10 Small Cars Even Guys Wouldn’t Mind Driving (And 10 They Wouldn’t Touch)

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I searched around to see what kind of cars are preferred by men. As I scrolled through various pages and scoured through a few links, a pattern started emerging. It seems that men prefer vehicles of various kinds, from pickup trucks to sedans to sports cars. Well, what’s the pattern, you ask? It seems like men, on average, prefer something that has power, shows power, or is related to power. Of course, I don’t mean that when a car has “power” written all over it, men will buy it. They’ll look for other things in the cars they buy, of course.

Let’s dive into the numbers. The first three top-selling models of 2017 were all pickup trucks—the Ford F-Series, followed by the Chevy Silverado, and then Ram Trucks. While women are starting to own pickup trucks, you can be certain that it’s men who are fascinated by the trucks. After the pickups, there were SUVs and some, then some sports cars (msn.com).

This list is no different despite looking at the subcompact or compact class. Some of these cars are either sporty, which, via general association, hints at power. Others look like SUVs (the Hyundai Veloster, for example). And some are allegedly sleeper cars but have a good engine in them (VW Golf GTI).

So, with this rationale, let’s dive in.

20. Won’t Like: Chevy Sonic

Let’s give credit where it’s due. This car has good fuel economy, as is evident by a guy doing 80 mph and still getting 30 mpg. That’s insane and admirable simultaneously! Additionally, the car has scope in so many markets around the world—120 countries—that it had to wear seven different brands in the past. “Sonic” was the name given to the second-generation Chevy Aveo. I don’t know how the car is doing in other markets, but it’s not exactly doing too hot here. The car looks decent, but it’s faring only slightly better than the previous unsuccessful products, such as the Geo Metro and even the Aveo. Motor Trend wasn’t having it, and gave it a “3/5.” There are plenty of better cars to get.

19. Won’t Like: Ford Fiesta

The funny little Fiesta… It’s an okay car, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a lot it could’ve improved upon. Just take a look at the exterior of the current model, which is better than what the compact and subcompact cars of the early 2000s were producing. But it’s not as good as the Accent’s exterior, which is more solemn. You don’t want to mess around in the Hyundai Accent. And while Hyundai is not exactly Toyota, people are beginning to place trust in Hyundai. The Fiesta, on the other hand, is a product of our very own Ford, which, at times, can make surprisingly poor decisions. While the current Fiestas seem to be error-free, that wasn’t the case just a few years ago; the 2012-2016 model years are replete with transmission issues.

18. Won’t Like: 2003 Toyota Prius

I think the second-generation Priuses are worse than the first, especially those from the year 2003. The styling of the first-generation Prius wasn’t necessarily a gift to mankind, but at least it didn’t look like a fat fish, which the 2003 model year does. The front of the car is so sloped down that you’re reminded of a minivan from the ‘90s. And just imagine that picture: a minivan front on a compact car. However, to its credit, Toyota designed the body to improve the drag coefficient, which was class-leading at 0.26 Cd, per Wikipedia.org. The interior was also devoid of a lot—but not like Tesla-devoid, as that’s a stylistic achievement, rather. The only thing it had was an excellent emissions reduction, but that changed with the next generation. More on that later.

17. Won’t Like: Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is one of those cars from the past that’s had a rich history, which is being continued with all efforts. The 2018 model actually brought about a change: All Fiat 500s will be powered by a 1.4L MultiAir turbocharged engine, so you can say hello to 135 HP and goodbye to the 101 HP-producing engine. That was probably in response to the dwindling sales. For instance, the year 2017 saw sales drop by almost 20 percent, according to Jalopnik. So it’s really not doing well. While the shape of the Fiat 500 is disappointing, it doesn’t end there. Some readers of Jalopnik complained about the weird driving position, stating that it reminded them of being seated on a forklift. Things become even worse if your adipose cells have more than normal levels of triglycerides stored in them.

16. Won’t Like: Nissan Versa

Just a couple of years ago, this was the cheapest car in the market, and even now, at $12,110, it remains one of the cheapest cars in the US. But the car doesn’t act like a car. It’s designed poorly, gives one of the worst driving experiences, and doesn’t even give that much of an advantage when it comes to fuel economy. The interior is extremely cheap-looking and flimsy. Being a small car doesn’t give one the pass to make a terrible small car, but that’s exactly what the Versa is. The only metal you’ll find in the interior is probably the internal door handle; besides that, you’re forced to call yourself the king of plastics—or queen, my lady. It’s a car that you probably want to avoid at all costs.

15. Won’t Like: First-Generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class

These cars didn’t have the best stability in their early days. In 1997, the car was being driven through the rigors of the “elk test” when it flipped over while going at an astonishing speed of 37 mph. If you’re not familiar with the “elk test,” it essentially entails you swerving around an object emerging from either side and then going back in your lane. While Mercedes denied any problems, it decided to recall the 2K units it had made and then suspended further sales for three months to solve the stability problem. It cost Mercedes $300M to fix the car. Oh well… at least they got that fixed. If only someone could’ve told Mercedes to do a similar test for the exterior. It’s another early Prius, just with a Mercedes badge.

14. Won’t Like: Smart ForTwo

Mercedes Benz is the founder of these “smart” cars, and no, they don’t officially capitalize the first letter of that word. Pretty smart, huh? Opinions vary on whether that just tarnishes Mercedes-Benz’s reputation for investing in such an unconventional car, or whether that’s going to be appreciated by the city drivers. If you look at one of these crashes at 70 mph, you’ll realize that in an actual crash, you’ll likely find yourself gravely injured—if not in the graveyard. I mean, it has no room to absorb that kind of energy, so all that energy is transferred to the small hood-like protrusion, which transfers it directly to the remaining contiguous part of the car—so, the cabin, meaning, you, although, it was a feat for the car to have achieved a speed of 70 mph in the first place.

13. Won’t Like: BMW i3

I don’t know what’s going on with BMW. Is this how all these subcompact cars start? Just look the 2014 BMW i3. The car looks hideous from any angle, any corner, inside, outside, from here, from there, with glasses, without glasses, etc. I don’t know what BMW was trying to achieve here, but it probably needs to change the outlook of the car to get to that level. I guess it was trying to produce the greenest car on this planet, as it won the 2014 World Green Car of the Year award, but still, the car has to be selling and people have to be driving it for it to not be a burden on the carbon footprint. Just look at the plug-in hybrid sports car, the i8 that BMW produced a year later. It’s a gorgeous car, so change, BMW. Change.

12. Won’t Like: New Beetle

When the original Beetle was in production, it dominated the market and the mind of public alike. I mean, it has a history that encompasses happy families, awards, creator Adolf Hitler, and a really lengthy Wikipedia page. That was an excellent car. Unlike Seinfeld, whose producers stopped production during the show’s peak, the Beetle was brought into the game just for nostalgia. One of the readers of Jalopnik argued the car should’ve been left as is, and when it got revived, it was essentially a car on life support. “Now they’re bloated and barely recognizable,” said the reader. And I think even the higher-ups agree. “Two or three generations is enough now… you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle,” said Frank Welsch, in light of the fact that there won’t be a replacement when this New Beetle dies.

11. Won’t Like: 2005 Scion xB

This subcompact car looks humongous and, equipped with the same engine found in the Toyota Echo, it drives rather lethargically, weighing 400 lbs more than the Echo. I’m not even sure how the car got classified as subcompact—it looks almost like the Ford Flex, just that the Flex looks much, much better. The car failed for several reasons, not the least of which was its poor design. Adding on to all that was the limited powertrain option. Just a weak 108 HP engine was available. It was an unsuccessful attempt by Toyota to lure in the younger audience into Toyota products. That didn’t go too well. As of right now, forget you not liking the car, for Toyota didn’t like this division of itself and axed the Scion name 19 months ago.

10. Will Like: 2018 Toyota Prius

The new Prius is one of those cars that are simply fascinating. It’s EV, internal combustion, sports, etc., all combined into one. What a significant change Toyota has made since the launch in 1997. Whereas those cars were derided for the exterior, the fourth-generation cars are being praised for the styling. Just look at one. The aggressive curves, the menacing front, and the sinister headlamps all highlight the improvements of the car. Not all car manufacturers have improved like Toyota has; some of the others are just coming along but not winning. And the interior is improved, too. If you’re above six-feet, you won’t be able to sit in the middle seat in the back, but besides that, it has plenty of room to accommodate most shapes and sizes. The cabin is eventful also.

9. Will Like: Ford Focus ST

You might remember me chiding the Fiesta just a couple of entries above for having nothing special to offer, but the Focus won’t get the same treatment. James Riswick from autotrader.com argues that the base Ford Focus is becoming tasteless, but the ST (and the RS) is not. He makes the point that the difference between the ST and RS is similar to the contrast between a jalapeno and a habanero, respectively, with a similar difference in the price. I decided to pick the ST option because of its relatively reasonable price of $30K. Just because it’s $10K less than the RS doesn’t mean that the deal becomes unfavorable. The seats will still hug you tightly, the powerful engine will still roar on the tracks, and the fuel economy will still save you money as a daily driver.

8. Will Like: 2016-Present Hyundai Elantra

These are nice cars. The current generation did away with the “fluidic sculpture” that the previous generation was. It’s more conservative, with a fastback-type look to it. Consequently, the car is less curvy and sterner, with its sharp creases and edges. The grille looks respectable. Even the interior was changed to become less curvy and amorphous. I guess Hyundai didn’t want it to look like a 1996 Ford Taurus. But that’s not it. The car has some cool features. Take the trunk, for example. It opens automatically when it senses your hands are full. Go inside the car once, and it’ll store your preferences in its memory. Although there are a few more features, I found these to be the most novel in a compact car!

7. Will Like: Mazda3

I still have to figure out what exactly the “KODO: Soul of Motion” design means, but whatever it means and entails, Mazda3 seems to have made the right decision with that philosophy. The Mazda3 is the third vehicle from the Mazda fleet to endorse this design, and I must say that that’s been successful, just like the other two have been. The sharp exterior is fully supported by the insightful interior. Sure, it has Mazda’s infotainment system that’s actually also controlled remotely from the center console, and sure, the rest of the interior is upscale, too. But you might be more interested in the heads-up display. Not only can your naked eye see the information, but those polarized glasses can, too. The interior is roomy for moderately size adults. All combined, it’s a solid car, folks.

6. Will Like: Subaru Impreza

The Impreza is now built on the new Subaru Global Platform, meaning both the sedan and the hatchback get a lower center of gravity and increased rigidity, per Wikipedia.org. The fifth generation also brought on a compact car that’s longer and wider, becoming a class-leader in terms of room; the legroom has naturally increased both in the front and at the back. Adding on to the list of positives, the interior gives a nice vibe, a little more than nice, though—it’s all soft and cushiony. The cabin also has the proper technology and is up to date. A little trouble arises with the powertrain, though. While most other manufacturers offer either more options or more horses, Subaru offers only 152 HP in the Impreza, so it might be a factor to ponder over.

5. Will Like: Customized Mini Cooper S

The Mini Cooper is a car that’s highly efficient in terms of fuel economy and excellent in the sense of driving experience. Not only that—you also have the ability to modify the already good-looking car. The car you see here was one from the early batches of the Cooper S, which is a dream of a car enthusiast in itself. But right after he got the car—okay, a year later—he had an itch to modify it. So, he got it all modified with the help of BMW and Mini specialist “JuzzForCars.” The exterior got a blast of metallic orange and blacked-out wheel arches. The headlight linings were also blacked out, and of course, the roof had its own Union Jack. On top of all this, the engine was boosted to provide more performance (torque.com.sg).

4. Will Like: VW Golf GTI

Having an equivalent reputation as that of the Passat, here’s the VW Golf GTI. The GTI competes with the likes of the Ford Focus ST. It has a 2L turbocharged engine that generates 220 HP and 258 lb-ft of torque, meaning performance is at the tip of your fingers. The best thing about this car is the posh interior, though, despite it having a solid powertrain option. The entire layout is sharp and enticing in the cabin. The icing on the cake isn’t leather but plaid seats, which give you a woolly experience. The exterior is like of a sleeper car. It doesn’t have any of those fancy or intimidating grilles, just a plain hood. But never forget, it’s a car meant for the track—you just also use it as a daily driver.

3. Will Like: Mazda Miata

Of course, the Miata was going to be on the list. This goes without saying. I think I’ll go with the description given by the Donut Media presenter on YouTube: “The Miata is the Diet Coke of soft-drinks.” While he had more to say to keep the video a bit funny, I think he hit the nail on the head with that. This car is ubiquitous. Everyone seems to like these cars. The Miata was even introduced at a time when America was in love with muscle cars, the big, mean-looking muscle cars. Nonetheless, it was received well. Perhaps, one of the contributing factors to its success was the ease of maintaining this car. The design of the car—front engine and RWD—facilitated all that. The Miata continues to provide exceptional handling.

2. Will Like: Hyundai Veloster

Unlike the Scion that was targeted for the youth, the Veloster actually made it through while targeting the same audience. Scion went a little too conservative and a little too over the top on the innovative side, but Hyundai gets it right with the Veloster. In production since 2011, the car is doing reasonably well. One important thing to note about the car is its SUV-like look. Despite being a compact sports car, it looks like it has a high ride and the strength of an SUV, which are both positive things for it. While many special editions have been produced, the general spectrum of the I4 engines is satisfying since you have power ranging from 145 HP to 275 HP. This car looks like it was meant to portray strength, and men can’t go wrong with that.

1. Will Like: Mercedes-Benz Class-A

Now, this is what I’m talking about when I say “change.” Just look at what Mercedes did. It completely revamped the entire schema of its Class-A vehicle. It’s no longer a subcompact car, becoming a sharp-looking, gut-wrenching compact car. I mean, the exterior is just mind-boggling despite it being only a compact car. Much like some of the other compact cars, it’s focused toward attracting the youth. Well, it does that very well. Not only is the interior equipped with the utmost advanced technology, but the attention to detail is also mesmerizing… Even the floormats have stitched borders. The cabin itself looks jaw-dropping with its touchscreen infotainment system and wheel-shaped climate controls. It’s probably one of the fanciest cars you can be driving—anyone would like it, man or woman.

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