Steadily rising gas prices and tough economic times have many consumers looking towards smaller, fuel efficient cars. The following cars are a sampling of some of the current offerings from manufacturers as they strive to meet the ever evolving desires of consumers. There are many more great models to explore but the following can serve as a starting point for research.
2011 Toyota Prius
MPG: 51 Highway / 48 City
While many manufacturers are just now getting their own hybrids launched or have yet to; the Toyota Prius is on its third generation of releases. The Toyota Prius is the most popular small car thanks to its moderate starting price, exceptional handling, power under the hood, and fuel economy. The Prius is not looking to revolutionize any particular style or reinvent the wheel. Rather, Toyota is building on an already solid foundation by honing and improving the Prius with each new release in a given generation.
2011 Honda Insight
MPG: 43 Highway / 40 City
The second-generation Honda Insight was initially anticipated to help unseat the Toyota Prius as the leader of small car sales. Though it was not able to horn its way into more of that market share, it still is an excellent vehicle. It offers quality control and performance all with a moderate starting price.
2011 Mini Cooper
MPG: 37 Highway / 29 City
Many manufacturers are looking to embrace where they came from by offering models based off of retro designs. The Mini Cooper stands on its own as a fairly consistent style. It offers great performance, handling, and power in its most basic configuration. Consumers looking for some extra options will not be disappointed with what is offered.
2011 Mazda Mazda2
MPG: 35 Highway / 29 City
The Mazda Mazda2 offers a fun ride to the driver with exceptional handling and response not usually seen in small cars. Though it is strong on those points, it suffers from a lack of power under the hood. It just does not seem to have the same pickup and go that other small cars do.
2011 Kia Rio
MPG: 34 Highway / 28 City
The Kia Rio is a creation of efficiency to do the job that needs to be done. It is not an automobile one would look at for bells and whistles. A consumer shopping for an industrious, efficient vehicle in an affordable range that does not want a used car would do well to look at the Kia Rio.