“Small cars being produced today are far more exciting, fun to drive and fuel-efficient,” according to Rick Wainschel, VP of Automotive Insights at AutoTrader. In the past, Americans shunned small cars as being cheap and lacking in features, but not any more.
Here are some of the 2012 small cars sparking consumer interest:
Chevy Sonic – The Sonic is Chevy’s lowest priced car and is a sportier, better-looking replacement for the Aveo. Reviewers praised it as fun to drive and a worthy competitor to the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit.
The Sonic is also a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and has the distinction of being the only subcompact made in the USA under an agreement with the United Auto Workers. The base model starts at $13,735 and goes up to $18,495 for the top-end version.
Hyundai Veloster – The Veloster features two well-received attributes — eye-popping styling and high mileage. Reviewers loved its quirky exterior design and comfortable upscale-appearing interior. Although styled as a coupe, it has a third door on the passenger side for access to the back seat. The only seemingly downside is that test drivers feel that there’s too much emphasis on high MPG, and that takes away from a peppy, fun-to-drive experience.
The Veloster starts at $17,300.
Fiat 500 – Fiat, which now owns the majority of Chrysler, has brought in its popular 500 from Europe and is distributing it through some well-established Chrysler dealerships. Reviewers found it fun to look at and fun to drive — especially around curvy back roads. There is occasional bumpiness along with road noise with interstate driving, making the 500 a better choice for shorter-distance driving.
It’s a Top Safety Pick of Insurance Institute for Highway Driving, and starts at $15,500 for the “Pop”. Other models include the “Sport” starting at $17,500 and the “Lounge” starting at $19,500.
Volkswagen Beetle – The 2012 redesign gave the classic its first new look since 1998. With a flatter top and a longer hood, plus a wider, lower and longer body, the 2012 VW targets mal buyers. Previously, Beetle buyers were 60% women. In another bid for male buyers, the 2012 VW upped the horsepower with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Male reviewers praised the increased acceleration as well as the power and handling.
The new Beetle starts at $18,995 for the base model and goes up to $23,395 for the turbo version.