Small cars: seven inexpensive cars in a comparative test seven dwarfs

Small car test: Seven inexpensive cars compared

small car test: seven inexpensive cars compared

The world of automotive new cars under 10.000 euro is pleasantly colorful. We make the comparison

small car test: seven affordable cars in comparison

Impressions are deceptive – the dacia (center) towers over its colorful competitors by up to 60 cm

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

With a base price of 6.990 euros, the dacia sandero is by far the most affordable offer on the market

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

No other car in the test field has more comfortable suspension than the dacia .

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

. But it lacks sportiness and ESP

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

With up to 1.200 liters the dacia takes most luggage with it

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

as a five seater still remains 320 liters

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

The soft seats are comfortable and fluffy, but offer no side support. There is room ..

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

… plenty of room in the sandero, even in the second row, and even tall people can’t complain

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

Functional: the quality level is absolutely okay for the extremely low base price

Dacia sandero 1.2 16V

the 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine (75 hp) in the dacia comes from the parent company renault and is also used in the twingo

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

From 9.490 euros for the japanese cuore

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

In curves, the japanese pushes over the small front wheels .

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

. Steering and gearshift feel are just right

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

The daihatsu is variable and easy to load .

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

. With the seats pushed back, 160 liters of cargo volume remain

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

The test tires in size 165/55 R 15 V

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

On the soft cuore seats you can stand it for a while thanks to plenty of headroom

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

The rear seat bench can be pushed far back – then the cuore almost becomes a chauffeur’s car

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

Narrow and clear – the smooth plastics look a bit cheap

Daihatsu cuore 1.0

The three-cylinder engine in the daihatsu, which is just one liter in size, is by no means undersized at 69 hp

The women’s favorite has a base price of 9.700 euro

Super chassis and very mature handling .

. This small car loves curves

the hatch in the ka is quite narrow .

. After all, 224 liters are hidden behind the edge

The brakes leave a convincing impression thanks to their very good dosing capability

In the front, it’s easy to get along in the smallest ford – in the back, it’s really cramped in the three-door version

Good-humored cockpit with fashionable switches and solid workmanship

Unobtrusive and understated 1.25-liter four-cylinder engine. Economical thanks to start-stop

hyundai, of all companies, delivers with a starting price of 10.290 euros the most expensive car in the test field

With its neutral handling .

. The smallest hyundai looks bigger than it actually is

The hyundai convinces with a well usable 225-liter compartment .

. Folded down, it is a full 925 liters

The gearshift console restricts a little the knee room, otherwise you sit on the tight ..

… upholstered and hard-wearing seats very comfortable – noticeably lower at the back than at the front

Logical operation and convincing workmanship

Somewhat strained one-liter four-cylinder with rough acoustics and 70 hp in the hyundai

the new kia looks fresher and is available for only 9.390 euros much cheaper than its predecessor in the shop window

Precise and neutral, the kia steers through curves .

. The chassis is sporty and comfortable

the kia rear end is not quite so good to load .

. And with 200 to 870 liters also somewhat smaller than that of the hyundai

The front seats are the most comfortable in the test field. Large dimensions, firm and with .

… sufficient lateral support. even in the back, passengers can enjoy a long ride in the kia picanto

In the kia, the high-quality, beautifully finished material mix and the numerous storage compartments are pleasing

Typical growling three-cylinder engine with sluggish response but just enough 69 hp

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

The small renault is available for an entry-level price of 9.990 euros fairly equipped

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

The frenchman is more comfortable than sporty .

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

. In the border area it understeers strongly

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

The individually sliding and folding seats in the renault .

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

. Releases up to 951 liters of stowage volume

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

The brakes of the renault are exemplary and consistently achieve the best deceleration values in the entire test field

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

The comfort of the twingo seats could be a little better – the rear seats can be moved around

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

Renault-typical central info unit – steering column with optional tachometer

Renault twingo 1.2 16V

With its powerful 75-hp four-cylinder engine, the Renault twingo can reach a maximum of 169 km/h on the highway

Its base price of 8.990 euro qualifies the suzuki alto as a real special offer

Little weight and a short wheelbase make the alto a dynamic car .

. Good that there is ESP

The suzuki trunk is the smallest (129 liters) .

. But with the backrests folded down there is a flat surface

Space is tight but adequate. Drivers with long legs could ..

… steering with the knees. In the rear, the trunk lid restricts headroom

Cheap plastic dominates the cockpit. But the switches are clearly arranged and kept to a minimum

Rough tripod in the suzuki – at 0.996 liters, the smallest, but by no means the most economical in the test (6.5 l)

What can you expect from cars that have less than 10.000 euros? A whole lot, as this colorful comparative test shows


With a base price of 6.990 euros is the dacia sandero by far the most favorable offer on the market. But in this case cheap doesn’t mean cheap at all. With an overall length of 4.02 meters, the sandero is the largest car in this comparison test. On average, it is a full 40 centimeters longer than the othersand is even almost 60 centimeters longer than the shortest in the test (daihatsu cuore). So it’s no surprise that the sandero has the edge when it comes to space, since it’s almost in the compact class and not the smallest or smallest of the compacts.

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In the comparative test it passes as the only really suitable five-seater, and even offers 320 liters of space in the trunk (with the rear seats folded down: 1.200 liters). However, on long trips, one would be pleased with somewhat more comfortable and less sweaty seats that offer better support. Thus one slips with curves now and then laterally from the seat. You should not be too sporty with the dacia sandero anyway they can’t drive, because there is no ESP even for an extra charge.

the dacia meets simple requirements in terms of materials and workmanship. many of the switches and levers come from the large series of the parent company renault, and so the engine and transmission also leave a solid impression. The 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine is only noticeable at very high engine speeds. With 6.8 liters per 100 km, the dacia consumes the most, but also delivers sufficient power. the more powerful 1.6-liter engine with 85 hp, which is only available from the laureate trim level (9.990 euros), could be missed at most on the highway beyond speed 130.

already on the first meters it becomes clear that everything is designed for comfort. Especially on bad roads or gravel tracks, the romanian can score points with its french genes. Even deep potholes are no longer daunting here, as the soft chassis smoothes them out with ease. You have to make concessions in terms of dynamics. Too big are the steering wheel angles, the reactions of the steering and suspension too indirect, the body movements too swaying.

Although the sandero achieves one of the best lap times on the handling course, this is only possible for professionals who know how to take advantage of the lively load change reactions. normal drivers are quickly overwhelmed, and there is no ESP for the dacia sandero. In addition, the braking performance could be better. But the sandero the cost rating is very high, because behind the 6.990 euro, even after a closer look, there’s no hint of a hitch. And the running costs for dacia drivers are no higher than those of its rivals.

On the next page, we’ll look at the daihatsu cuore 1.0


Admittedly, the full-grown dacia sandero (4.02 meters in total length) and the short 3.46-meter dacia sandero are both too big daihatsu It’s risky to pit the two against each other in a comparative test. But the 9.490 euro japanese does not do badly in the test. The amount of space it offers in just five square meters of floor space is impressive. You don’t really feel cramped anywhere because of the ample headroom also because the rear passengers can enter the car via their own doors and slide the rear seat back almost to the tailgate.

This is how the cuore a limousine feeling in the rear with your legs crossed. However, there is not much left of the trunk in this position. 160 liters of luggage have to suffice for the four passengers. But they can look out of large, steep side windows and lean against the super-fluffy cuddly seats, which somehow exude camping charm from the 70s. On bad roads, the daihatsu is quickly overtaxed especially when it is loaded. Then, from time to time, the passengers even have to put up with the punchy suspension, which only really feels sovereign on flat roads.

its low weight of only 858 kilograms is immediately noticeable in the cuore. The three-cylinder engine, with just 69 hp, is almost sporty when it pushes the car along, always growls, but is slow to reach top speeds. Driving pleasure the direct, if somewhat synthetic steering and the crisp gearbox, whose shifting distances are a bit long, are a great help. On the handling course, however, it quickly becomes apparent that the experienced dynamics are only a subjective impression.

The cuore is about five seconds behind the competition in lap time, which is mainly due to poor traction. The body sways too much outward in curves and takes the load off the inner front wheel. When changing direction, the car also pushes over the single-steered 15-inch wheels, which at 165 millimeters are too narrow for fast laps. But they help the small daihatsu cuore the best average fuel consumption in the group.

With 5.3 liters of super per 100 kilometers, it can set itself apart from its competitors with start-stop technology at similar performance levels followed by the ford ka. The equipment list is quite clear, as is usual for the class, although the high surcharge for the safety package is noticeable. Although there are head and knee airbags in addition to the ESP, they are only available from the expensive top equipment level (total: 32,000 euros).90 euros). But daihatsu now offers a five-year warranty of up to 150 euros.000 km. However: who decides for the daihatsu, should know that the manufacturer withdraws 2013 from the German market. 130 service points to be retained.

Continue on to the next page with the ford ka 1.2


The ka is a women’s favorite. The crisp proportions, the bright colors and the fresh interior are sure to take Cologne’s hearts by storm. Maybe this is also due to the Italian genes, because the smallest ford shares a base with the fiat 500. But it’s not just the emotional benefits that make the ka so attractive ka talk. In addition to the very well finished body and the high-quality plastics in the interior- in terms of quality, it only has to admit defeat to the kia- the front seats are extremely comfortable on long journeys, even if it takes a little longer to get used to the differently shaped switches.

A lot of space and very comfortable seats are only in the front. In the rear, the flat roof line and thick side flanks restrict any freedom of movement. In addition, getting into the rear is an act of contortion, because the ka is still only available as a three-door model. The trunk (224 to 710 liters) is not exactly easy to load due to the small hatch and the nested loading area.

on the road the ford can convince all along the line. The chassis is pleasantly comfortable and does not let itself be disturbed even by successive bumps in the road; it always reacts with sensitive compression and rebound. Yet it remains sportily taut. And of all the cars tested here, the ka is the easiest and fastest to maneuver around the curvy handling course even better than the dacia sandero and the kia picanto. In addition, the crisp, short gearshift, the very well controllable brakes and the authentic feedback from the direct steering all help.

The shortest wheelbase in the test also ensures the fastest slalom run. the ka maneuvers around the pylons so briskly that working behind the wheel is a real pleasure. That’s precisely why we’d like to see ford ka more power. With 69 hp, it is by no means weaker than the others, but its considerable traction and dynamic reserves make it seem more underpowered than others. The consumption certifies the engine its restraint- 5.5 liters on average after 100 km on the log.

The otherwise completely inconspicuous and very smooth-running 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine switches off automatically when stationary. like its competitors, ford’s offer (9.700 euro) in the sense of AZ standard equipment by no means complete. ESP costs a flat 360 euro surcharge, and for electric windows must be added to the 1.000 euros more expensive trend equipment. For air conditioning and radio are again 1.200 euros, which means that a reasonably equipped ford ka quickly passes the 13.cracking the 000-euro barrier.

Continue on the next page with the hyundai i10 1.1

HYUNDAI i10 1.1

Of all things hyundai delivers with an entry price of 10.290 euros the most expensive car in the test field of the seven dwarfs and is the only one above the 10.000 euro threshold. Because a few crosses still have to be made for the AUTO ZEITUNG’s standard equipment, the kai remains the best of the three i10 also reasonably equipped (13.820 euros) most expensive. For its length of only 3.56 meters, it offers an astonishing amount of space in the interior. The front seat is as comfortable and upright as in a much larger car, albeit with a slightly higher seating position and less side support.

Only the hard edge on the raised gearshift console reduces comfort and knee room for taller drivers. In the rear, the two of you can’t complain about a lack of headroom or side room either. The solid workmanship of the body and interior is also praiseworthy, as is the spirited but not exaggerated mix of materials in the dashboard with its large, clearly arranged buttons. With 225 to 925 liters, the i10 has one of the most generous stowage capacities of all mini cars. The large, rounded hatch and the flat loading edge also make it quite easy to load the car. And on top of that, the less rounded body shape and the large rear window give you a better overview.

the korean company focuses on comfort when it comes to the chassis. While the hyundai i10 can’t win any trophies on the handling course with its neutral but slightly understeering handling and somewhat spongy steering, comfort lovers will be pleased with the well-balanced suspension, which doesn’t buckle even with a heavy load. However, the i10 does not deliver a glorious performance with the second worst braking values in the test.

Compared to the three-cylinder engines of the competitors, the 1.1-liter four-cylinder in the hyundai gets down to business at low revs. It outperforms all competitors in the fifth gear elasticity test. When overtaking in the hyundai, you don’t have to reach for the gearshift lever, which is crisp but sometimes a little imprecise. In everyday driving, the noise level remains low thanks to the good insulation, and the engine is only noticeable at higher speeds.

When stationary, all you can hear from the outside is the cute bubbling from the small exhaust pipe. On the test fuel consumption round, the hyundai i10 an average of 5.8 liters of premium gasoline per 100 kilometers is acceptable. As usual, running costs remain low, and the good warranty conditions make the i10 a fair offer despite the slightly higher base price, but not yet a winning model.

On the next page we will continue with the kia picanto 1.0


Although the hyundai i10 and the kia picanto from one company, so they are related, but the new kia picanto is a completely different car. In any case, there are hardly any similarities in body shape and interior, although the wheelbase and exterior dimensions are almost identical. The younger kia looks fresher and is available for only 9.390 euros clearly cheaper in the shop window. For this price, it also offers impressive basic equipment (daytime running lights, head and side airbags), which is further improved in the vision trim (only 640 euros more expensive), the lavishly equipped spirit version (12.390 euro) is even almost complete.

With this challenge, it seems almost cheeky that the picanto also makes the most mature impression. In no other opponent do you sit so comfortably and have such a spacious and well thought-out cockpit in front of you. There are plenty of usable storage compartments, and the materials and workmanship are of an absolutely high quality for this price range. Space is good in both the front and the rear, although the rear door openings are slightly narrower than those of the hyundai and passengers have to tuck their feet in when getting in.

the fact that the kia is easy to get along with on long journeys is also due to the low noise levels and the excellent suspension comfort. On highway stages, the sufficiently firm design is pleasing, and on bad roads, the suspension’s absorption capacity, which does not diminish even when loaded, is impressive. On country roads, the crisp gearshift and precise steering are a real joy to drive. Thanks to it, the picanto can be moved playfully through the handling course and the slalom lane.

It never lets itself be ruffled, implements all commands in a good-natured manner, and pushes only slightly over the front wheels at the limits. However, the tires with optimized rolling resistance, which the hyundai also wears, provide the worst braking values in the test (43 meters). In contrast to the hyundai, whose basic engine is a 1.1 liter four-cylinder, the kia picanto fall back on a one-liter three-cylinder engine. What on paper for the lowest carbon dioxide emissions (99 g/km) in the test field, does not bring any advantage in practice.

On the everyday consumption test lap, the hyundai engine does not demand more fuel, but seems less strained. For top performance, the three-cylinder needs significantly higher engine speeds. Nevertheless, driving performance remains at the same level. The small kia can really score in the cost chapter. After the dacia, which started with an outrageously low base price, the suzuki alto is now a real bargain picanto including a seven-year warranty, is the best offer in this class and wins the overall title in the end.

On the next page we will continue with the renault twingo 1.2 16V


Even if it doesn’t match its 14-year predecessor (until 2007) in terms of charm and charisma, the renault twingo still a breath of fresh air and good spirits in the twingo class. Whether this is due to the painted flowers on the B-pillar, the huge panoramic sunroof (850 euros) or the exotic instrument layout in the cockpit remains to be seen. In any case, the workmanship of the body and interior is very attractive, even if the otherwise high-quality mix of materials in the cockpit seems a bit disjointed.

there’s a surprising amount of space in the french car, which is still only available as a three-door model. But even in the second row you can stand it as a tall person. This is partly due to the absence of a center console, which in other cars protrudes far to the rear and constricts legroom, and partly to the clever seat concept. Because the only one in the test is the twingo equipped with four individual seats, whereby even the rear seats can be moved lengthwise individually. at a minimum, this leaves a trunk capacity of 165 liters. When the rear seats and passenger backrest are folded down, the load space grows to an impressive 951 liters and can even accommodate bulky goods. However, there is a lack of usable storage space, and the rear windows cannot be opened.

the twingo doesn’t want to be a corner runner, you can tell that from the first few meters. Large steering angles and the strong sideways inclination in tight curves make the car seem larger and more sluggish than it actually is. Although it rolls safely, quickly and with good traction through the handling course, it remains far from the best time of a ford ka despite more power. But the comfort is right. Full as well as loaded, it swallows even bumpy roads and cobblestones in typical french fashion.

As with the dacia, the 1.2-liter four-cylinder is the right entry-level engine for the renault: a new brand face. Here, however, the drive works more powerfully, can bring its broadly usable speed range better to bear and achieves the highest speed (169 km/h) at the end. Together with the well-shiftable transmission and reasonable drinking habits (5.7 liters), the twingo 1.2 16V narrowly secures the chapter victory.

The french can add another award to their list for the best braking performance. Both cold and hot With the brakes applied, the twingo decelerates in an exemplary and stable manner. For the entry price of 9.990 euros, the small renault is fairly equipped. It’s good to see that additional safety features such as ESP (300 euros) or head (380 euros) and side airbags (280 euros) are also available for the low-priced entry-level engine. In the end, Renault even lands on the podium third place for the twingo.

On the next page, we will continue with the suzuki alto 1.0


Its base price of 8.990 euros qualifies the suzuki alto to the real special offer, it is the second cheapest offer in this comparison test after the dacia sandero. equipped with the AUTO ZEITUNG standard equipment ESP (700 euros), air conditioning (1.000 euro), metallic paint (350 euro)-, it remains close to the 10.000 mark (10.340 euros) and thus even becomes a bargain king. But you have to make sacrifices in terms of space. 129 liters are too little- only very rarely does an AUTO ZEITUNG test candidate receive zero points for trunk volume.

To ensure that the driver and front passenger can sit comfortably and that the steering wheel does not hang between the thighs, the seats have to be pushed far back, which reduces the knee space in the second row to a frightening minimum of just five centimeters. Even upwards, you can’t count on too much freedom of movement in the rear seats the hard cover of the trunk lid attachment unintentionally acts as a headrest for tall people.

Apart from that, the soft upholstery in the front and rear is comfortable enough, and the rear passengers can enter the rear via their own doors (only hinged windows). The plastics of the dashboard and door panels, on the other hand, seem the cheapest in the test and even emit chemical scents when exposed to sunlight. In addition, some of the shelves in the hard and brittle plastic landscape are unusable because objects slide back and forth, rattle or even fall out. All the other competitors impressively show that even in this price class it is possible to do much better.

the fact that the suzuki alto is built in india and also for the local market is noticeable in its good-natured chassis. It also forgives larger potholes and can cope with five strong people on board. When buying, however, the ESP should definitely be ordered as well, because the suzuki alto üsurprises on the handling course with lively load change reactions. The engine also has no problem with additional ballast; although the one-liter three-cylinder runs a bit rough, it mobilizes astonishing power reserves at sufficient revs and accelerates the alto faster than the competition to highway speeds (12.9 seconds).

However, the unit does not count as a saver. Despite the mini 155/65 R 14 wheels and an unladen weight of only 888 kilograms, the suzuki consumes an average of 6.5 liters of fuel about the same as the much larger, heavier and more powerful dacia sandero. So the low price alone makes alto still no top offer. In the end, it has to admit defeat to all its competitors, mainly because of the limited space and mediocre workmanship.
Markus Schoenfeld

read on the next page: the conclusion


The world of automobiles new cars under 10.000 euro is pleasingly colorful. It starts with the dwarfs suzuki alto and daihatsu cuore, which are perfectly capable cars despite their mini dimensions. Above all, the cuore has won the hearts of the testers with its carefree and smart implementation of the smallest car concept. hyundai i10, ford ka and renault twingo in a neck-and-neck race.

The i10 convinces with plenty of space, solid workmanship and good variability, but has to make concessions in terms of driving dynamics and ends up in fifth place. In terms of handling, the ford ka has the edge in this class, weaving its way into fourth place. The french have found a good compromise. You put the twingo on the podium with a four-seater concept.

the dacia sandero offers even more space, and the entry-level engine suits it very well. However, it still has to do without an ESP and thus the first place. that’s where the new kia picanto has now settled. with many clever details, good use of space and impressive quality, it proves that even in the price range under 10.000 euro nothing more has to be done without.


For a detailed view of the test results, please click on the individual graphics.

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