According to the Oxford Dictionary, "cute" is attractive in a pretty or endearing way. When it comes to this list of 10 cute cars, we think you’ll find the definition absolutely applies. We also think you’ll find no real surprises on this list. Each of these cars’ manufacturers specifically set out to place a car in this aspect of the marketplace. While compiling this list, we noticed something else. By and large “cute” cars have a tendency to be quite affordable. With the exception of two, every car on this list can be had for less than $30,000. And yes, we know the term affordable is relative. Given the average transaction price of a new car is right around $32,000 these days, we’re calling anything south of $30,000 “affordable” for most people shopping in the new car universe.
10 Cute Cars
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
2017 Chevrolet Volt
The second-generation Chevrolet Volt is a serious car that pushes our limits of affordability, but that’s right, it’s also cute. Chevy’s designers managed to give the Volt a friendly face that communicates its advanced technology, yet is friendly and welcoming — exactly the kind of push that hesitant buyers might need to finally make the leap to a plug-in hybrid. And the Volt makes that easier in other ways, too. The updated Volt uses now-proven technology to be even more efficient than before, and Chevy managed to redesign the drivetrain to increase backseat capacity to three passengers. It’s also more upscale than before, so at least you know you’re getting your money’s worth. The 2017 Chevrolet Volt can travel up to 53 miles on a full charge, and earns up to 43 MPG city and 42 MPG highway on its gas engine. The Chevrolet Volt starts at $33,220.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
2017 FIAT 124 Spider
The FIAT 124 Spider is a 2-seat convertible that’s all new for this model year. In a way, it’s a mash-up of two other cute cars to come a bit later on this list: one of FIAT’s stablemates, along with another small roadster. If that has you scratching your head, consider this: the 124 Spider quickly earned the nickname “Fiata,” based on its Mazda-sourced underpinnings. So while the 124 Spider must share some of the credit for its cuteness, you should also know that its sheetmetal is distinct from the Miata’s, pure Italian in origin, and much more like its sibling hot hatchback. This new FIAT comes with a 160-horsepower, 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which is paired to either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $24,995.
Photo Credit: Mazda
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata
All cuteness aside, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is a well-tuned driver’s machine. With sharp steering, tight handling and a comfortable ride, the Mazda delivers miles and miles of smiles. Since its introduction back in 1989, the Miata has been on everybody’s list of best cars for one reason or another. Further, if you’re looking for a brand-new rear drive 2-seat convertible with a lower price, you won’t find one anywhere. The Miata is it. Power comes from a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine producing 155 horsepower and 148 ft-lb of torque. Transmission choices include a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic. Pricing starts at $24,915.
Photo Credit: Audi
2016 Audi TT
A red-hot model at its introduction back in 2000, the Audi TT is fully redesigned for 2016, with fresh, yet still cute styling. The TT is also highly distinctive; nothing else looks like the Audi. Usually when something this original comes along, copycats soon follow. but not this time. So, in addition to cuteness, the TT also delivers a strong measure of exclusivity. Among its attributes are all-wheel drive, a handsome and very upscale interior treatment, and reasonable fuel economy. With up to 30 MPG on the highway, the TT is also available in either coupe or convertible forms. Power for the more affordable base model comes from a 220-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine producing 258 ft-lbs of torque. A 6-speed dual-clutch automated transmission routes power to the drive wheels. Pricing starts at $42,900.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
2016 Chevrolet Sonic
Spend any amount of time in a Chevrolet Sonic and you’ll see quite a bit of thought went into creating this small car. The Sonic might be cute, but it’s serious, too. From its stellar performance in NHTSA’s crash testing (five stars overall) to its wealth of standard features (including Bluetooth and blind spot mirrors), as cute as it is, the Sonic is also a rational choice. Power comes from a choice of two engines, a normally aspirated 1.8-liter inline four with 138 horsepower and 125 ft-lbs of torque, or a 1.4-liter turbocharged four with 138 horsepower and 148 ft-lbs of torque. The turbo engine can be had with a choice of a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic, while the normal engine gets a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. Fuel economy ranges from a low of 26 in the city to a high of 40 on the highway — depending upon the engine and transmission combination. Available in sedan and hatchback body styles, pricing starts at $14,340.
Photo Credit: FIAT
2016 FIAT 500
The FIAT 500 delivers a generous helping of Italian style, personality, and fun in a diminutive package. In addition to its lovely, sweet, and appealing nature, the FIAT 500 delivers a very strong standard feature set, including full power accessories, air conditioning, and a 6-speaker audio system. Available in both coupe and convertible, a 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine producing 101 horsepower and 98 ft-lb of torque powers the base model. Its output is routed to the front wheels by ether a 5-speed manual, or a 6-speed automatic transmission. The manual averages 34 miles per gallon overall, while the automatic returns 30. If performance is more your thing, there’s also the higher performing 135-horsepower Turbo and the 160-horsepower Abarth. FIAT 500 pricing starts at $16,995.
Photo Credit: Honda
2016 Honda Fit
Fun, frugal, and insanely commodious for its size, the Honda Fit proves a cute car can be a hard worker too. Blessed with all the traditional Honda values, including solid engineering, a delightful driving experience and exceptional reliability, the Fit is a strong competitor. The diminutive Honda also offers strong fuel economy numbers and reasonably sprightly performance. Power comes from a 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine making 130 horsepower and 114 ft-lbs of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is the standard offering for routing power to the front wheels, although a continuously variable transmission is available as an option. Offering more rear seat legroom than its Accord big sister, the Fit’s interior is well conceived. Four full-size adults can comfortably, uh, fit. Fold the rear seat and the Honda will swallow 52.7 cubic feet of cargo. Estimated fuel economy averages 32 miles per gallon with the manual and 35 with the CVT. Pricing starts at $15,890.
2016 Hyundai Veloster
Hyundai thinks so much of the Veloster it’s called the model its “reverse halo car.” Now, we’ll be the first to admit the Hyundai isn’t really capable of living up to the promise of its styling in terms of speed, but if you’re looking for something cool, with a very strong feature set, look no more, the Veloster’s got features for days. Keyless entry and start, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and satellite radio are all standard equipment. Power comes from a 132-horsepower 1.6-liter engine with 120 ft-lb of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission routes power to the front wheels as standard equipment. Pricing starts at $18,000.
Photo Credit: Kia
2016 Kia Soul
If you name a car Soul, you know it’s got to be funky, right? Now, while the Kia doesn’t exactly approach James Brown-levels of soulfulness, the car definitely has lots of personality. It’s also Kia’s least pricey model. Despite this fact, the Soul comes packed with lots of good stuff as standard equipment. You’ll find Bluetooth, satellite radio, full power accessories, and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls. Power for the base model comes from a 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with 130 horsepower and 118 ft-lbs of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, while a 6-speed automatic can be had as an option. If you need more power, the optional 2.0-liter inline-4 makes 164 horsepower and 151 ft-lbs of torque. A 6-speed automatic is the only transmission choice there, though. Pricing starts at $15,900.
2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
If we’re talking cute cars, any list without Volkswagen’s Beetle is incomplete. Motoring doesn’t get any cuter than a droptop Beetle on a sunny day with moderate temperatures. Rounding out our list of 10 cute cars, the VW Beetle Convertible is the very epitome of the phrase. Power for the base model comes from a 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 184 ft-lb of torque, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $25,490.