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Urban champion cars

CNET tested a set of five new small cars, finding them excellent transportation in an urban environment.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
2 min read

Small cars mean big stress relief in the urban jungle.

Short overall length makes these cars experts at fitting into parking spaces and easily maneuverable through narrow streets. And these days, small cars don't have to suck. Our selection of five urban champions includes stylish rides and comfortable cruisers, boasting quality cabin materials and advanced electronics. As an extra bonus, fuel economy tends to be high because of new engine tech and light weight. Further savings comes from the initial low sticker price, with all of these cars coming in at well under $20,000.

2012 Chevy Sonic
At a little over 13 feet, the Chevy Sonic isn't the smallest car in this lineup, but it does have a comfortable ride and plenty of interior space. And check out the motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster. Read the full review.

2012 Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is the retro style leader in this set, a car that will turn heads among the urban backdrop. At about 11.5 feet long, it will also pull U-turns in a single shot. Read the full review

2012 Hyundai Accent
The longest car here at 13.5 feet, the Accent is practically a limousine compared with the others. Its direct injection engine means excellent fuel economy. Read the full review.

2012 Scion iQ
The little iQ shows the most futuristic style of this lot, and, at 10 feet long, it is the second shortest car. As a bonus, it also features cool cabin tech such as Pandora integration. Read the full review.

2011 Smart ForTwo
At under 9 feet long, the Smart is the smallest car here. That length means it can nose into even parallel parking spots and not have its rear hanging out in the street. The Smart also have a very distinctive look, but only room for two passengers. Read the full review.

Compare these cars, side by side.