The Pros & Cons of Driving a Small Car

The Pros & Cons of Driving A Small Car

I am currently on my 5th car that I’ve driven/owned in my lifetime, but I think the car I have right now is my ultimate dream car. I’m done driving around, I’ve found my “car”mate for life! Her name is Sparkles & she’s a Techno Pink 2013 Chevy Spark 2LT. I searched high & low to find her and even got her for an amazing deal from New Jersey. I got a little obsessive in my searching but she’s been totally worth it. 

Sparkles is a fuel-efficient, tech savvy small car with a 1.2-Liter engine that can hold her own. If you’re in the market for downsizing & thinking about buying a small car, today is your day. When I was hunting for a small car, I went to every blog, forum, & website I could find to know the ends & outs of owning a small car. I’m not a car person! I know nothing about horsepower, engines, what 1.2-Liter even means, or other car-like words. But today, I want to join in to help you in your decision making in only a way that I can by sharing with you the pros & cons of driving a small car.

The Pros & Cons of Driving A Small Car

The Pros & Cons of Driving A Small Car

The Pros & Cons of Driving A Small Car

The Pros

Great gas mileage

Though Sparkles is not electric, she does get pretty amazing gas mileage. On a good day around the city she can get up to 30 mpg & on my trips down to Florida she’ll get 40 mpg. Atlanta is a pretty spread out city with its gajillion suburbs, and each week I go every which way around town. But my tank will last me about 7-10 days depending on what I’ve got going on that week. I spend less than $20 a week on gas; on a good week I’ll only spend $15!!  

Fits into tight parking spaces with ease

I get a lot of good parking spots that way! Being little will get you places you’d never be able to get into with a midsize & up car. I confess, I’m not the best at parking, but even when I’m near horizontal in my parking ability, I still make it within the lines. I can even parallel park with ease, whereas before I would avoid that art of parking all together. Yes, I am the car that gets your hopes up when you think a good spot is available, so I apologize in advance. 

Super cute!

This is important. Even if you’re on a really tight budget and/or could really care less, in the back of everyone’s mind is “I’d like to drive a nice looking car.” A lot of people don’t think small cars are cute, but I think they’re the cutest. People are always commenting on how cute my car is, and I just throw to the wind those that call it ugly (it’s ok Sparkles, they don’t know what they’re talking about).

Shockingly roomy

You’d think in a small car you’d feel cramped and a bit claustrophobic, but my little car is shockingly roomy. My brother & boss are both really tall people with abnormally long legs, & they fit easily and comfortably in my car. When push comes to shove, Sparkles can hold her own. I had a really big wedding one year where I had to haul the table linens for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding, 140 chargers, plus all the wedding day stationery, signs, & knickknacks. I was so surprised and proud that my small car was able to fit all of that! Granted, I wasn’t able to see out of any of my mirrors or windows, but she fit everything! 

I feel safe

Though my car is small compared to others, I feel just as tall as the other big kids on the road. At first, I was intimidated by the big semi trucks, but now they don’t bother me as much (unless they’re just being careless, then everyone should fear for their lives). I mean, I’m a pretty safe driver anyway and that’s important in feeling safe in your car, but according to US News & World Reports, the 2013 Chevy Spark got a 9.5 out 10 in safety. So I’d call it a pretty safe car to drive!

The Cons

Packing becomes an art form

Though it feels roomy, it’s still a small car, not an SUV. I have to really be strategic about what I pack & how I pack it, using up every creek and corner I can. I told you about my wedding packing skills, but I admit, it was not the safest way to drive. I don’t think I could do a road trip with friends in Sparkles for fear we would have to cast lots on who got to bring a suitcase. 

The Pros & Cons of Driving A Small Car

Ikea trips are hindered

This is also important! With a small car, you really have to preplan & find a buddy with a bigger car for your major Ikea trips. And you can’t go too crazy on a random Ikea trip either. Unless you can fit everything you need in your blue Ikea bag, you’re going to need to take that trip in someone else’s car. This can be inconvenient, but so necessary when it comes to truly enjoying your Ikea experience. 

It makes people nervous

As encouraging as it sounds, everyone thinks I’m going to die in my car. Poor Sparkles gets called a golf cart, go cart, or electric wheelchair all the time. Some people are nervous because she is so small & think that safety is an issue. But I don’t think it’s that much different from driving a normal car. Maybe I’m totally oblivious to the dangers of driving a small car, but again, I see that 9.5 safety score & I’m convinced I can take on the world!

Small car doesn’t not mean small insurance

Surprisingly, just because you drive a small car doesn’t mean you pay less for insurance. I was so shocked when insurance for my Chevy Spark cost more than my insurance for my Volkswagen Passat. I did some research after the fact and learned that small cars make insurers nervous as well, therefore they hike up the prices!

The poor thing struggles with facing her giants

All I can say is “bless her heart” when poor Sparkles faces hills, speed bumps, & gradual inclines. She can do it; I just think she gets nervous when she’s face to face with the challenge…but don’t we all! She doesn’t have the horsepower in the first place, so when she faces a gradual incline there are times when she’ll slow down to 35 in a 50 just to make it up the hill. Yeah, people around me get all in a tizzy, but they just need to get over it! She’s doing the best she can. 

I wouldn’t trade Sparkles for anything! I mean, if my millionaire boyfriend decided to buy me a Ferrari for my birthday, I’d gracefully decline because I’ve already got my dream car!

Do you drive a small car? What do you love about it?


  • Kenzie @ CME

    Sparkles is a super cute little car! I drove a 2010 Ford Focus for four years and loved that car — she was great for gas mileage and charting us around but eventually, with all the kids, she was just too small. We upgraded to a fully loaded 2015 Honda Accord and I am loving that there is more leg room and trunk room. Small cars are perfect if you have to drive a lot though! Luckily, our V6 has ecoboost and gets better gas mileage than the Focus did!

    • Lauren Beasley

      Thanks Kenzie!! When I think about kids I try to convince myself that I can make it work if I just stick with having 2 kids & they stay little forever! ….but I know that’s not realistic lol So I know eventually I’ll have to say goodbye to my Sparkles.

      • Kenzie @ CME

        When my youngest was just a newborn we had a 2000 Honda Civic two-door hatchback. It definitely was not ideal and we had to cram in there pretty often, but we made it work for quite a while!