(Photo Credit: Pexels)
Parking is a skill that every driver needs to possess. While the difficulty of parking mostly depends on the parking situation, having the right car does help in making it easier.
It’s common sense that smaller cars are easier to park. But have you ever wondered why people consider a small hatchback easier to park than a sedan of relatively the same size? It’s simple, the rear end.
In a sedan, the boot sticks out, whereas the rear is usually flat for most hatchbacks. That makes it easier to gauge where the back end of the car will be when parking. In a carpark, where the back of a parking lot is either a wall or another car, it makes the job of parking much easier.
A shorter wheelbase, the space between the two sets of wheels, is ideal for parking too. While a longer wheelbase means more interior space, a shorter wheelbase car is more manoeuvrable and generally has a smaller turning circle.
Before we move on to the list of compact hatchbacks we have complied, we thought it will be best to list some technical details and numbers about parking. This is to compare and give context to the details listed on the cars below. In case you didn’t know, we have laws governing the minimum amount of space in parking lots, aisles and so on.
First, the parking lot space. The minimum width and length for a parking stall are 2,400 millimetres (mm) and 4,800mm. For parallel parking, the width remains the same, but the length increases to 5,400mm. The slight increase in space is due to the increased difficulty to get in and out of a parallel lot as compared to a regular one.
Next is the width of the parking aisle, the driving space adjacent to the parking bays. For 90 degrees parking, it’s 6,000mm for one-way traffic flows with either bays in one or both sides. For 2-way traffic flows, it’s slightly wider at 6,600mm. For parallel parking under the same circumstances, it’s 3,600mm for one-way, and 6,000mm for two-way.
Now, here is our list of five compact cars you can get in Singapore that are easy to park. We have scoured the new car market to look for both petrol and electric hatchbacks at all budgets. All the cars came out or went through a facelift in the last year or so. The prices listed are either correct as of 23 Oct or its last listed price.
1) Suzuki Swift
(Photo Credit: Suzuki)
Singaporeans are no strangers to the Suzuki Swift. Currently in its third iteration, the Swift has come far since it first landed on our shores back in 2004. The new Swift has a sharper-looking front end and a bigger boot of 264 litres, 54 litres bigger as compared to the previous iteration.
The new Swift has dimensions of 3,840mm long, 1,735mm wide and 1,495mm tall. That would make it one of the smallest cars on the market today, and also, easiest to park. It also has an extremely tight turning radius of 4,800mm and wheelbase of 2,450mm.
It has the smallest wheelbase and turning circle out of all the cars on the list. The Swift would have no problems tackling even the tightest carparks in town! With the Swift starting at S$68,900, it is also the cheapest car on this list!
2) BMW i3
(Photo Credit: BMW)
This is the future, as BMW puts it. The i3 is BMW’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) hatchback under its ‘i’ range. Face-lifted late last year, the car sports dimensions of 3,999mm long, 1,775mm wide and 1,578mm tall. Combined with a wheelbase of 2,570mm and a turning radius of 4,930mm, this EV would have no problems getting in and out of parking spaces.
However, the main selling point isn’t its small size. The face-lifted version has a bigger battery, bringing its maximum range to 200 kilometres (km). The basic i3 starts at just under $180,000 with just an electric motor. For an extra $30,000, a range extender powered by petrol can be added, increasing the maximum range to 330km.
3) Volkswagen Golf
(Photo Credit: Volkswagen)
The Golf has been around for seven generations, and it is known as one of the most practical hatchbacks out there. 44 years after its first appearance, it still hasn’t lost the essence of what it is, a small and reliable family car.
The latest Golf sits at 4,258mm long, 1,799mm wide and 1,492mm tall. It has a wheelbase of 2,620mm and a turning radius of 5,450mm. The Golf is wider than most small hatchbacks and has a longer-than-normal wheelbase. However, the car's interior is relatively spacious.
Volkswagen decided to strike a balance with size and practicality, and it has managed to do that without over-compromising on either. If you value both of these aspects in a car, the Golf might be perfect for you. With the Golf starting at around $90,000 for the base model, it isn’t that expensive either.
4) Mini Cooper
(Photo Credit: Mini)
It’s right in the name of the car, although it isn’t as compact as the original Mini back in the 1960s. Believe it or not, but some classic Mini enthusiasts would consider this car big. But hey, you can’t make cars in the size of the original Minis anymore, as actual people need to fit in them.
In the grand scheme of things, the Mini is quite a small hatchback in today’s car market. The two-door Mini is 3,821mm long, 1,727mm wide and 1,414mm tall. With a wheelbase of 2,495mm and a turning circle of 5,400mm, we see no reason why the Cooper can’t conquer even the smallest parking lot.
While the car might be a Mini, the price certainly isn’t. The Mini Cooper starts at just over $130,000. If you require a Mini Cooper with more practicality, you can get a five-door version, with bigger dimensions, wheelbase and turning circle, for a few thousand dollars more.
5) Renault Zoe
(Photo Credit: Renault)
Most EVs made today are quite small. Car manufacturers like to market such EVs as city cars that can weave in and out of city traffic with ease. Perhaps they market EVs as city cars due to their limited range and the hassle of ‘refuelling’.
Well, the Renault Zoe seems to be the exception. This EV has a range of 367km, according to the French carmaker. That means the Zoe has the longest range for an EV in Singapore. That’s quite impressive. In fact, the Zoe could theoretically bring you to Kuala Lumpur.
In terms of size, the Zoe is indeed small. The EV is 4,085mm long, 1,730mm wide and 1,562mm tall. Its wheelbase is 2,588mm long and has a turning radius of 5,280mm. That is a good thing as EVs like the Zoe spend a lot of time in carparks being charged. Prices for the Zoe start at $127,999.
There are other cars on the market not listed here that are as easy, or easier to park than these five cars. However, most of it boils down to the driver and how good he or she is at parking.
On hindsight, we suspect that this subject might be made obsolete soon. With vast technological advancements in many cars today, it’s no surprise that some of them can now park themselves with little or zero input from the driver. But regardless of that, parking will remain a skill all drivers must possess for the foreseeable future.
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