PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) — Even city dwellers sometimes need to own a car.
You don't need to insure a bus or subway pass, you don't have to pay thousands of dollars for a car-sharing service and you don't need a ride to amenities within walking distance — and that's all wonderful. But it you're the poor sap who could only find a job in a suburb miles from the nearest commuter rail station or has family just outside the car-share radius that expects regular appearances at Sunday dinner — or just likes being able to pick up and go when you please — a car is just part of the plan.
That said, owning a car in a city can be an enormous hassle. Forget about the cost of insuring a car when driveways and garages aren't involved. Forget about the density, the traffic and the frenzied pace. Just try parking ... anywhere. Between packed city blocks, alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules, street fairs, snow plowing, non-uniform time limits and just about every other obstacle the city throws your way, just finding a place for your car can be a nightmare.
When you consider that the mere act of driving in the city kills a typical car's fuel efficiency — and that gas stations can be a tough find in an area where real estate is at a premium — you don't want to burn through a whole lot of that gas just looking for a spot. The editors at vehicle pricing site Cars.com looked at this year's vehicle offerings and weighed them by overall size, visibility, city gas mileage, turning radius, city drivability and utility. By their estimates, the following 10 cars give drivers the best chance of surviving car ownership in the city with minimal bumper taps and breakdowns:
10. 2014 Scion iQ
Base price: $16,420
EPA city mileage: 36 mpg
Length: 120.1 inches
Width: 66.1 inches
Turning radius: 26.6 feet
This car is ridiculously small — the smallest on our list by length.
But when hasn't that been a great thing for a city dweller? You tend to learn quickly that driving a boat of a sedan or SUV in just about any urban center in the U.S. means that you're either spending half your day searching for parking or a big chunk of your paycheck keeping it in a garage.
Toyota's Scion IQ is Smart small without that car's big price tag. Sure, you're packed into 74 cubic feet of passenger space and have only 3.5 cubic feet in the trunk when the rear seats are up, but that combined 36.5 miles per gallon, seven-color palate, Pioneer audio system with Bluetooth and HD Radio and myriad safety features make this microcompact more cozy than cramped.