Smaller Car portal

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The purpose of this portal is to introduce you to intelligent choices for car purchase -- something that is not as huge as what American preferences are, something that is practical, reliable, smart, affordable, and of course good on gas consumption. You pay in cost and gas mileage for the image only, while people rarely put such important factors as comfort and usability ahead of the car image.


  • Honda Fit: starling of the list and my personal favorite. Affordable used and without navigation option. I had a reported 37mpg long-term average (commute to work by rural backroads). Buy a used one, 2009+, Sport model only (bigger wheels, etc). Girls love the car. However, before 2011, ESC was only available on the hard to find Sport with Navigation package. Also, Navigation option is pretty expensive. Buy only the Sport model. The car has a surprising amount of space inside, and I have measured it to have the same amount of space as CR-V, which is of course an SUV that is much bigger and more expensive. Also, watch out for the clockspring recall. Sport edition has bigger wheels, spoiler, chrome exhaust, halogen headlights, maplights, and four cargo tiedowns.
  • VW Golf Hatchback. Good.
  • Pontiac Vibe. Poor driving position, otherwise OK. Like SUV.
  • Suzuki SX-4, X-90 4x4. All wheel drive and large car, however: poor mileage (24mpg), poor satisfaction.
  • Scion xD hatchback. Not ugly like other Scions. However, not good satisfaction and seating position.
  • Toyota Matrix. Small hatchback somewhere in between a sedan and an SUV. Buy 2009+ models. 29mpg. However, poor seating position and satisfaction.
  • Honda CR-V. Small SUV. 2.4L engine. 25mpg economy. 4WD when car detects slipping, but it cannot operate in this mode for a long time. However, Honda Fit has the same amount of interior space (minus towing of course).
  • Toyota RAV-4. Small SUV.
  • Mazda 5 is a minivan the size of hatchback, and is a very novel concept. I would like one. It is just about the smartest car I saw.
  • VW Jetta diesel manual (hatchback TDI) can do almost 50 mpg, but the car otherwise is not impressive. Also, the gas and automatic versions have nothing to be recommended.
  • Toyota Prius hybrid is a very good small hatchback. If you can afford it, it would have a very good gas economy. However, it is very expensive. On the good side, you can buy it used, and the performance was found by Consumer Reports to decline very little from the brand-new models.

Problems or limitations

  • Ford Focus. New, not yet reviewed.
  • Subaru Forester. Small SUV, good visibility, AWD. However, it is large like an SUV, low mpg, expensive.
  • Nissan Versa. Looks like SUV. Poor reliability and satisfaction.
  • Huyndai Accent. Poor reliability and satisfaction.
  • Toyota Yaris. Poor driving position.
  • Nissan Murano. Although not as huge as most SUVs, it has a very poor utilization of internal and external space due to curved lines. Wheels are huge, and it looks mean on the outside. Good looks but poor utility. Cool car, huge wheels, interesting dashboard, AWD, GPS, leather seats, almost as big as an SUV, hatchback, lower in height than a Dodge Caravan minivan.
  • Scion xB. Old boxy version is liked by some, but the car does not excel in anything besides the image.
  • Kia Spectra 5 hatchback
  • Mazda 3 hatchback. Mpg is not great, it is for 5 people.

Rejected, or not recommended

  • Dodge Caliber. Poor visibility and reliability.
  • VW GTI. Expensive, reliability, small, manual.
  • Pontiac G3. Is now Chevrolet Aveo.
  • Kia CQ-R. Reliability.
  • Subary Outback. Wagon, expensive.
  • Suzuki Swift. Not rated.
  • Suzuki Aerio. Discontinued in 2007, replaced with SX-4.
  • Geo Tracker. Discontinued.
  • Nissan Tiida is Versa.
  • Chevrolet Aveo. Very poorly made.
  • Honda Element. Will be discontinued, poor driving position.
  • Scion xA. Discontinued in 2008.
  • Nissan Juke. Ugly, small capacity, dysfunctional.
  • gt cruiser idiotic hatchback
  • dodge magnum ugly hatchback

Not yet reviewed

  • Kia Rondo. Small suv.
  • Mazda XC-7. Huge hatchback or mini SUV, very low.
  • mazda protege hatchback
  • hyndai ? Hatchback
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Mazda MPV
  • ?Plymouth columbia old hatchback. Interesting shape
  • suzuki aerio
  • mini cooper
  • Huyndai touring
  • Chevy HHR stupid looking mini SUV
  • Nissan Rogue: SUV sized hatchback. Or small SUV
  • jeep 4x4 mini suv
  • suzuki x4
  • subaru outback small suv. If 4wd, its is a great car.
  • Mazda XC-7. Huge hatchback or mini SUV, very low.
  • mercedes r350 is a low and a small but fullsize minivan. Great car concept.
  • Infiniti fx35 small SUV
  • Saab 93x crossover
  • mazda cx7 small suv
  • huyndai tucson small suv
  • volvo c30 hatchback


  • cost, mpg, picture