Best Cars for Driving City Streets

While there are a good number of people in big cities like Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta that don’t drive and generally don’t have any use for a car, there are still times when public transportation just won’t take you where you need to go. In the city, you need a car that’s small, light and nimble, able to slide into and out of traffic quickly, and that will afford you the best possible gas mileage, since fuel prices in major urban centers are often much higher than in outlying areas. A crucial component of this mix, however, is the need for a vehicle that does, indeed have room for three additional passengers, that has style and panache, and that isn’t afraid of a little road trip out into the country every now and again.

2012 Fiat 500c

The return of Fiat to American Shores is the first in several decades for French automakers, who will use the 500c to determine potential interest in their products for American consumers. Compared with the original Fiat 500, the 2012 Fiat 500c is an extraordinary achievement. What once was a tiny, cramped, unsafe and underpowered little buzzer of a car has blossomed into a comfortable, well-paced little car. The interior of the car is stylish and somewhat minimalistic, making it extremely attractive when compared to some of the computers-on-wheels that are commonly imported into America these days, and the 500c has the added benefit of a sliding cloth roof reminiscent of the original Fiat 500, but much less likely than the old model to leak. With a starting price of just over $15,000, though, the Fiat 500c is a fairly expensive small car, particularly when you consider that the new Chevrolet Sonic can be had for $13,700, has equivalent fuel economy but produces twenty more horsepower. Given the upswing in quality and design that Chevrolet has experienced in the last five years, you might have to ask yourself why would you pay more for what is essentially less?

2012 Mini Cooper

Built by BMW, Mini has carved out a significant niche for itself as a small, retro-inspired car that has excellent fuel economy, a relatively small footprint, and a ton of performance extras to make the driving experience that much more enjoyable. The base model of the Mini Cooper has a base starting price of $19,400, which pits it evenly with the Fiat 500c. It does have the benefit of being available as a full convertible, however, which the Fiat is not. Another benefit that the Mini Cooper has against its competition is the Works S edition, which features a turbocharged engine that produces 208 horsepower This car is one of the few cars you can buy today that is nimble and agile on city streets, and then can be driven to the track on Saturday for a few turns without having to feel embarrassed about what you’re driving home. The 2011 model Mini Cooper was named’s best car for urban areas.

2012 Hyundai Veloster

The 2012 Hyundai Veloster is a new entry into the small car market, featuring funky, high-tech styling coupled with a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Veloster is an eye-catching vehicle with a base price of about $18,000. It’s 1.6 liter direct-injection engine produces 138 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission. The combination should produce fuel economy numbers around 40 miles per gallon, pretty good for a non-hybrid small car. Like many small cars, the Hyundai Veloster’s rear seat is fairly cramped, but should provide plenty of room for riders under twelve years old, making the Veloster an all right city car for a young couple thinking of starting a family. Of course, the Mini Countryman boasts similar features and has four-door accessibility, something that you may want to consider.

Sources: 2012 Hyundai Veloster: 2012 Mini: 2012 Fiat 500:

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