In front of a parking space between two cars along a sidewalk, motorists are not equal to each other. This is not only due to their ability to make slots, but also, and above all, to the size of their car and the ability of their car to steer. To know if a car steers well, we look in its technical sheet for the turning diameter which is expressed in meters.
Two methods to choose from
If the data that is written on the technical sheet is ten meters, this means that the car, by turning the steering wheel as far as possible, can make a complete U-turn on a road provided that it is at least ten meters wide. . If the data is 9 meters, this car will have an even easier time turning around. There are several methods for finding the turning circle of a car: one measurement called “between sidewalks”, another called “between walls”. The first, as its name suggests, takes the measurement between curbs, i.e. by taking the measurement from the outer edge of the wheel outside the bend, without taking into account the front overhang, the other taking into account the body of the vehicle, see the diagram below.
The wheelbase is to be taken into account
Manufacturers take malicious pleasure in using the measurement “between sidewalks” which is the most efficient, but without necessarily indicating it in the technical data sheets. It is therefore sometimes difficult to know which measure was used. Other elements can make it possible to know if a car is more manageable during parking maneuvers than another, for example the wheelbase. The longer the wheelbase, the larger the car will have a turning circle. Thus a Dacia Sandero which displays a turning circle of 10.50 meters (measurement between curbs) with a wheelbase of 2.60 meters turns better than a station wagon Dacia Jogger displaying a wheelbase of 2.90 m and a turning circle of 11.70 meters (between curbs). Another measure, which can penalize parking maneuvers: the size of the car. Obviously, it’s easier to park between two vehicles, a Smart Fortwo 2.70 m long than a 4.11 m long Skoda Fabia.
Traction and propulsion, not the same fight
Vehicle architecture can reduce or increase a car’s steering angle. The “propulsion” architecture makes it possible to obtain a better turning circle, while the “traction” architecture is penalised, because the presence of the transaxle and universal joints prevents the front wheels from taking a significant angle. Thus the entry-level models of a Mercedes A-Class and one Mercedes C-Class have very close turning circles (11 meters for one, 11.1 meters for the other) while the wheelbase of the Mercedes Class A is 2.73 m and that of the Mercedes Class C 2, 86m. It is worth noting that as technology has made enormous progress, the presence of rear-wheel steering improves parking maneuvers for certain top-of-the-range sedans.
Two categories on the menu
To produce our Top 10 of the most maneuverable and easy-to-park city cars, we looked at the turning circle of all these vehicles, but also at their wheelbase and their size. There are two classifications, that of mini-city cars (less than 3.80 meters long) and that of versatile city cars (more than 3.80 meters long). We have voluntarily put aside the electric motor quadricycles of generalist brands which are very advantaged by their small size and their reduced turning radius. At this little game, it’s the Renault Twizy who wins in front of Citroen Ami and the Opel Rocks-e, a technical cousin of the Ami, but which is not sold here, but in Germany.