Best small car over $35,000 - BMW 118i sport line

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The 118i has edged ahead of the pack with a mid-cycle upgrade that restructured the 1 Series line-up, smartened presentation and improved standard features. Along with subtle interior refinements, features such as a rear-view camera, BMW’s savvy ConnectedDrive with real-time traffic information and rain-sensing wipers are now standard across the range. And of course there are also plenty of extra-cost options.

There is a touch of sporting elegance and refinement about how the 118i looks and drives. BMW uses high-quality materials and there’s attention to detail in the trim and fittings. The cockpit-style cabin layout is cosy rather than cramped, and appropriately contoured seats provide good comfort and support.

The 118i is a superb everyday drive. Sharp, nimble handling, good steering feel and excellent cornering grip are backed by a firm, well-controlled ride.

A sweet 1.6L, 4cyl turbo-charged petrol delivers ample performance for a relaxed driving experience. And although BMW is phasing in a 1.5L engine for the 118i, it will retain the same power and torque figures but provide even better fuel consumption. Both versions are well matched to an excellent 8spd automatic transmission.