, there are other subcategories classified according to the length of the models:

  • micro-timadins;
  • mini-city cars;
  • versatile city dwellers.


We are talking about the B0 segment here which concerns very small cars, quite few, whose total length is close to 3 m. Generally, they can only accommodate 2 passengers and these are examples of compactness.

Visual 1 Citadine microphones Smart Fortwo Toyota IQ

Mini Citadines

This is the intermediate category in the city center segment. The size of the mini-taradin is less than 3.7 m. It is generally in this category (segment A or B1) that we find the cheapest cars of the segment.

Visual 2 Minis Citadines Citroen C1 Fiat 500

Visual 3 Minis Citadines Renault Twingo Volkswagen Up

Mini-city examples

Versatile city dwellers

It is the must of the city center segment: the B or B2 segment, the length of which is around 4 m. He concentrates the biggest sales of cars. There are stars like the Peugeot 208 or the Renault Clio. High -end manufacturers have even been interested in it and offer very well equipped cars and a finish that has nothing to envy to the upper segments. This is for example the case of Audi A1, DS Automobiles DS3 or Volkswagen Polo.

Visual 4 Peugeot 208 Renault Clio versatile Citadines

Visual 5 versatile city dwellers Audia A1 Volkswagen Polo

Examples of versatile city dwellers

Cars adapted to the city

When looking for a city car, we especially need a handy car. The robbery diameter will therefore be a decisive criterion when choosing. Be careful to check well if it is a value known as “between walls” (in an underground parking lot for example) or “between sidewalks” (in the street). In the first case, this characterizes the possibility of the car to make a U-turn between two walls, which takes into account the entire length of the car. In the second, for the value “between sidewalks”, the front bumper can exceed without this causes damage to the bodywork.

But if they prove to be very handy, the city cars do not have a very generous volume of trunk. This is all the more true if it is a micro-city center where the trunk is reduced to its congruent portion. Logically a versatile city car will be able to accommodate imposing luggage.

The characteristics of certain city cars

(1) The mini trunk volume is measured with the rear seats in place and up to the windows. The maximum trunk volume is measured with the folded back seats and up to the roof.

Citadine at 2, 4 or 5 places ?

The category of city cars has this exceptional that it offers several choices in number of places. There are indeed models at 2, 4 or 5 places. Be careful however, for the latter, the 3 places in the back are often narrow and do not allow occupants to travel for a long time in good conditions. Even for a larger versatile city dweller, the 5th place should therefore be considered as an extra place, for occasional use.

2-seater models are only those in the micro-city category: Smart Fortwo or Toyota IQ.

The models offering 4 places belong to the Mini Citadines segment. This is the case of the Citroën C1, the Fiat 500, the Renault Twingo, the Smart Forfour or the Volkswagen Up!.

To have 5 places, it will be necessary to opt for a versatile city car.

Do you have to choose a city dweller at 3 or 5 doors ?

Quite present a few years ago, the 3 -door city dwellers are becoming increasingly rare. Unless it is a 2-seater micro-city, it therefore becomes quite difficult to opt for a 3 doors. It may not be worse because due to the wingspan of the doors, access can become very complicated when the outdoor space is limited, as in a parking lot in the basement for example, and access in the rear seats is never easy. Not to mention the risk of shaping the doors to the opening against an obstacle.

If you need to install a car seat on the back, it is better to opt for a 5 -door city car.

Why not a city break ?

It is possible to reconcile small car and loading space by opting for a break. This type of body, which hosts a trunk of a relatively generous dimension, is mainly deployed for versatile city dwellers. We find for example the Mini Clubman, the Renault Clio Estate, the Seat Ibiza St or the Skoda Fabia Combi.

Before choosing, it is wise to compare the height of the loading threshold. It corresponds to the height of the threshold bar to the level of the road. The lower it is, the better, because it will prevent you from lifting the loading too high to store it in the trunk.

Break city cars volume

Renault Clio Estate

Skoda Fabia Combi

(1) The mini trunk volume is measured with the rear seats in place and up to the windows. The maximum trunk volume is measured with the folded back seats and up to the roof.

And the look in all of this ?

City cars have often been developed for utility use of the urban car by emphasizing exclusively on the practical side. In recent years, the visual aspect has become a real criterion of choice and models with particularly worked design have appeared. This is the case of the Alfa Mito, DS DS3, Fiat 500, Mini… End of the end in terms of chic, some city cars are even declined in a convertible or discoverable version such as the Fiat 500c, DS3 Cabrio, Mini Cabrio… but these versions are Generally quite expensive: count on average 15 to 20 % more than for a traditional bodywork.

High -end city dwellers, it exists

Some city cars receive state -of -the -art equipment. That they concern security (multiple airbags, ESP, line crossing warning, blind spot detector, automatic emergency braking, etc.) or comfort (bizone air conditioning, digital counter, contactless opening, Bluetooth connectivity, etc.), modern equipment is now installed on certain high -end city cars. Among these models, the most expensive in the category, we can cite the Audi A1, the DS3, the Mini or the Opel Adam.

Some manufacturers even offer high -end finishes for their traditional models. The materials and the level of equipment are then revised upwards. This is for example the case for Renault which declines the Clio in initial Paris finish. Please note, the price is accordingly and it takes at least € 24,000 for this version. To be compared to the € 14,100 of the Life Life version.

Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric ?

Diesel city cars

The distribution of engines in the Citadine category has recently evolved. After giving in to the singing of the sirens of diesel, the manufacturers finally considerably reduced this engine of their catalogs. It must be said that its less and less advantageous taxation and its programmed banishment of the city centers complicate it-rightly-largely the task. In addition, this engine is not very suitable for exclusively urban use and may encounter fouling concerns (turbocharger, particle filter, EGR valve, etc.), with an invoice of several thousand euros at the key. Fortunately, for a few years, fewer and fewer models have been offered in diesel and only a few versatile city cars, intended to get out of cities and travel longer, can still receive this engine.

Hybrid city dwellers

Hybrid city dwellers are not common, the most widespread in France being the Toyota Yaris. But this is not a rechargeable hybrid that allows you to drive several tens of kilometers in all-electric mode. To do this, it would be necessary to take on a large volume of battery, which is sometimes not compatible with the place available in a city car. At the end of 2020, Renault should offer a hybrid version of its Clio, the Clio e-tech. With its so -called self -tensable hybrid motorization and its 140 hp, this hybrid should allow, according to the manufacturer, to drive in electric up to 80 % of the time in town (only at the time of starts) and to reduce its fuel consumption until 40 % compared to an equivalent petrol engine. Honda will market jazz at the same time, a new model only available in hybrid.

The main hybrid urbanities available in France in 2020

Yaris 1.5 vvt-i hybrid

(1) Manufacturer data according to the WLTP approval cycle.

Electric city cars

Strangely, 100 % electric models are not yet very widespread in the city center segment when it is in the city that this motorization takes on its full meaning. The best -selling in France, the Renault Zoé, only arrived on the market in 2012. The oldest are certainly the Smart Electric Drive (or Smart ED) which appeared in 2009 (renamed EQ in 2020 on the 3rd generation of Smart) as well as the Citroën C-Zéro triptych, Mitsubishi I-Miev and Peugeot Ion of 2010 then the BMW i3 marketed since 2013. But the choice is growing in 2020 and several electric city cars will appear: Fiat has announced the marketing of an electric version of its Fiat 500, Honda will offer the Honda E, Mini La Cooper SE, Opel presents the corsa- E, Peugeot an E-208, Renault a Twingo Ze and the Volkswagen group A new SEAT MII Electric, Skoda Citigoe and Volkswagen e-Up trio!

The main electric city cars available in France in 2020

(1) Manufacturer data according to the WLTP approval cycle.

Petrol city dwellers

For petrol engines, it is possible to opt for so -called “bicarburation” models. They operate on natural gas (GNV, a solution especially present for corporate cars because the GNV has not yet been offered in service stations), LPG (liquefied oil gas) or E85. If the first two require the transformation of the vehicle with the assembly of a second full fuel supply circuit (tank, pipes, injectors, etc.), the last can be used after the simple assembly of an adapter to the management level electronic. These modifications will cost 1,000 to 2,000 € depending on the complexity of the vehicles. It will then take several years to make the investment that will be justified especially for those who ride the most.

Stop & Start

If you have the possibility, opt for a model equipped with the Stop & Start system, really omnipresent on recent city cars. This device cuts the engine when stopped and automatically ensures its restart as soon as the driver kits, touches the steering wheel or loose the foot of the brake pedal. It thus allows an interesting consumption saving: up to around 15 %. Be careful however, under certain conditions, this system is ineffective, when the battery does not have a sufficient level of load or when the engine is cold for example. Indeed, electronic management is designed to preserve the mechanics and guarantee, with all blows, the restart of the engine.

Low cost city dweller to ride cheap

Dacia has imposed itself in minds as a cheap car synonymous. Its success in the Citadine segment demonstrates this and the Sandero is the 5th best -selling car in France in 2019 all categories and it is even the 4th among city dwellers. But if the car is offered from € 8,290, you will have to ignore technological equipment, leather or even air conditioning and be satisfied with hard plastics, not very pleasant to the touch. And it’s the same ilk on other low cost models, sold for less than € 12,000. For example, on the Ford Ka+ (whose marketing stopped at the end of 2019), we regretted a withdrawal ergonomics compared to more modern competition due to many buttons on the central console and the steering wheel (the car does not have touch screen). The Kia Picanto, whose prices exceed the € 11,000, is not really better and we regretted in 2017, during the release of the 3rd generation, hard materials, which sound hollow and seem sensitive to scratches, as well as Ergonomics concerns: low controls, overloaded steering wheel ..

The top of city cars

Peugeot 108, from € 10,250. Chic city car, a model of lightness, it is ideal for small daily journeys. In town, it consumes relatively little (4.5 l/100 km), but can also tackle larger journeys. The range rises in refinement with the Editions Supply, which include the latest technological accessories, such as the top ! and its lumping roof. The little “more” of the model is the variety of possible combinations to personalize the exterior and the interior, varying colors and atmospheres. It thus adapts to the desires of its owner.[© Peugeot]

Clio Initial Paris, Renault, from € 21,700. This is a new clio higher -end. The initial Paris line gives the famous city car a particularly chic look: it stands out thanks to a shield with chrome finishes. Inside each lighthouse, we find the initial Paris signature. With the fixed glass roof option, the brightness becomes optimal and adds to the comfort.[© Renault]

i3, BMW, from € 27,990 (ecological bonus deduced). Its oversized wheels, its square lines and its blue keys give the BMW i3 a small 4×4 air of the future. Inside, the battery integrated under the floor gives an impression of space. The cabin is designed with natural or recycled materials, and has all the luxury to which the German brand has accustomed its customers. The i3 provides passengers with a comfortable and raised seat, ideal for urban driving. In addition, the car benefits – as an option – from an autonomy extension system. [© BMW]

Mini Cooper, from € 17,250. She is recognizable by her vintage figure. Its three -door model has made an exception in the ranges of city cars which all have their five -door declination. But this is now the case with Mini, whose Cooper also exists in a extended version, a special model that does not change this feeling of being driving a miniKart cut for the city. Distinguished and sporty, it retains its historic brand image, handy at will while guaranteeing a solid handling on the main axes.[© Mini]

Toyota Yaris 2, from € 13,600. Thanks to its very compact template and its great maneuverability, the Toyota Yaris sneaks and wins easily. She wears in her new version of more marked curves. Its very original front panel displays a large ventilation mouth. On the driving side, it benefits from very pleasant power steering assistance. The small city car was designed for the city but it also adapts to the road thanks to excellent engines. Very dynamic, Toyota Yaris combines sportiness and comfort to the delight of its four passengers. [© Toyota]

Dacia Sandero, from € 7,990. There is something for every taste. At the entrance, the Sandero is very small – in five -door version, it remains a large city car – and functional. Sober, comfortable and classic. Over the models, it widens and tends to the family vehicle, up to the large stepway, with the appearance of a 4×4, but still cut for the city. Wider than its sisters, it plays on a more spacious cabin and a driving as pleasant outside the city, which would make you forget that it is above all a city car.[© Dancia]

Fiat Panda, from € 9,990. It is a small city car with cubic shapes, perfect for urban traffic. But the Fiat Panda is also a malignant car, in which many storage are hidden. The interior is surprisingly spacious, four to five passengers can travel comfortably. This large interior is also completely modular. The rear seats and the passenger front can be folded down, offering a very large storage space. Qualities that make it a miniutilitarian. [© Fiat]

MII, SEAT, from € 9,640. In three -door version, the MII plays it very small format. Compact, flexible and comfortable, it is especially ideal for sneaking and ensuring complicated maneuvers in the city center. Sober interior, the rigidity of the seats evokes the interior of a Twingo, customizable to the envy, to the purchase. On the decoration side, a special series coded by Mango recalls that the MII is aimed in particular at a female audience, looking for a pocket car, easy to store in the city.[© SEAT]

Ford Fiesta, from € 8,990. Ford has been reinventing the fiesta for over forty years. Today, it is at the cutting edge of technology, equipped with multiple accessories on the latest models. There is the Keyfree system, which opens and locks the doors without leaving the key from its bag, contactless start, a reversing camera or the Stop & Go system, which cuts the engine on short stops (red lights by example) to save fuel. The Ecoboost version of certain models strengthens this green trend, with very low consumption, for a driving, which is almost sporty.[© Ford]

ion, Peugeot, from € 14,990 (ecological bonus deduced). With its reduced size, the Peugeot Ion is inserted everywhere: it is made for the city. The little city car is simple and discreet with very refined lines, but its very large windshield also gives it an original look. A on-board computer, the remote-controlled centralized locking, front and rear electric windows, diurnal lights, two retractable cup holders, and a 12 V socket: Comfort is complete. The Peugeot Ion can accommodate four people, and has a small chest. But it is also modular. In a few manipulations, the rear seats can be removed to make room for a large loading volume. [© Peugeot]

BlueCar, Bolloré, from € 12,000 (ecological bonus deduced). Autolib ’in Paris, Bluelly in Lyon, Bluecub in Bordeaux, the Bluecar crosses the streets of major cities of France. For its version intended for the general public, it has dressed in navy blue. This small car, with an autonomy of 250 kilometers, was designed to be above all practical. Four people can travel there, it has a standard size chest and a touch screen with an integrated GPS, as well as a battery indicator. Bluecar has the double advantage of being able to recharge in the autolib terminals ’and to be the cheapest electric city car.[© Le Meur – Lenormand – DPPI/BlueCar]

All new compact cars

new car

A large part of the new car searches per need concern the size and many buyers targeting a small automobile. This compact car which has an affordable purchase price, of course, but above all a reduced length compared to other models and which is commonly called city or mini-city.

Thanks to its low dimension, it meets the main mobility needs of a motorist in town: riding without difficulty in a dense and tight traffic, as well as park quickly in a flywheel, in the street or in underground parking. This is your case ? You want to buy a new, practical and efficient car in the city center on a daily basis ? You will have a wide choice.

Indeed, the French automotive market is full of urban vehicles, which also concentrates the bulk of new car registrations. French manufacturers and foreign manufacturers offer several sizes, 2 meters 70 to 4 meters, with 3 or 5 doors, 2 or 4 places and a trunk of 200 to 300 liters. Renault Twingo and Clio, Peugeot 108 and 208, Citroën C1 and C3 for example. If you want to see a list of small new cars available from proximity dealers and agents, at discount levels up to -44%, this happens on this page of the Kidioui comparator !

New car to park easily

new car to park easily

In urban areas, parking spaces are often limited and cramped. This is why many buyers living in town, or circulating there regularly, are looking for a new car to park easily. The principle is simple: the lower the size of an automobile model, the more its radius and its robbery decrease decrease. Therefore, it takes less space or flywheel to rob the vehicle. In addition, there will be more exploitable places with compact cars than with longer vehicles, without being afraid of rubbing or damaging the front or back of the bodywork.

In other words, a small new car easy to park requires little time and effort from each niche, classic, in epis or battle. Hence its usefulness if you have to make several maneuvers per day, especially in narrow places such as garages in the basement. The Queen of the Domaine is the Smart Fortwo (2m70) but there is also a wide range of small 4 -seater city dwellers easy to park: Fiat 500, Ford Ka+, Kia Picanto, Volkswagen Up, etc. No need to stress while you can simplify your life by choosing the right model: from this section, compare only new car offers to park easily ..

New car to roll easily

new car to roll easily

Apart from being quick to park, you may also be looking for a new car to drive easily, in particular in town. It is true that a compact vehicle will allow you to borrow any narrow without cold sweat and to sneak in a loaded traffic without fear. If you circulate most of the time in urban areas, this is a real advantage in order to remain serene behind the wheel. Especially since a new small car to ride in town will often be easier and easy to handle than a higher car and motorization. While being as trustworthy and reactive to each red fire starting due to its low weight.

Each car model cited above as well as the Dacia Sandero, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen Polo or Opel Corsa (4m) are of this nature. This interests you as part of your purchase project ? Start your search for new cars to ride easily now: we list here all the mini-city and city car offers in car dealerships and agent near you.

Your future car must meet another need ?

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