People tend to think of economy cars as a dull, punishing compromise. These cheap, cheerful, fun-to-drive examples buck that trend.
If you don't want to drop a bunch of cash on a WRX or STI, the base Impreza is a fine choice. Standard all-wheel drive and an available stick shift mean you won't be bored behind the wheel. up for grabs on eBay right now.
Lots of people dismiss the Elantra GT as just another boring commuter hatch, but really, it deserves more attention. It's genuinely fun to drive, and available with a six-speed manual transmission.
Despite growing in size substantially since its reintroduction in the early 2000s, the new Mini Cooper three-door is still a joy behind the wheel. has just under 1700 miles on the clock, and you can own it today.
If you want to stick with Honda, but need something a bit bigger, the Accord is another fantastic choice. It drives great, both with the base 1.5-liter turbo engine or with the Type R-derived 2.0-liter. Of course, if you want the full experience, you'll have to option the six-speed manual transmission. with the 2.0T and the manual listed for $31,000.
No, Volkswagen doesn't sell its Up! microcar here in America. But it deserves to be on this list because it's incredibly fun to drive. Such a lightweight chassis combined with a short wheelbase is a recipe for smiles, no matter the powertrain.
Like the Up!, the Jimny isn't available in America. But it's still incredibly cool to look at, and makes for a wonderful time off-road. It's even sold with a manual transmission. It would be wrong not to mention it here.
The Fiesta is impressively fun to drive and a looker to boot. It's also damn well equipped and can be had with Ford's excellent 1.0 liter turbo three cylinder. And if you have some more money in the bank, you can get the excellent Fiesta ST hot hatch for less than $22,000. Better act fast, though, because Ford is about to axe the Fiesta—as well as every other non-crossover or truck in its lineup. listed for under $13,000 right now.
What used to be the byword in awful cheap transportation has turned into a great looking hatchback that's fun to drive. Get it with the manual gearbox. is on eBay right now for $15,000.
The looks of Kia's funky family hauler may not be for everyone, but it's definitely a cool car that carry a lot of people and gear. The perfect car to do it all. for sale right now.
The miserly Spark actually has a rather big personality. So what if it only has 84 horsepower? The Spark is legitimately fun to drive, packed with convenient tech, and its refresh for 2016 makes it look like Chevy SS mated with a hot hatch. Not bad. is painted in a lovely shade of blue, and you can own it today.
The Chevy Sonic is a size up from the tiny Spark, another fun-to-drive little hatch from Chevy that can even be had in the hotted up RS version with turbo power for less than $22,000. optioned with a manual transmission for sale on eBay now.
The Golf is a fantastic car to drive with one of the best interiors in the class. And a step up to the GTI will give you a real performance car with real performance cred that's not to be ignored. can be yours today.
Prefer a sedan? The Jetta is basically a Golf in four-door form. It has the same great driving dynamics and engine choices, meaning yes, you can get one with a manual. you can own now.
The Mazda 3 is one of the best-looking and best-equipped cars in class. It's also one of the most fun to drive in any price range. That's a big win. is for sale right now on eBay.
Another surprisingly fun car to drive, the Fit is well-equipped and has a great manual gearbox, all for less than $20,000. you can own today.
The 500 is a ton of fun, but the secret sauce is to get the 500T. It's basically the Europe market Abarth powertrain in a car that isn't called the Abarth here. painted in a lovely shade of green on eBay right now.
Want the engine from the 500 Abarth but need more room for people? The Renegade is your unlikely answer. You can also upgrade to a 2.4 liter four-cylinder, but you lose the manual gearbox option and gain a Trail Rated badge. Your choice. for sale right now, equipped with the manual.
It may look like a fish, but the Toyota Yaris iA (formerly the Scion iA) is the Mazda2 underneath. And since Mazda isn't importing the new 2 to the USA, this is the only way you'll be able to drive it. That means you have a Toyota hatch that is a hoot to drive. Not too shabby. for sale right now for under $14,000.
Two doors on one side make it practical, one door on the other makes it sporty. Plus, if you have the money, the N performance version gives it speed to match its looks. Not a car to overlook. can be yours today.
The BMW is by far the most expensive car here, but there's a reason it's included. The electric drivetrain and carbon fiber construction make it a preview of the future, today. Definitely worth a look. has nearly 35,000 miles on the clock, listed on eBay right now for around $14,000.