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The 10 best cars for city living

Mike Strong, The Detroit Bureau
Top 10 cars for the city
2014 Buick Encore
Source: General Motors

One advantage to urban living is that thanks to mass transit and taxis, many city dwellers don't need their own set of wheels to get around.

Those who do want or need a vehicle, however, have specific requirements. Among them: The car needs to be small enough to squeeze into tight spots and turn around in small spaces yet be able to carry a heavy load of stuff.

Cars.com has compiled a list of what it considers the 10 best cars for cities. The list runs the gamut of small vehicles, but one Jeep model makes a surprise appearance.

Noticeably absent from the list? The Smart Fortwo.

The editorial team blamed what it called the vehicle's "many" shortcomings for keeping it off the list. The site's complaints include worse-than-expected fuel economy for its size (41 miles per gallon), an "SUV-like" rollover rating and a poor transmission.

Click ahead to see Cars.com's list of the 10 best cars for city living.

By Mike Strong, The Detroit Bureau
Posted 16 Aug. 2014

*Base price information courtesy of Cars.com.

10. 2014 Scion iQ
2014 Scion 2014
Source: Toyota

Base price: $16,420

Almost as small as the Smart ForTwo, the Scion iQ outperforms. Although Cars.com said its handling isn't great, it makes up for this shortcoming with excellent gas mileage and a tight turning radius.

"If you need a city runabout that squeezes where no other car can go, avoid the less-than-Smart ForTwo for this higher-iQ choice," the website said.

9. 2014 Buick Encore
2014 Buick Encore
Source: General Motors

Base price: $25,085

The compact SUV made Cars.com's list for its manageable size, high seating position and "surprising" cabin room.

8. 2014 Scion xB
Source: Toyota

Base price: $17,725

The good value and cargo space offered by the Scion xB hatchback make it a good fit for urban living, according to Cars.com.

7. 2014 Jeep Wrangler Two-Door
2015 Jeep Wrangler
Source: Chrysler

Base price: $23,390

Although the Wrangler is larger than other names on the list and gets an "embarassingly low" 17 miles per gallon, Cars.com picked the SUV for its durability.

"You'll bounce over potholes. You'll parallel park as close as you want to the curb," the website said. "The Wrangler seems so wrong for the city, but in many ways it's so right."

6. 2015 Nissan Leaf
2015 Nissan Leaf
Source: Nissan

Base price: $29,860 before EV tax credits

The electric Leaf gets an estimated range of 84 miles on a full charge, and its small size makes it a good pick for city driving, according to Cars.com.

5. 2014 Lexus CT 200h
2014-2015 Lexus CT 200h
Source: Lexus

Base price: $32,960

Although the CT only has "modest" acceleration, its nimble handling makes up for this shortfall, Cars.com said. Its hatchback allows drivers to fit more inside the vehicle than most sedans, and it's priced at a bargain relative to other affordable luxury cars. But that's not the only way it'll save you money.

"The hatchback's fuel efficiency will save enough gas cash to pay for all that downtown parking," the website said.

4. 2014 BMW i3
BMW i3
Source: BMW

Base price: $42,300 before EV tax credits

The BMW i3 didn't only make the list because it's fun to drive—though it certainly didn't hurt. Cars.com said the car's turning radius is "exceptionally small" and it provides "excellent sightlines" for keeping an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists.

3. 2014 Toyota Prius c
2014 Toyota Prius C
Source: Toyota

Base price: $19,890

The hybrid gets a "mighty impressive" 53 miles per gallon in the city, Cars.com said. The Prius c is also the cheapest and smallest option for Toyota's hybrid technology.

2. 2015 Honda Fit
2014 Honda Fit
Source: Honda Motor Co.

Base price: $16,315

The Fit was redesigned for the 2015 model year, but it maintained its roomy cabin and sightlines, which are "crucial for city driving," according to the site. Its ride quality has also improved.

1. 2014 Kia Soul
2014 Kia Soul
Getty Images

Base price: $15,695

The Soul has an abundance of convenience features, including heated seats and a heated steering wheel, that are typically found on pricier rides.

"Urban denizens will appreciate the sheer number of options [including ventilated front seats and panoramic moonroof] in the Soul, a rarity among small hatchbacks," Cars.com said.

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