Best small automatic cars 2019

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First published: 29th June 2018
If you’re looking for a new small car but need an automatic gearbox, then until recently, your choice may have been limited. Quite often, smaller cars were only available with manual gearboxes, but today, most cars will come with the option of a gearbox that will do the shifting for you. Here’s our pick of the best cars available.
  • Volkswagen Polo – the versatile one
  • Kia Picanto – the long warranty one
  • Suzuki Ignis – the bonkers one
  • Renault Captur – the SUV one
  • Mini Hatch – the posh one
Volkswagen Polo – the versatile one
The latest Polo is one of our favourite small cars, mixing great quality with really solid handling and a range of engine options. What’s particularly great, for those looking for an auto gearbox, is that you can choose from three different engines and six different trim levels, from an entry-level SE, with a 95 horsepower, 1.0-litre engine, through to the top-end GTI+ with a 200 horsepower, 2.0-litre engine. There’s an auto Polo for everyone.
Volkswagen Polo
Kia Picanto – the long warranty one
There are many reasons to like Kias - not least their style, solidity and affordability – but the warranty package you get is certainly one of the more compelling ones. The standard seven-year/100,000-mile agreement not only gives you peace-of-mind for a very lengthy period, it also helps reduce depreciation on your car (any motorist’s single biggest running cost) because the warranty is fully transferrable to the new owner. The Picanto is also a cracking car in a number of other areas, being enjoyable and settled to drive, and surprisingly spacious. Cars with the 1.25-litre engine can be specced with an automatic gearbox, and it’s available in several trim levels.
Kia Picanto
Suzuki Ignis – the bonkers one
If you want a car that stands out, then feast your eyes on Suzuki’s Ignis. It comes with just one engine – a 1.2-litre with 89 horsepower – but you can spec it with an automatic gearbox in a couple of different trim levels. It’s also got plenty of interior space for such a small car, a decent level of equipment across the range, and it’s cheap to buy and run too.
Suzuki Ignis
Renault Captur – the SUV one
SUVs are all the rage at the moment, and we don’t see that changing any time soon. They deliver a mix of style and practicality that few other car types can match, and being small is no barrier to that. The Renault Captur is not short of style, and it’s one of the most practical cars of its type, with loads of space inside, a big boot and a whole bunch of family-friendly features. It’s also affordable to run and it’s comfortable and quiet on the road. The entry-level Play trim isn’t available with an automatic gearbox, but you can get one in with the 90 horsepower diesel engine in Iconic and GT Line trims.
Renault Captur
Mini Hatch – the posh one
Not all small cars have to be budget options, and the small car market has a variety of swanky models to cater for those with a taste for the finer things in life. The Mini Hatch is our current favourite, especially in five-door format. The Mini badge immediately gives it the classy image that well-heeled buyers crave, while the funky styling makes it even more desirable. The interior isn’t the roomiest, but it’s sensational for quality and there’s lots of scope for personalising your car. Best of all, it’s great to drive, with a range of punchy-yet-efficient engines and a great balance of comfort and agility. Automatic gearboxes are available across the range, from the entry-level Mini One to the sporty John Cooper Works model. It’s not the best automatic gearbox ever produced, but when the rest of the car is this good, that’s not the end of the world.
Mini Hatch