Incredibly popular amongst many motorists in the United Kingdom, city cars are produced by most car manufacturers; most will have a least one city car model in production, whilst many will manufacture two or three models at any one point.
Much smaller than a standard car, city cars are designed to be used mainly in urban areas - such as towns and cities. The term "city car" is distinctly European; in America these particular models are known as subcompacts.
City cars were first introduced onto the market just after the end of World War II. Made by American manufacturer, Crosley Motors, these models looked vastly different to the models currently produced by the likes of Peugeot, Renault and Citroen; for a start they were much bigger than the models that would follow.
The attention of car manufacturers moved away from city cars during the 1950s, instead shifting towards microcars. Models such as the Iso Isetta, by Italian manufacturer Iso Autoveicoli, and the German-built Messerschmitt, boasted space age design features and were incredibly small. Many have cited the microcars produced during this era as having a massive influence on cars driven in the modern era.
As time went on the popularity held by these particular models faded, and by 1959 one of the most iconic cars had been unveiled to the public - the Mini. Produced by the British Motor Corporation, and later British Leyland and the Rover Group, the Mini was small but provided a significant amount of floor space - allowing passengers to enjoy a sense of comfort whilst in the car.
Around the same time Italian manufacturer Fiat introduced an iconic model of its own, the Fiat 500. Cheap to run and powered by a 479cc two-cylinder engine, the Fiat 500 became the perfect option for those who simply wanted a car to run in an urban environment.
Fiat enjoyed further success with its city cars and introduced the Fiat 126 in 1972. Improving on the Fiat 500, the 126 was powered by a bigger engine and was considerably smaller.
Despite already being very small people began to demand even smaller four-seater models in the eighties. Influenced by the kei cars produced in Japan, European manufacturers took notice of this demand and designed new models that looked similar to MPVs. Just two examples, the Renault Twingo and the Volkswagen Lupo, were big sellers across Europe, whilst American manufacturer, Ford's, KA - introduced in 1996 - also went down incredibly well.
As previously mentioned, the number of city cars available in the modern era is considerable. With models, such as the Peugeot 107, the Toyota Aygo and the Volkswagen Up!, regularly seen on the streets of Europe, city cars - over sixty years after the first models were rolled off the production line - are still well represented in the world of motoring.
With petrol prices continuing to rise, city cars are a much more cost effective option; due to this factor cars are likely to remain a popular class for a good while yet.

Usually driven in urban environments, most car manufacturers produce at least one line of city cars. This article documents the history of this particular car class.