Small car, small price, big stick.


Hi! Can you recommend a small car (hatchback is cool) under $20k, manual shift (a must), low maintenance cost and high MPG? Thanks!
~ Jen
Indianapolis, Indiana


Dear Jen,

Sure, we can recommend several! (And let us express some official VroomGirls admiration that you are getting your stick-shift on.)

The least expensive car on the market is the Nissan Versa sedan — since you’re driving a stick, you can get a base model with air conditioning for just under $12,000. The bad news is that if you want power windows or a navigation system, you have to get an automatic.

The Toyota Yaris hatchback is another good choice; it’s small, it’s cute, and it’ll last forever, but again, a manual transmission is only offered on the base model.

One of our favorite cars in this class is the Honda Fit: It’s small on the outside but the back seat and trunk are unbelievably big making it one of the most versatile small cars you can buy. The 5-speed manual transmission is a stick-shifter’s dream, and you can get it in both the base and uplevel Sport model, both of which are well within your budget.

We’ll make one more suggestion: The Volkswagen Golf. It’s close to the top of your budget and not as fuel-efficient as the other three cars, but it has an upscale feel and is a lot of fun to drive.

Happy shopping and be sure to tell us what you end up buying!

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