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Who says you can't have fun with cars that have small displacement capacities? Here's a list of top 10 cars under 1.6-litre that are fun to drive in Singapore.

17 Jun 2022

There is no replacement for displacement. Driving a 5.0-litre V8 is going to sound better and be faster than, say, a car that has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. But in my opinion, being fast does not necessarily equate to being fun. Plus, owning a car in Singapore with a large displacement capacity means you'll have to pay a higher amount for your annual road tax.

That's why we have compiled a list of top 10 cars with a displacement capacity of less than 1.6-litre that are still fun to drive in Singapore and won't cost an arm and a leg to maintain.

1. Audi A1 Sportback

The A1 Sportback is handsome and energetic
The first generation Audi A1 took Singapore by storm when it arrived back in 2011. But it was the Audi A1 Sportback here that attracted more buyers, thanks to the added practicality of two extra doors.

More relevantly, the A1 Sportback supermini came equipped with a 1.4-litre four-pot turbocharged engine that pushed out a whopping 185bhp and 250Nm of torque, giving it the ability to finish the century sprint in just 6.9 seconds.

Needless to say, given its size and power output, the A1 Sportback is a super fun car to drive that is nimble and tight, especially when you push it through a series of bends.

2. Daihatsu Copen

The Copen may be small and slow, but it's fun
Although the Copen that comes in a four-speed automatic transmission seems to be a favourite (and more convenient) amongst many Singaporeans, it's the five-speed manual guise that's the fun one to have.

Its 660cc engine may churn out merely 63bhp and 110Nm of torque to the front wheels, but don't let the figures put you off. Because the car weighs just over 800kgs, the Copen gets up to speed really quickly, and in style too. Not forgetting its compact dimensions do also help a lot in the car's agility around corners.

Best part of all, you can have driving enjoyment in the Copen without having to bleed for its maintenance. The car's road tax, for instance, will cost you just $326 a year. If it's a COE car (the car's COE has been renewed), the road tax will only set you back $424 a year.

3. Honda CR-Z Hybrid

Honda CR-Z Hybrid has ample vigour on the go
One of Honda's iconic sports cars, the CR-Z Hybrid is the successor to the Honda CR-X and it came with a 1.5-litre powerplant that was mated to a slick-shifting six-speed manual.

Combined power output stands at 124bhp and 167Nm of torque, which will see the CR-Z take a leisurely, rather than briskly, pace to the 100km/h mark in 9.7 seconds. While it isn't going to set the roads on fire or snap your neck to the headrest every time you floor the right pedal, the Honda CR-Z maintains its fun-to-drive disposition on our roads.

This positive behaviour also translates into how compose the car behaves when thrown around curves with reckless abandon.

4. Mazda RX-8

The Mazda RX-8 came with a rotary engine
This car wouldn't come as a surprise to buyers looking for fun. The Mazda RX-8 set itself apart from its peers with its sporty-looking sheet metal and its lightweight rotary engine. While this car is no RX-7, it was still very much capable of entertaining drivers.

The 1.3-litre engine is mated nicely to a six-speeder that sends power output to the rear wheels. Figures stand at 215bhp and 211Nm of torque, which sends the car from zero to 100km/h in 9.7 seconds.

Yes, it isn't a fast car, but it is a sleek-looking sports car that can provide lots of fun to whoever is behind the wheel of one.

5. Mitsubishi Colt Version-R

The Colt Version-R is light and agile on the roads
This Mitsubishi pocket rocket is available in automatic and manual transmission. While both variants are capable of giving you ample fun, we definitely prefer the manual variant (no surprises there of course).

The Colt Version-R has a 1.5-litre in-line four turbocharged lump up front that produces 154bhp and 210Nm of twisting force - of which they are sent to the front wheels. Although the figures aren't impressive on paper, the Mitsubishi goes like the wind when you push it hard on the road.

Credit for this goes to the fact that the car weighs just slightly over 1.1 tonnes, which translates to its ability to build up speed without any fuss.

6. Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza is at its most fun with its 1.0-litre lump
The Seat Ibiza is available in a couple of variants but it's the 1.0-litre three-cylinder that we genuinely took a liking to. Light on its feet, fast to react to steering inputs and punchy to drive, this Spanish hatchback is anything but boring.

The engine provides you with a decent 114bhp and 200Nm of torque and will cross the 100km/h line in 9.5 seconds. While it may appear slow on paper, the Seat Ibiza feels a lot faster in real-world driving.

This could also be due to the car's lightweight of over 1.1 tonnes, which allows the car to deliver a decent turn of speed when the time calls for it.

7. Skoda Fabia RS

The Fabia RS was an underdog that was full of joy
Based on the Volkswagen Polo, this Skoda hot hatch is an underdog that was first launched at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show before arriving on our shores a year later. The Skoda Fabia RS comes with a 1.4-litre engine that is capable of 179bhp and 250Nm of torque. All those figures are sent to the front wheels via a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. As such, the century sprint is completed in just 7.3 seconds.

While it's just half a second slower than the Volkswagen Polo GTI, the Skoda isn't sluggish at all. This rocket queen is more than capable of accelerating with gusto, keeping even the most demanding drivers entertained.

It's quite a fun car, indeed, with an athleticism that can only match a blistering hot hatch. Best part of all, it manages to strike a wonderful balance between driveability and functionality, which make the Fabia RS an all-rounder on our roads.

8. Suzuki Ignis Sport

The three-door pocket rocket was all about fun
This three-door pocket rocket may have come across as a tad tacky, with its plasticky interior and the lack of sparkle with its design. But get behind the wheel and drive it and you'll realise just how much fun the Ignis Sport can really be.

Equipped with a 1.5-litre powerplant that shoots out a hearty 107bhp, the pocket rocket may only be able to complete the century sprint in some 8.9 seconds, but because it has such an entertaining behaviour, this hatch is anything but boring.

Around bends is where this car belongs. Thanks to its compact dimensions, the Ignis Sport is one hatchback that will carve corners after corners with verve, precision and confidence. It's an unfortunate that you can hardly find one in good condition in Singapore today.

9. Suzuki Swift Sport

The SSS continues to impress and entertain
Ah yes, our all time favourite warm hatch. A car that never fails to put a smile on all of our faces. From ZC31 right through to the current generation ZC33, the Suzuki Swift Sport has always been a humble entertainer.

This car qualifies to be under 1.6-litre because the current generation ZC33 comes with a 1.4-litre mild hybrid turbocharged engine. It pumps out 127bhp and 235Nm of torque, which allow the car to stay in the COE Category A segment. While it only finishes the zero to 100km/h sprint in 9.1 seconds, you can hardly find anyone who will lament about this popular and amiable Japanese hatchback.

Remember how I said that fast doesn't equate to fun? Well, the Suzuki Swift Sport is exactly just that. It isn't fast, but with its six-speed manual box, accurate and well-weighted steering as well as taut chassis, everything about this car is fun.

10. Volkswagen Polo GTI

The VW Polo GTI has plenty of grunt to offer
Last on our list is the Volkswagen Polo GTI. Under the bonnet is the same 1.4-litre engine as the Skoda Fabia RS - a car that it shares the same platform with. Hence, it shares a similar output as the Czech hatch. 179bhp and 250Nm of torque. However, at 6.9 seconds, it manages to finish the century sprint faster than the Fabia RS.

Design wise, it's also appealing, looking like a shrunken version of the Golf GTI cult car. But where it really counts is the way the Polo GTI drives. You get to experience ample torque steer (which is fun) and an incredible amount of performance. Thanks to the 1.4-litre twin charged engine, you get a supercharger that takes care of boost all the way to 3,000rpm while the turbocharger kicks in all the way to the top of the rev range at 7,000rpm. As a result, you get plenty of grunt all the time, every time.

And it goes without saying that its compact size makes for excellent corner chucking with minimum fuss and maximum fun.
Looking for more cars that are fun to drive around our sunny Singapore? Check out our used car listings now!

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