Winner: Volkswagen e-Up
Though the electric version of the Up, Volkswagen e-Up, has been in production a long time, it was once deemed too expensive for the Irish market in comparison to the petrol-engined versions. It turns out it was just ahead of its time, though, as it was introduced this year by Volkswagen Ireland, and it turns out to be more relevant than ever. It’s a perfect size for the city, yet it’s not out of its depth on the open road and it’s more fun to drive than most hot hatches.
Sure, the interior isn’t as festooned with high-tech screens as the latest models are, but its refreshing simplicity is all anyone needs from a city car, as is its ample 253-kilometre range. We even think it still looks great.
The Fiat 500 is a real stalwart of the city-car class and a model name the Italian company has been surviving off for decades. The regular petrol model now uses hybrid power and is as chic as ever, but the most impressive version is the all-electric 500e. For added Italian brio, go for an open-topped model – and pray for sun.
Toyota Aygo X
Reflecting wider demand for more SUVs, Toyota has reinvented the Aygo as a baby-crossover called the Aygo X. It’s still an efficient and reliable little hatchback though, so don’t let the pseudo-off-road looks fool you into thinking it can climb mountains, too. Still, the raised ride height is useful in the city and it’s priced from a tempting €20,000 or so.