Used to be that if you had a small car, people would stare with judgmental eyes...because clearly you didn't have enough money (or family) to justify having a bigger car. But it's 2012...and subcompact, eco-friendly vehicles offering great MPG are the envy of the road. The best part? These high-performance micro-cars look better than ever. Sexy little super-cars such as the Fiat 500 Abarth (above) and smart fortwo whiz by us in traffic, taking our eyes off the road faster than an incoming text. So, read on...and if you buy, please drive your little do-gooder safely.
-- Gregg Rosenzweig
As Mini's first two-seat convertible, this open-top high-performance go kart is to be a sure head-turner when it breezes into dealerships.
Arrival Date: February 25, 2012
Price*: Starts around $24,350
When this redesigned Bug hits the streets, Volkswagen hopes it will re-ignite Beetle Mania that's a lot more Paul...and a little less Ringo.
Arrival Date: Fall 2012
Price: Starts around $18,995
This third-gen electric car can travel roughly 86 miles in between charges -- while hitting highway-capable speeds up to 75mph. Vroom.
Arrival Date: This two-seater can be found at smart car dealerships.
Price: Starts around $12,490
As a nice addition to the shrunken segment, this 10-foot long micro-car is for urban buyers looking for a high IQ schlepper for their smallest of friends.
Arrival Date: Currently can be found hiding out at Toyota dealerships.
Price: Starts at $15,265
This quirky compact hatchback has been refreshed for 2012, offering soulful performance and getting nearly 35 mpg on the highway.
Arrival Date: This one lives and breathes at your local Kia dealer.
Price: Starts around $13,900 for the base model.
This hip, two-seat, convertible roadster proves the Miata name is alive and well 20 years after the brand was first launched.
Arrival Date: It's here. It's now.
Price: Starts at $23,470
The all-new, cutting-edge, three-door coupe is fun-to-drive and sips gas like a miserly connoisseur, boasting the ultimate 'tank-you' by offering 40 mpg on the highway.
Arrival Date: Get revved up -- this one's already at dealerships.
Price: Starts at $17,300
For its last year of production, the fun-to-drive Mitsubishi Eclipse delivers one last thrill with numerous upgrades to its sporty appearance. That's what this car has thrived on over the years -- looking sexy. So, if you're into into it, snatch one up before they disappear. Love it or hate it, it's had a nice run.
Arrival Date: Currently at Mitsubishi dealerships.
Price: Starts at $24,699
With a Nav system, Bluetooth and iPod input adding to its miles-per-gallon appeal, this well-rounded subcompact understandably fits into the lives of many.
Arrival Date: This new Fit has arrived.
Prices: Starts at $16,910
This high-style, Italian superstar isn't just a sexy speedster, but it's responsible perhaps for the best car ad produced in recent years. Check it out.
Arrival Date: This baby has already arrived, Oh yes, it has.
Prices: Starts at $22,000