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Top 10: Classic superminis

The creation of the supermini was perhaps inevitable. By the start of the 1970s, British Leyland’s evergreen Mini was already more than a decade old, and the gap between it and the family cars of the time was growing ever larger. Car manufacturers began to realise there was room in the market for machines that were bigger and more refined than the Mini but smaller than a typical family saloon.

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Renault 5

As the Fiat 127 of 1971 didn’t acquire a tailgate until later the following year, the launch of the new Renault 5 in January ’72 made it arguably Europe’s first mass-market supermini – and what a gem it was. Its engines were borrowed from the Renault 4 but everything else was brand new, including its seriously cute and rather chic look.

The compact new Renault was a huge hit and, with a range of powerplants going from 845cc to 1397cc, there was a version to suit most buyers. Biggest fun of all was the 1976-on Gordini, Renault’s first hot hatch.


Ngaire Wadman    on 16 February 2017

Why put the entry for the Renault Five in the past tense? Like thousands of other R5 lovers, I still own, drive, and thoroughly enjoy my Five. It's a great shame that they aren't produced still - the Clio has none of the personality of the Fabulous Five!

Edited by Ngaire Wadman on 16/02/2017 at 07:46

Andrew Hosking    on 2 May 2017

Agree - The Audi59/original VW Polo was a fine effort
127 Fiat would've been better with a hatch
Is this list too old to include Micra & Yaris?
205 & R5 were great - where is the UNO?
Corsa/Nova no thanks!!

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