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Does Size Matter?

By raccars Published

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With the rise of the SUV and crossover sectors, it appears that the average car is getting bigger and bigger. However, at the same time the market for teeny, tiny city cars is also booming. Not only is there a much anticipated new Smart Fortwo out this week but no less than four new city cars were introduced at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

Even if big wheels, big engines and booming exhaust notes are more your thing, it's hard to deny the cheeky appeal and entertaining driving dynamics of some of the best city cars, not to mention the convenience of being able to squeeze into the smallest parking space. Here are some of the best ever city cars:

Fiat 500

After WWII, the auto industry's priorities changed a little. Cars became simpler and cheaper, both to make and to buy, but Fiat managed to show that limited resources need not be a barrier to style with the funky little 500. Initially produced from 1957-1975, the original 500s had their tiny 479cc engine in the rear and were extremely popular and practical. Fifty years after its demise, Fiat relaunched the 500 in a thoroughly modern format, which has still managed to retain a large amount of the charm of the original.

Fiat 126

The 500's replacement never quite matched its character and popularity but proved that Fiat did know how to build really good small cars. It was heavily based upon the 500 and Fiat managed to sell more than four million units during its lifespan, from 1972-2000.

Fiat Panda

The 1980-2003 was another remarkable Fiat small car success story, with plenty of increasingly knackered looking tin boxes still racing eagerly around the Italian countryside.


Arguably the most famous car ever, the Mini began as the Austin Seven and Morris Minor Mini in 1959. By 1961 it was known as the Austin Mini and a legend was born. Both mechanically and stylistically, the Mini was revolutionary and all future small cars have been touched by its influence. The original model remained in production until 2000, then became the BMW Mini. The re-visioning of the classic, which could have been a disaster, has proved surprisingly successful.

Ford Ka

While newer versions have been accused of blandness, the first generation Ford Ka was actually a brilliant little city car. Its handling and perky performance made it a hoot to drive, while the distinctive styling illustrated its funky character perfectly. It's still a better car than rivals at twice its price.

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