Best Small Cars for City Driving: The Top 18

Writing about small cars for city driving can be tricky because there are so many different options to choose from. There are sedans, coupes, and SUVs that all fit the bill, with diverse configurations within each of those categories.

So to save you the trouble of sifting through dozens of choices, we’ve narrowed it down to the 18 top best small cars for city driving.

These vehicles provide excellent performance as well as efficiency, making them an ideal choice if you live in a densely populated area like New York City or Los Angeles where parking space is at a premium.

Best Small Cars for City Driving

Best Small Cars for City Driving

Check out our list below!

1. Chevrolet Spark

The Spark is a good, cheap car with great city driving abilities. It only seats four but has good storage space and great fuel economy.

Many consumers have been pleased with its pickup and handling abilities as well.

Overall, it’s an excellent small car that is priced perfectly for city drivers. If you want to save money and still be comfortable in your car, then look into getting a Chevrolet Spark.

There are newer models of it, but most are still quite affordable (and all of them get excellent gas mileage).

Its interior isn’t as luxurious as some other cars on this list—but it’s roomy enough to carry four adults comfortably while being cheap enough that you can actually afford one!

2. Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent is one of those cars that perform exceedingly well in city traffic, thanks to its responsive handling, fuel-efficient engine, and advanced safety features.

It comes with Bluetooth connectivity, an audio system with a CD player and MP3 playback capabilities, and satellite navigation.

There are also a number of optional extras available – automatic climate control, front fog lights, front parking sensors, and leather seats to name just a few.

In terms of pricing, it’s more expensive than many other small cars on our list but if you’re looking for ultimate luxury then you can’t really go wrong with an Accent.

3. Hyundai Elantra

One of my favorite small cars is also one of my favorite cars, period. That’s right—I said it.

The 2015 Hyundai Elantra is on that short list of vehicles I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to family or friends.

Sure, there are plenty of other great subcompacts out there but none offer a winning combination of sporty performance, stellar looks, and class-leading fuel economy like the Elantra.

And it’s not just me who loves it—Hyundai sold almost 225,000 units in 2014 alone.

If you’re looking for the best small car for city driving, then look no further than the little giant.

4. Mazda3

You may be surprised to learn that, according to Consumer Reports, the Mazda3 is one of only two cars in its class (the other being a Subaru) that earns a good rating on both city and highway driving.

Plus, as Car and Driver puts it, it drives like the small car it is. For 2017, Mazda also made numerous improvements including stronger brakes and new suspension calibrations.

Combined with sharp handling and comfortable seats — complete with heating functions — you can’t go wrong with a Mazda3.

And yes, we know that Honda Civic beat out the Mazda3 in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study (IQS), but did so by less than one percentage point – making these two some of your best bets for city driving.

5. MINI Cooper

This car is a favorite among city-dwellers, with its small size and turbocharged engine. It also makes it easy to park in tight spots, has a roomy interior, and offers plenty of safety features.

If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient option but still want luxury, check out BMW’s i3.

A range of options offers varying levels of motor assistance to make it easier to zip around town.

And if you want more bang for your buck, try out Volkswagen’s e-Golf – one of the best small cars for city driving that offers great gas mileage without sacrificing any comfort or performance capabilities.

6. MINI Electric Hardtop

It’s about time that a European automaker got into plug-in electrics. That’s exactly what MINI is doing with its 2014 Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid, due out later in 2013.

It will be able to go up to 50 miles on electric power alone, and it can also run as a diesel hybrid, gas/electric hybrid, or regular gas car.

Needless to say, that means big fuel economy benefits; MINI says it could hit about 60 mpg overall.

If you prefer electric vehicles but don’t want to buy a pricey Tesla Model S sedan, consider looking at its EV MINI counterpart when it goes on sale next year.

7. Nissan Leaf

The best small car for city driving and motorway is one that’s affordable, looks good, gets great gas mileage, and won’t be a headache to park or maneuver. One such car is Nissan Leaf.

It gets an EPA-estimated 98 miles per gallon, which translates into gas savings of up to $1,000 per year compared with similarly equipped small cars.

You also get everything you need in a tiny package: five-passenger seating; climate control; Bluetooth connectivity; USB ports; and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

Add all those features together, and you have one of the best small cars for city driving on Earth. Another big perk?

8. Nissan Versa

This small car offers a lot of value and is one of our top picks. It’s available as both a sedan and hatchback, which makes it pretty versatile for city living. Also, it offers great gas mileage (30-34 mpg).

The Versa is also decently roomy so you won’t feel cramped on your ride. If you want to fit more people into your small car, consider getting an extended warranty from Nissan.

Their warranties cover maintenance over time so that when things do break down (which they eventually will), you’ll be covered at no additional cost to you.

9. Nissan Sentra

Despite being one of Nissan’s cheaper offerings, it has grown in size and stature over time.

It offers numerous safety features including ABS, stability control, side-impact beams, and eight airbags.

Besides that, it also gets great gas mileage at 30 mpg in city driving and 40 mpg on motorways.

If you are looking for a luxury car that drives smoothly but doesn’t cost too much, then Nissan Sentra is definitely worth a look.

10. Nissan Micra

Starting at just £6,195, Nissan’s Micra comes with a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine that can get you 50 miles per gallon.

That helps it meet Low Emission Zone requirements and you’ll also be able to park it in pretty much any space (its width is similar to that of a motorcycle).

As far as small cars go, it’s also one of the best luxury cars for city driving—especially if you want something practical yet stylish.

11. Vauxhall Corsa

Though it’s not as popular as some other small city cars, Vauxhall’s Corsa is a smart pick. It gets good gas mileage and has a great safety record.

If you don’t plan on taking road trips in your vehicle, it might be a good idea to get an all-wheel-drive version with features like hill start assist, which can help prevent rollbacks on steep hills and icy roads.

Its main competitor is Volkswagen’s Polo (see below), but others to consider include Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta.

All are excellent choices if you want something small that still feels like a luxury car when you drive it.

12. Smart ForTwo

You could write a small book on why Smart ForTwo is perhaps one of the best cars for city driving, but it boils down to one thing — it’s tiny.

Thanks to its pint-sized footprint, which is just 8.8 feet long and 4.4 feet wide, you can navigate through even San Francisco’s narrowest of lanes with ease (for comparison, a standard Smart ForTwo is 2 inches shorter in length than a Honda Fit).

Unfortunately, its fuel economy also suffers from its small stature as it only gets up to 37 mpg on average; however, that’s not all that bad compared to other vehicles in its class.

13. Subaru Impreza

Compact, stylish and fuel-efficient, Subaru’s Impreza is a great city car. A lot of buyers looking for small cars complain about how they lack space. Not so with Subaru’s Impreza.

It has ample room in both front and back seats and enough trunk space to suit most daily driving needs (depending on what you carry).

As far as performance goes, you get one engine choice when it comes to a small car—the base model comes equipped with a 2.0L flat-four cylinder producing 148 hp; however, if that’s not enough power for you, opt for an Outback Sport (which has upgraded suspension) or WRX package.

14. Skoda Citigo

The Skoda Citigo is a small car that’s great for city driving. With its small dimensions and relatively low height, it’s easy to fit into tight spaces, such as if you have to park on a city street in an urban area.

It also has a very narrow turning circle (meaning you can turn on smaller roads) and good visibility out of all sides of your vehicle.

But perhaps what most appeals about Citigo are its four-star rating from Euro NCAP (Europe’s version of safety ratings).

No other car in its class boasts that level of safety.

Finally, there are lots of configurations available with different engines to suit whatever needs your commute may bring—and better yet, they come at affordable prices!

15. Toyota Aygo

For city driving, it’s hard to beat a Toyota Aygo. This little car is perfectly capable of getting you from point A to point B without requiring much of your attention in between.

It’s surprisingly spacious inside and has enough power under its hood to get around town at full speed with plenty of room to spare.

Best of all, it’s incredibly cheap—you can expect to pay less than £12,000 for a 2017 model if you shop around and negotiate well. All things considered, it’s hard not to love the Aygo.

16. Toyota Prius Prime

Of all of Toyota’s plug-in hybrids, its small Prius Prime is by far one of the best. In fact, it can beat a lot of full EVs in terms of efficiency.

It boasts a large 53-mile driving range—an EPA-estimated 99 mpg equivalent (MPGe) city and 95 MPGe on highways.

Plus, because it has an electric motor, rather than just a hybrid engine, its power delivery is smoother than that of any other Prius.

All told, it’s a car well suited to city driving; it delivers smooth acceleration and steering that doesn’t feel like you have to wrestle with every little pothole or turn.

17. Toyota Corolla Hybrid

The Toyota Corolla is a favorite among professionals, and not just because it’s easy to drive.

It has great fuel economy (43 miles per gallon) and is extremely dependable, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected costs when you buy one.

As with most small cars, though, passengers may find themselves feeling cramped after long trips—but that’s pretty typical in cars like these.

If you’re looking for a luxury small car for city driving but aren’t ready to shell out for an Audi A3 or BMW 3-Series, check out a Toyota Corolla Hybrid; it gets excellent gas mileage, too.

18. Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is a fine choice, with excellent fuel economy and a built-in environmental consciousness that has been increasing in popularity over recent years.

It’s not exactly enjoyable to drive, however; it’s one of those cars that people buy as a statement of their green ideals.

If you don’t mind driving something that isn’t incredibly fun to drive, then it’s perfect.

What Is The Best Small Car for Highway Driving?

In a town, you don’t want to be caught in heavy traffic behind a tractor-trailer or have to wait on an 18-wheeler at every stoplight.

To keep your blood pressure low while driving around in a city, you’ll need a car that handles small spaces well and is easy to maneuver.

If you have some room to stretch out, consider getting one of these top five best luxury cars for city driving.

What Car is Best for City Driving?

There are many different types of cars on offer in most towns and cities these days, but not all of them have been designed to handle city driving.

Many motorists have switched to smaller vehicles recently in an effort to save money and reduce their carbon footprint, but some small cars can be uncomfortable in heavy traffic conditions.

What follows is a list of five cars that come highly recommended by experts. While some may drive better than others, it’s worth bearing in mind that only you can decide what car best suits your needs.

So here are our picks for the best small car for city driving: …

Which Small Car is Best for Daily Use?

A lot of people have misconceptions about smaller cars. Sure, they’re sometimes known as eco-friendly, but that doesn’t mean that these small cars are only good for city driving.

In fact, many can be driven on motorways without any trouble at all! However, since people usually don’t think about taking a small car onto a highway – they’re just too worried that they’ll get lost in one of those big metal monsters we call trucks – let’s start with some of your other options.

Don’t worry! We’ll come back to the highways later.

Which Small Car is The Most Reliable?

Reliability is critical when you’re talking about a vehicle that’s just supposed to get you from point A to point B.

What good is a small car if it can’t make it from your house to downtown without breaking down?

To help you find what we think are some of the most reliable vehicles on sale today, we assembled our list of best cars for city driving.

Reliability was only one factor in our rankings; we also factored in affordability, versatility, and safety.

After all, these are small cars with small engines meant to be driven around traffic jams.

Ultimately, what matters most is how they perform while navigating through bumper-to-bumper traffic.

What cars Have the Fewest Problems?

That’s a good question, and one that should be asked anytime you’re shopping for a car.

It’s impossible to avoid every single issue, but there are definitely some vehicles that are less likely to break down than others. J.D. Power and Associates released its annual Vehicle Dependability Study today, which ranks the automotive industry’s best small cars by brand and manufacturer on their predicted vehicle dependability, or how well a new vehicle will hold up over time (from three years old to six years old).

If you want to buy a car that won’t leave you stranded in an intersection with your family in tow, pay attention!

Which Small Car is The Best Value for Money?

When looking to buy a new car, it’s easy to get caught up in which model has more features or goes faster.

But what you really want is a vehicle that gives you everything you need at a price you can afford.

Most people don’t need an SUV because they live in cities or suburbs.

If city driving is your thing, check out these top small cars for city driving—each one offers excellent fuel economy and handling without compromising on style or passenger comfort.


When driving in busy towns and cities, you need a car that’s both nimble and responsive. With so many cars on sale, it can be difficult to find one that ticks all of your boxes—which is why we created our list of the best small cars for city driving.

By using customer reviews, pricing information, and expert advice, we narrowed down the market until we had five standout contenders. All of these vehicles are stylish yet practical and represent good value for money. So if you want to buy a car specifically for city driving, scroll down to see our list now!