Supermini is a British car classification
or vehicle size class
for a small car, usually in a hatchback
body style. It is an equivalent of the European B-segment
or American subcompact
The term is also used by Euro NCAP
for a size class including B-segment and the smaller A-segment cars.
In the UK the supermini is the top-selling vehicle type. For years the Ford Fiesta
has been the leader of the class, and often most-sold car in the UK overall, competing against the Vauxhall Corsa
, Volkswagen Polo
, Renault Clio
, Peugeot 208
and many others.
History of the term
The term developed in the 1970s as an informal categorisation, and by 1977 was used regularly by the British newspaper ''The Times''. By the mid-1980s, it had widespread use in Britain.
The term was adopted by Euro NCAP
as the smallest size class for passenger vehicles for the launch of Euro NCAP in 1997. The first round of NCAP tests was of seven supermini cars. The term is also used by the Euro NCAP
system as a size class for A-segment
("mini cars") and B-segment
1970s and 1980s
In 1977, the Ford Fiesta
and Vauxhall Chevette
were among Britain's top 10 best-selling cars.
Other superminis of the mid-1980s included the Austin Metro
, Vauxhall Nova
, Nissan Micra
, Peugeot 205
, Volkswagen Polo
and Renault 5
. The 1983 Fiat Uno
was praised and won the European Car of the Year
The 1990 Renault Clio
and 1994 Fiat Punto
were significant models in the supermini category during the 1990s.. Both the Clio and Punto were recipients of the European Car of the Year Award. The Clio replaced the long-running Renault 5
, although the Renault 5 remained in production until 1996. In 1993, the Nissan Micra (K11)
, became the first Japanese car company to be receive the European Car of the Year award. In 1999, the Toyota Yaris
received the European Car of the Year award, and was noted for its high roof which allowed for improved interior space.
2000s to present
Retro styling became popular across Europe from the late-1990s, and the first successful retro-themed supermini was the 2000 launch of the BMW-owned Mini Hatch
(the 1959–2000 Mini was in the smaller city car
category, however the new model was a larger size and thus in the supermini category). The Fiat 500
— launched in 2007 on the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the original model— was another popular retro-themed supermini that was popular in Europe.