With a population of 39.37 million, California is the US state with the most residents, and its area of 163,696 square miles makes it the third-largest state by area. Besides being known for the cliff-lined beaches, Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Mojave Desert, and Hollywood, this state is famous (or infamous) for the most strict automotive laws in the US.
That leads to the best cars in this state being different from the nation’s favorites as a whole. For example, 48 out of the 50 US States have an SUV or a Truck as the bestseller, and only California and Florida have a Sedan at that spot.
Before we move to the best cars in California, let’s see the reason why Californians have (or are forced to have) a different taste in cars.
The average price of a gallon of gas in the US is $3.59, but if you happen to live in California, the same gallon will set you back $4.714. That means Californians tend to buy more fuel-efficient cars. That explains why bulky SUVs and gas-guzzling trucks are not on the wish list of most Californians.
California also has the most strict emissions regulations of any state in the US. That means people tend to buy cars that are cleaner to avoid being penalized. To get an idea of how strict these rules are, know that California is preparing to phase out internal combustion engine cars by 2035.
Fuel is not the only thing that costs more in California. It is also the most expensive state to own a car in the US. The average cost of driving a car on the roads of California stands at $6,545, a total of $1,000 ahead of the national average. In addition, not complying with the laws for car financing in California can lead to the dealers being fined millions of dollars.
That means an average Californian would rather go for a cheaper car.
With all that being said, here are California’s Best Cars.
This is an obvious best of the Californians, based on all the criteria we just discussed. It is cheap, fuel-efficient, and reliable. That means savings in registration, insurance, fuel price, and possible penalties in noncompliance with emission standards.
You might see the people populating the likes of Beverly Hills driving around all manners of fancy cars, but when it comes to an average Californian car buyer, the Civic makes the most sense, for all the right reasons.
Not everyone in the state of California needs a car that is made for smooth paved roads. Crossovers are also the favorites of Californians, and what can be better than a reliable and dependable Japanese crossover that does not break the bank.
The RAV4 is an all-in-one vehicle that provides the best of all worlds. It can be used to haul groceries, take the kids to basketball practice, and go on mild off-roading trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains or a camping night in the Mojave desert.
The Camry is a good option for the sedan-loving Californians who need something a little bit more upscale than the Civic. One of the most comfortable and reliable sedans on the market, the Camry is considered a good option for personal and family commute.
Whether it is a quick run to the hardware store or a cross-country trip, the Camry does not disappoint. It has all the small bits and pieces of luxury that a driver can need for a reasonably comfortable commuting experience over long or short distances.
Toyota has the Corolla for the ones who cannot afford the Camry. Nothing else needs to be said about this hidden legend other than the fact that this is the best-selling car of all time. Even though it comes with a humble engine and pretty basic amenities, it does serve the purpose of getting from point A to point B without any problem, making it the car of choice for Californians on a budget.
Another gem of a car from the far east, the Accord, is Honda’s answer to the Camry. To the untrained eye, it is just a larger Civic. However, inside it, you’ll find a better cabin, a bigger engine, and all other things that the Civic might lack. Like the Camry, this car is made on a simple principle: include all that’s needed and nothing else.
Another of the best-selling cars in California is the Nissan Altima. With a price ranging between $24,000 and $34,000 depending on the trim and options you choose, this sedan offers a powerful 248hp engine, a fuel economy of 39 MPG, and all the things you need from a car for it to be practical and comfortable.
Looking at how passionate California is about emissions regulations, this car makes sense, being one of the favorites of Californians. This is the very car that brought hybrid technology to the masses and is still one of the best-selling hybrid cars in the world.
In addition to being gentle on the environment, it has a very comfortable interior and a pretty impressive fuel consumption stats of up to 54 MPG.
Marketed as the ‘fuel-efficient 5-seater sedan,’ the Versa is the favorite entry-level car in California. It has a small 122hp engine that can power the car for 40 miles on a single gallon of gas. That’s the chief reason for it being on the list of California’s best cars. The other reasons include the $14,980 starting price for a new base variant of the Versa.
The thing that should come to any car buyer’s mind after reading this is that these cars might be in short supply due to the recent chip shortage and the pandemic-related lockdown. However, buying cars online has never been easier. You can now buy any of these cars used, which is the best option right now as you can save on everything from registration to the cost of the car. You won’t even have to wait for the delivery as used cars are not in short supply.