We need a new car, and it seems to be time for a subcompact. We have a Subaru Impreza hatchback, and a 9-year-old who is big enough to legally be allowed to sit in front, but is also still small enough to sit in the back of a subcompact.
We want a manual, but we did look at Smart cars. We actually don’t like the idea of the rear-mounted engine.
I once owned a Geo Metro, and it was a great car. It handled beautifully, and got 40mpg in the city. I lost it in a collision, which was about as bad as they get-- it was semi-head on-- driver-to-driver, and going 55mph. All I had was a sprained ankle and a small cut on my forehead, so I’m convinced that small cars can be safe. Anyway, I’m leaning toward what seems to be the current version of the Metro-- the Chevy Spark.
DH likes the Mini Cooper, because he wants something just a little bigger, and he thinks the Spark is underpowered. I shy away from European cars, because they tend to be hard to work on, and mechanics don’t like them, so you have to take them to a make-specific garage, or you end up with resentful mechanics not doing their best job.
We also looked at the Fiat 500, which shifted nicely, but the safety rating isn’t impressive (the Spark’s is excellent), and it is a European design, even if it’s built in the US now.
Who here drives a subcompact, and what do you like or not like about your particular car? Has anyone here rented one, or driven a friend’s, and have anything to say about handling? anyone bought a car recently, and considered a subcompact, but decided against it? why?