After years of stereotyping small, inexpensive cars as anything but economy transportation for drivers who seem not to care about cars, the era of the fun, impressive, and inexpensive automobile has arrived. No longer is a low bottom line synonymous with skimpy feature content and a boring powertrain and chassis. Automakers have finally cracked the formula that allows for interesting machinery at any price, and are making use of trickle-down technology to bring new buyers into the fold. The market, in turn, is reaping the rewards of a competitive marketplace below $20,000 – a price point that barely separates a good used car from a middling new one.
Herein, Autobytel has selected five economy cars that deliver new meaning to the phrase “cheap and cheerful.”