Is A 1.0 Car Good Enough? (Fully Explained For Beginners!)

A “1.0 car” refers to a car in which is housed an engine with a total displacement of 1.0L.

Such a vehicle would typically be a small hatchback, but nowadays with advancements in engine technology, a 1.0L can be found in some larger cars, too.

They are lower in horsepower and torque, but usually very efficient and help lower a car’s insurance premium.

This article answers the question “Is A 1.0 Car Good Enough?”…

Is A 1.0 Car Good Enough?

The answer is yes and no, because a 1.0L car is only as good as the OEM brand that built it and the driver who has selected it. If you live in the city, and where you live is relatively flat, then a 1.0L engine is always going to be enough for you.

What’s more, modern 1.0L engines are much more efficient and capable than those in the past.

Is A 1.0 The Best For A First Car? (Pros & Cons)

There are certainly pros and cons to using a 1.0L car as a first car.


First of all, the smaller 1.0L engine size is good for beginner drivers because it limits the amount of horsepower and torque they can use, which makes it less likely that they will lose control of the vehicle.

Next, a first car will always be relatively more expensive to insure than other cars you’ll own in your life.

Having a 1.0L engine is a good way to minimize insurance costs and make the car more affordable.

Furthermore, a 1.0L is usually a very efficient engine no matter what kind of car it’s in, but especially in more modern vehicles.

For instance, the Nissan Juke uses a 1.0L engine and gets as much as 27mpg combined.

The Ford Focus SE with a 1.0L engine gets as much as 30mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway.


A 1.0L engine generally lacks the horsepower and torque that some drivers might need regardless if it is their first car or not.

There are some terrains with steep hills, for instance, in which a 1.0L struggles to overcome, or at least will use up more petrol because it can only tackle them in lower gear ratios.

Another disadvantage is that the selection of 1.0L cars is very limited, usually to hatchbacks and compact cars.

Some compact crossover SUVs like the Nissan Juke use 1.0L engines, but these are exceptions to the more prevalent rule.

Finally, 1.0L engines are less capable over great distances.

They are fine for daily errands and commuting, but when you want to cover greater distances, they are not ideal and may require more stops.

1.0 Petrol Vs. 1.0 Diesel, Which One Is Better?

A 1.0L petrol car first of all will have a lower sticker price than that of a diesel, and the fuel itself is cheaper to buy than a diesel car.

From an environmental perspective, however, petrol cars produce more CO2 than diesel cars do.

The 1.0L diesel car’s main advantage is in its power and torque.

The diesel car is much more forgiving for new drivers because the biting point on the manual is easier to find.

On an automatic, you get more torque with a diesel so you can better deal with hills and slopes.

A diesel 1.0L will have a bigger sticker price, but it will generally be a bit cheaper to run because it has better gas mileage.

Depending on where you live, however, there might be rules that tax diesel cars more heavily in order to deter people from driving them.

Such a measure isn’t a slight against automotive OEMs, but rather a way to encourage people to buy cars with cleaner fuels.

Minimum, Maximum, And Average Horsepower In A 1.0

It will come as no surprise to most people that the highs, lows, and averages in the world of 1.0L horsepower are all relatively low.

In the US market, the minimum horsepower is found on the Mitsubishi Mirage, which features a 1.0L engine that outputs just 78hp.

In fact, the Vauxhall Corsa with 1.0L in the UK actually only outputs 64hp, so there are cars out there that are lower than that. Older Nissan Micra cars also used to be as low as 54hp.

The highest horsepower found in a 1.0L engine comes from Ford, specifically the Ford Fiesta armed with the 1.0L EcoBoost engine and 100hp.

This engine has been a triumph for Ford engineering, proving itself highly capable time and again against the competition.

Looking at these highs and lows across the spectrum, then, we see that the average horsepower for a 1.0L car is about 100hp.

The variance is quite great, however, so you should always look carefully at what the engine can do. It might surprise you.

How Fast Or Slow Is The Acceleration?

As with the engine horsepower ratings, there is some difference between 1.0L cars when it comes to 0-60 times.

The Ford Fiesta can manage the distance in just over 10 seconds. The Nissan Micra, however, is markedly slower at 17.4 seconds.

Below we have a selection of other brands and their 1.0L three-cylinder cars and their 0-60mph times.

  • 2019 Audi A1 Sportback – 9.2 seconds
  • 2012 Citroen C1 1.0i – 13.2 seconds
  • 2012 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost Hatchback – 10.1 seconds
  • 2016 Ford EcoSport 1.0L – 11.4 seconds
  • 2013 Hyundai i10 1.0 – 14.4 seconds
  • 2020 Hyundai i10 1.0 – 14.1 seconds
  • 2014 Toyota Aygo 1.0 Mode – 13.6 seconds
  • 2010 Vauxhall Agila S 1.0i ecoFLEX – 13.6 seconds

Can A 1.0 Go On Steep Hills?

It can, but it will likely struggle as it goes up the hill.

The most likely scenario is that the car does make it up the hill, but it has been forced into the lowest gear ratio, which can increase fuel consumption.

If a 1.0L car were also heavily laden with luggage and had a driver with 3-4 passengers, then it would be a much greater struggle.

There’s a good chance of stalling on a steep hill, especially if it’s a gasoline car.

If the driver has a 1.0 Diesel or turbo-diesel, then no slope should be a problem for it, though it would also very likely need to be forced into lower gear ratios.

Can A 1.0 Transport 5 Passengers?

Many 1.0L cars are built for 5 passengers including the driver.

There’s never a third row, but the engine size being small doesn’t automatically make the car small.

In truth, though, a full 5-passenger load in a small 1.0L car would be uncomfortable, especially for rear passengers.

The 2020 Nissan Juke (second-generation) for example has very spacious and comfortable seating for a compact crossover.

Rear headroom may sometimes be limited, but in general, there’s lots of space.

As for the engine’s power capability, there’s nothing to stop it from carrying a full passenger load.

If a 1.0L car is loaded with people and luggage, however, then you might encounter some difficulty on steep slopes.

Some 1.0L cars, such as the Ford Fiesta, come with options for a 4-passenger configuration.

Some might choose that if they never want the car to be overloaded while on the road.

Top 3 Best 1.0 New Cars For Sale

2021 Ford EcoSport – Starting at $20,395

This compact crossover from Ford features a 1.0L EcoBoost engine with auto start and stop technology that gets 27mpg in the city, 29mpg on the highway, and 28mpg combined.

It seats five and comes with a stylish exterior, comfortable interior, an affordable price tag, and great optional extras.

2021 Hyundai i10 – Starting at $18,000

This compact is not currently available in North America but it’s an excellent option from the Korean giant.

The i10 features a pleasing outer design, comfortable interiors, and easy compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The two-tone roof looks great, too.

2021 Ford Focus – Starting at $18,825

The fourth-generation Ford Focus was one that contained a fantastic 1.0L EcoBoost engine, so any from that generation with that engine makes a good choice.

The Focus has garnered a lot of awards and attention over the years and is one of the most successful hatchback cars globally ever made.

What Is The Average Gas Consumption In A 1.0?

At the best level, you can get as high as 40mpg on the highway in some 1.0L cars, but this doesn’t represent the average.

The need for additional power at lower gear ratios ends up using more fuel.

On average, 27mpg in the city, 29mpg on the highway, and a combined usage of 28mpg are about right.

If the 1.0L is housed in a crossover like the Nissan Juke, then it might be slightly lower than that.

On the other hand, the EcoSport gets exactly the mileage we’ve listed as average, so that’s not bad for an SUV/crossover.

The most impressive 1.0L car out there is the Volkswagen Up! which gets 45.8mpg (US) and 55mpg (UK), putting it ahead of many other contenders.

How Many Miles Does A 1.0 Car Last?

A small engine doesn’t mean a bad or low-quality one.

You can fully expect to get 80,000-100,000 miles from a 1.0L engine car, but if you push it too hard or use it on high-speed highways too much or drive it across the country, you might experience wear and tear faster.

A 1.0L is best-suited to shorter-distance use: school runs, basic commuting, daily errands, and daily transport around town.

They are ideal for cities, in reality.

Does A Car Seat Fit In A 1.0?

Yes, many 1.0L cars have been touted as perfectly fine for child car seats.

The Ford Fiesta in particular received great praise, marking it as a great compact option for families who couldn’t afford a larger SUV.

What Are The Main Differences To A 1.6?

In general, a 1.6L will accelerate and perform much faster than a 1.0L, but not in every case.

Ford’s EcoBoost 1.0L engine is something of a standout that when tested against fellow Ford 1.6L cars, can easily keep pace with them while maintaining better gas mileage.

In terms of comfort, a 1.6L car will generally offer more features, but not because it’s a 1.6L.

Rather, it’s more likely because a 1.6L engine would be placed in a larger car and a higher-end brand, which naturally brings with it more features.

The interior of a 1.0L will likely be simpler, a little more spartan, and with simpler controls.

Some things in common can include digital instrument clusters, central infotainment screens, interior storage, seating capacity, and optional premium sound systems.

While a smaller engine may seem simpler and therefore easier and cheaper to maintain, this is not always the case.

A pure 1.0L engine designed with lower power output will certainly come with lower maintenance and repair costs, not to mention replacement costs.

If the smaller engine is in fact a “downsized” engine that boasts the same power as a larger 1.4 or 1.6L engine, but as a 1.0L engine, then actually the likelihood of reduced reliability is increased.

For insurance, the 1.0L would certainly help to make insurance cheaper compared to the 1.6L, but there are myriad other factors to consider, too.

The fact is that a 1.0L isn’t automatically cheaper to insure than a 1.6 because the driver factor matters even more than the car.

For fuel consumption, the 1.0L and 1.6L may be closer than you imagine.

The 1.6L engine may feature in a hybrid car like the Hyundai Ioniq, which offers a combined mpg of 59.

That’s better than even the best 1.0L engine.

Finally, engine size is not the main determining factor of registration/tax costs, but you can certainly expect to pay fewer sales tax on most 1.0L cars since they are naturally much cheaper than most 1.6L cars.