When it comes to owning a car in San Francisco, one of my most important factors is the size of the car. I want a small car that can easily parallel park and can weave in and out of traffic. I want to be able to park in busy parking lots without driving around to find an empty space. I want to squeeze in the “compact car only” spots at the movie theater lot. Ultimately, I want a car that is easy to drive.
I’ve found compact cars such as the Volkswagen Jetta, the petite Ford Fiesta and the Smartcar make driving in San Francisco very easy and fun. Of course these cars have their downsides. Space is a premium and you may not feel comfortable taking a Smartcar on a cross-country trip, so my personal choice for city driving is a mid-sized sedan or something more spacious like the Toyota Corolla.
Another aspect to consider when driving in San Francisco is parking. Public lots are expensive, street parking is scarce and paid meters are a pain to keep in check. Moreover, leaving your car outside in the foggy weather can actually lower its overall value because this can impact your car’s paint and maintenance. It’s not a big deal but if you have a luxury car, ensure you have the financial means to take care of it. Also, if you don’t want your 16-year-old neighbor to practice his parallel parking behind your convertible, consider housing it in your garage.
Gas mileage is a very important factor when driving in the city of San Francisco. Since you will be spending a lot of time in traffic and stop signs are plentiful, you want a car that has efficient city mileage. You don’t want to waste money driving a large gas-guzzler to the grocery store or doing your kid’s carpool.
Overall, finding a car to drive in the city just depends on your personal preference. Just find a car with great gas mileage that is easy to drive and you will no doubt discover that your drive will be stress free when finding street parking and navigating through traffic jams.