Fans of small cars know they’ve got the upper hand when it comes to urban driving, parking and fuel economy. However, this usually comes at the cost of space in the vehicle. 

Usually, but not always. The supermini class is increasingly designed with space maximisation in mind. If you’re looking for a Tardis on wheels, here are some of the most spacious small cars available today.

Volkswagen Polo

You know what you’re getting with a Polo. As with all Volkswagens, it’s known for being well-built and easy to drive.

And it’s roomy. With its “generous interior space”, it tops the ‘Best small cars 2020’ chart compiled by review site What Car?.

There’s plenty of legroom for driver and passengers alike, and a good-sized 355l boot. But when the seats are folded down, that increases to 1,125l. There’s not much of a step to speak of, which is useful for getting bulky items in. Plus the wheel arches don’t extend into the boot, so it’s a convenient square shape.

SEAT Ibiza

This supermini by SEAT is a best-seller and it’s not hard to see why. The Ibiza is surprisingly roomy for its size.

Even if you’re tall, the seats should go back far enough to give you comfortable legroom. There’s also plenty of shoulder space, and ample legroom in the back - bested only by the Volkswagen Polo and Honda Jazz in the small car category. And the ceiling is high enough for six footers.

It has a lot of components in common with the Polo and exactly the same boot size - 355 litres. That’s more than a Ford Focus, for example.

Each year, the SEAT Ibiza is in close competition with the Polo for the What Car? ‘best small car’ accolade. While the Ibiza is “seriously spacious inside and should hold its value better than cheaper rivals”, it found itself in second place in 2020. But for those buying on a budget, it pips the Polo for being cheaper.

Honda Jazz

Because it’s practical and comfortable, the Honda Jazz has traditionally appealed to older drivers. But newer models are a bit sleeker in an effort to appeal to younger drivers, as well.

The Jazz is more spacious than you might expect. It’s taller than average for cars in its class, meaning more headroom. The boot size is pretty much on par with the Ibiza and Polo, at 354l, and still above average in size. This expands to an impressive 1,313l with the seats down.

The Honda Jazz Hybrid also comes out tops in the 2020 ‘best used small cars’ category in consumer magazine Which?. Scoring 74%, the consumer reviews site reports “The Jazz also delivers on the practicality front, with its unique ‘magic’ folding rear seats.”

Dacia Sandero

The Dacia Sandero can tick boxes for both price and space.

The boot has 320l of space, but this grows to a whopping 1,200l with the seats down.

And according to Auto Express, “A price of £7,000 makes the Sandero the cheapest new car for sale in the UK today”.

Skoda Fabia

Formerly the What Car? ‘best small car’, in 2020 the Fabia comes a respectable third. Tipped for being small, practical and fuel-efficient, it’s another car which shares a selection of parts with the Polo, while also being more affordable.

Despite its supermini size, the Fabia is as roomy inside as a Ford Focus. It also features wide-opening doors, which is a bonus for accessibility – especially if you’re a parent and need to fit your children’s car seats in the backseat.

According to What Car?, “Thanks to the car’s relatively tall roofline, the driver and front passenger enjoy a generous amount of head room, while there’s easily enough leg room to satisfy even really tall occupants.”

The 305l boot is bang-on average for a supermini, but this increases to as much as 1,125l with the seats folded down. As they’re split-fold seats, you can also increase boot space with room for one or two passengers in the back.

If you’re looking for a small, practical car, but don’t want to compromise on space, one of these options may be the right fit for you and your family.

Go to Solved to read more about driving, the rules of the road and road safety.