8 best small cars in Nigeria: Ready for typical Nigerian road challenges!


Posted by: Juliet Onyeachonam

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Among the best small cars in Nigeria are the Toyota 207, Golf 4 among others. This list of 8 Best small cars for Nigerian roads will help you choose a good small car for you or your family.

Sometimes a small car becomes the car of choice for a buyer. Small cars are renowned for having the best fuel economies, compact and therefore easy to park, cheap to maintain, affordable, and, most importantly, durable. It is not surprising today that a good number of households especially mid-income and young families own at least one small car.

However, when it comes to Nigerian roads, it is not just enough to buy just any small car; there are some small cars that are best suited for the Nigerian driving terrain. Roads are mostly raided by potholes or just generally bad.

To help you make the right choice of a small car suitable for Nigerian roads, we have compiled this list of 8 best small cars in Nigeria. Among the reasons that formed our decision are fuel economy, durability, cost of maintenance, and price of the car.  Although by the end of this article, you will see that small does not necessarily mean inexpensive which is why we’ve included a selected number of different models to suit a wider range of budgets.

Come with us as we explore together!

8 Best small cars for Nigerian roads

1. Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf is the compact car manufactured by the German carmaker since 1974. Having survived four generations, four models (Golf 3, 4, 5, & 6) of Golf have been very popular on Nigerian roads.

The Golf 3 variant was manufactured between the years 1991 – 1995 and has a standard measurement of 4,074 mm (160.4 inches) height and 1,694 mm (66.7 inches) width. Despite the humble size of the various Volkswagen Golf models, it still offers a very comfortable driving experience for drivers of all sizes.

The Golf 4 whose production lasted between the years 1997 – 2004 was designed to be a compact family car with a propensity to seat up to 4 passengers.


The Volkswagen Golf is the most popular small car on Nigerian roads

The Golf was characterized by a remarkable fuel economy owing to its 4-cylinder turbocharged tunable 20 valve powertrain. The Golf was a decent improvement over its predecessor Golf 3 which also had an equally good fuel economy. Remarkably, the Golf 4 won the award of the bestselling car in Europe between the years 2001 – 2002.

There are variant transmission options available in the Golf 4 such as 4-speed automatic transmission, 5-speed Tiptronic transmission, 5-speed manual transmission, and 6-speed manual transmission. 

The Golf 5 also comes with its own compact but unique style. It also offers transmission options such as the direct-shift gearbox, tiptronic, automatic, and manual transmissions. With the Volkswagen Golf 5, buyers can choose to have an option of a 4WD or FWD. The Golf 5 engines are available in options of 4, 5, or 6 cylinders.

Production for the Volkswagen Golf 6 lasted between the years 2008 – 2014. It measured 4,199mm in length, 1,479mm in height.

Following discontinuation in production, one cannot buy a brand new Volkswagen Golf in Nigeria today. However, Tokunbo and locally used Golfs are available in plenteous supply in the country. See our Volkswagen Golf 3,4,5 & 6 Prices in Nigeria (Update in 2019) to help you make an informed decision.

>>> Read more: 2019 Volkswagen Golf vs 2019 Mazda 3: Would you like style or practicality?

2. Peugeot 307

Production for the Peugeot 307 started in 2001 and by 2002, it won the European Car of the Year award. The Peugeot 307 was a carefully crafted family small car. This car of French origin is available in options of 3 and 5-door hatchbacks.


The Peugeot 207 is an ideal small car for young men

At the moment, it is nearly impossible to buy a brand new Peugeot 307 in Nigeria as its production ended in 2014. However, tokunbo and locally used options are available in ample supply in the country.

The Peugeot 307 is available in a number of engine types including 1.4L 14 (petrol), 1.6L 14 (petrol), 1.6L HDi 14 (diesel), 2.0L 14 (petrol) and 2.0L 14 (diesel).

All models of the Peugeot 307 hatchback has a standard size measurement of 4,210 mm (165.7 inches) in length and 1,510 mm (59.4 inches) in width. Despite its smallish outward appearance, the Peugeot 307 has quite a spacious interior making it comfortable as a small family car, ideal for running errands around town and school runs for kids. It has been reported to have a very impressive fuel economy.

The Peugeot 307 is also an affordable car and does not cost a lot in maintenance. See Peugeot 307 price in Nigeria (brand new, Tokunbo, and Nigerian used) to help you make an informed buy.

3. Toyota Starlet

Although the Toyota Starlet has been phased out after living through generations, it is still the only classic on our list of 8 best small cars for Nigerian roads. Amongst the Toyota Starlet series that were produced over the years were the 40 series, 60 series, 70 series, 80 series, and 90 series.

The 40 series were reminiscent of its two-door coupes. Although it had options of four-door sedans and three-door station wagons. The 60 series of Toyota Starlet was 5 door hatchbacks and station wagons. 70 series variant of the Starlet offered three to five-door hatchback body styles. The same was offered by the 80 and 90 series albeit with a little bit more of customization and technological update.


The Toyota Starlet is a durable small car that has lasted over the years

In Nigeria, the Toyota Starlet Coupe characterized by its two doors is most popular. It is a choice car for lovers of Toyota products who seek a small car with very low fuel consumption and durability. The Toyota starlet is characteristic of its top-quality, having lasted through the years and leaving a lasting proof of its durability.

Unfortunately, one can no longer see a brand new Toyota Starlet in Nigeria. However, it is available in tokunbo and locally used alternatives. A tokunbo Toyota Starlet sells for between N600,000 - N700,000 while a locally used equivalent can be gotten for between N200,000 - N300,000.

>>> You might also like to read: 10 best hatchback cars for family in 2019

4. Hyundai i10

The Hyundai i10 is one of the stylish small cars that are popular on Nigerian roads. Generally, the Hyundai brand is known for class and has been attested to by many for delivering a very comfortable driving experience as well as durability.


The Hyundai i10 looks small but has a quite decent interior space for small-sized drivers

One downside to owning a Hyundai brand is that its spare parts can be quite expensive as against other brands like Volkswagen or Toyota.

The Hyundai i10 is known to be a very quality small car with a very impressive fuel economy and enough agility to confront most Nigerian roads within the limits of a small car. Brand-new models of the Hyundai i10 can be readily gotten from Hyundai dealerships in Nigeria. See Latest prices of Hyundai i10 in Nigeria and get your money's worth when you buy.

5. Kia Picanto

The KIA Picanto looks like a giant modern car toy at first glance. Still, its small price has remained its selling point. The Kia Picanto is one of the most successful KIA products in the Nigerian market space.

Although small, the KIA Picanto is by no means a cheap car. The price of the KIA Picanto is often a topic of debate amongst industry enthusiasts. However, our verdict is that the Picanto is loaded with a lot of impressive features and upgradable options. It’s also a car that exudes a mini conception of elegance and class. Apart from being small, if your pocket is deep enough and all of its other attributes appeal to you, you should definitely go for a Picanto.


The KIA Picanto is one of the most successful small cars in Nigeria

The Picanto has been reported by many owners to have an impressive fuel economy. Its build and quality are also no different from what Kia brand is known for.

Just like the Hyundai i10, brand new, tokunbo, and locally used Picanto are available at car dealerships in Nigeria. See Kia Picanto Prices in Nigeria (Update in 2019) to help you decide on which model to buy.

6. Honda Element

The Honda Element is a car-based SUV manufactured by Honda between the years 2003 – 2011. The Honda Element is one of the most distinctively shaped small cars on Nigerian roads. Its exterior appears like a fusion of a hummer and a mini Honda Pilot giving it a compact mini SUV appearance.

However, despite its cubist appearance, its interior is reasonably spacious. Powered by a reliable 2.4L 4 cylinder engine, the Honda Element is paired with a 4-speed automatic or manual transmission which gives it its smooth and balanced handling for which Honda products are known for. In 2007, the Honda Element received major features upgrade which included a 5-speed automatic transmission paired to its improved engine.


The Honda Element is a compact but SUV-shaped small car suitable for Nigerian roads

The Element's fuel economy is quite decent and its build quality is strong enough for regular driving and running errands. A tokunbo Honda Element sells between N1,600,000 - N2,000,000 while a locally used equivalent sells between N600,000 - N900,000.

7. Kia Soul

Similar to the Honda element, The Kia Soul is another small car on Nigerian road with a distinctive box shape.

The base model of the Kia Soul was fitted with a 1.6L engine producing 135 hp power paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. By the 2012 upgrade of the Soul, an improved engine was paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.


The Kia Soul is a compact car-based SUV suitable for Nigerian roads

The Kia Soul changed the attitude of compact car-based SUVs. The KIA Soul is also a fairly fuel-efficient car with the needed temerity to confront the Nigerian road terrain. Its body build is also of generally acceptable standard which is not unusual for the KIA brand.

A tokunbo Kia Soul sells between N1,700,000 - N2,000,000 while a locally used equivalent sells between N600,000 - N800,000.

8. Peugeot 207

The Peugeot 207 reaffirms that Peugeot is in the business of manufacturing durable cars with strong engines. Although the exterior of the 207 looks quite small, its spacious interior is in the agreement with Peugeot’s reputation for high quality and durable automobiles.

The Peugeot 207 is built with 1.4 litre and 1.6 litre engines with options of either a petrol or diesel fuel.


The Peugeot 207 is a reliable hatchback for Nigerian roads

So, if you are a Peugeot lover looking for a durable hatchback, by all means, consider the Peugeot 207. Choices are available for two doors or four doors option to suit drivers who always carry passengers. You should see the Supermini Peugeot 207 price in Nigeria.

Finally, whichever one of the 8 best small cars in Nigeria you decide to go with, remember that every car quality is unique especially if you aren't buying a brand new car. So, you should always bring in an expert to inspect things for you before making any purchase.

Table of recap

Best small cars for Nigerian roads
 No. Car model
 1  Volkswagen Golf
 2  Peugeot 307
 3  Toyota Starlet
 4  Hyundai i10
 5  Kia Picanto
 6  Honda Element
 7  Kia Soul
 8  Peugeot 207

>>> Visit Naijauto.com for the latest car news, Tips & Advice, Car Prices, and Reviews!

Juliet Onyeachonam

Juliet Onyeachonam

Car maintenance

Juliet Onyeachonam is an enthusiastic car nut which is why she has turned that passion into a fantastic job by becoming a car blogger on NaijAuto.com. Juliet's blogs are a wealthy resource for information on car maintenance, driving tips and also how things pertaining to cars work.

Additionally, because of her passion for the entertainment industry, Juliet does not write only hardcore but also entertaining articles about cars.

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