Small Cars That Are Easy To Drive


Toyota Corolla
Built: 1966 to present
New: $17,000
Used: $5,000 on average
First introduced in 1966, the Toyota Corolla has built a reputation on its fuel efficiency (most models average thirty-two miles per gallon), relatively comfortable ride that’s well-suited to daily commuting. Indeed, the Corolla is still quite popular after nearly half a century in production. It is not uncommon to see older models on the road, as well; to quote a line from a 1990s Corolla commercial: “These cars are built to last.”


Honda Civic
Built: 1972 to present
New: $20,000
Used: $11,000 on average
Taking its name from Honda’s mission statement to create a car for all people, the Honda Civic was introduced in 1973 to meet the needs of drivers seeking more fuel-efficient cars in the midst of gasoline shortages. Though the Civic has evolved through the years into a more upmarket automobile, it still is applauded for its fuel efficiency – the 2012 model averages thirty-six miles per gallon and a hybrid model has been in production since 2001.


Nissan Sentra
Built: 1982 to present
New: $18,000
Used: $12,000 on average
The Nissan Sentra dates back to the Datsun Sunny, which was first introduced in 1966. In 1982, the model was rebranded as the Sentra and became the second car marketed using the Nissan nameplate. Due to its high fuel efficiency (some models got as much as forty-eight miles a gallon) the Sentra was an instant success. In its first year of sales, it became the best-selling import in the U.S. and the fourth best-selling passenger car overall, with 191,312 units sold. Although the Sentra’s design has changed over the years, it still is viewed as a dependable car, what with its simple construction, comfortable handling, high fuel economy and a reputation for safety bestowed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Mazda MX-5 Miata
Built: 1989 to present
New: $24,000
Used: $5,500 on average
Launched in 1989, the Miata was designed as Japan’s answer to such classic British roadsters as the Triumph Spitfire, the Austin-Healey Sprite, the MG Midget and the Lotus Elan. Mazda updated the concept by designing the Miata to be lightweight and with minimal mechanical complexity, enabling solid gas mileage at just under thirty miles to the gallon. The Miata continues to be the bestselling two-seat sports car in history. As of February 2011, 900,000 Miatas have been produced and sold worldw

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