I fear that this question has no good answer. I’d like to know what car I should buy to accommodate San Francisco’s tiny parking spaces and Burma-like roadways. I don’t care so much about interior space as I do the ride over my new city’s potholes, cracks and divots. I’ve ridden in a friend’s Mini Cooper (ouch!). Does any manufacturer make a small car that absorbs bumps at 30mph better than other small cars?
Try a VW GTI, if you want something sporty. Mazda 3 would also be good to check out. A Mini can be among the worst if it had the larger wheels.
The new Fiesta would also be worth a look, as might the Cruze.
Good news; the new Ford Fiesta has a very good ride, is compact and inexpensive to buy. Don’t buy the Sports model though, as it rides hard, like any sports model. An other car to look at is the Hyundai Accent; very compact and has a good ride.
Volkswagens ride too hard; they are focused on good road holding.
Toyota’s are especially compliant. Even the small Corolla rides well at the expense on good handling.
Smaller cars in general seem to hit the bumps harder than bigger cars. Still a small can be fine.
You don’t want those fancy low profile tires. And you don’t want “sport” suspensions as they are tighter sprung and will not take bumps well.
Just get a basic Civic, no S package, no SI, and standard wheels and tires. That should to ride the bumps with no big problems.
Maybe an old sidekick with tall 75 ratio tires. Don’t take corners too fast. They are definitely a “third world” Burma car.
Check out the Toyota Yaris; Corolla can be too big for some parking spaces, especially in Sunset and Richmond. San Francisco does not have nasty potholes. Los Angeles is way worse