Fiat 500 Cabrio Pop
Flirty round headlamps and classic style look fit for Audrey Hepburn driving along the Riviera. She’d look even more radiant after powering back the canvas top. Rev out the 135 horsepower turbo-four and groove to the sport-tuned exhaust. Choose a white steering wheel and paint colors like Oliva Green Pearl, Luminosa Orange or Pompei Silver for the full show. Get one now because the 500 is not long for this world.
Base price: $17,990
Autos for under $20K that you’ll actually want to drive on your hot date
CASEY WILLIAMS | Auto Reviewer
It’s easy to get a great car for $40,000, but there are also many under $20,000 that you’ll actually want to drive. From a German sport sedan to an Italian convertible, American crossover, and Japanese hatchbacks, none of these cars will embarrass your sexy ass on your hot date.
Versa arrives for its third generation with stylish new clothes. Sleek styling cribs the larger Maxima with floating roof and boomerang lamps. Inside, a D-shaped steering wheel, large touchscreen and push button starting add class — as do available heated seats, adaptive cruise and front/rear autonomous braking. Expect 32/40-MPG city/highway from the standard 122 horsepower four-cylinder engine. It looks and drives far above its raising.
Base price: $14,730
This is a playful little car at any price, but the high-revving 130 horsepower four-cylinder, crisp suspension and tight steering elevate the sass. A rearview camera and spoiler come standard. Flip up the rear seats to cross-load bicycles or carry an apartment’s furnishings with everything folded. Feel snug with available collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise and lane keeping assist. Fuel economy of 33/40-MPG city/highway adds smiles.
Base price: $16,190
Toyota Yaris Hatchback
A suave new hatchback joins the chic sedan. The Yaris is essentially a “Mazda2,” which means the soul of a Miata and the price of a nice European vacation. A hunkered stance rides on 16-inch alloy wheels bolstering body-color mirrors and chrome tailpipe. The 7-inch screen connects to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and joywheel control. Navigation can be added. A 106 horsepower four-cylinder engine and crash mitigation braking come standard.
Base price: $15,600
Naming it after Brazil’s party paradise is a bit pretentious, but it flaunts fab forms from the studios of former Audi designer Peter Schreyer. Upscale interiors channel the Sonata’s posh. The peppy four-cylinder engine connects to a continuously variable transmission to deliver 120 horsepower and 33/41-MPG city/highway. A new 7-inch touchscreen with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. Forward collision avoidance is optional.
Base price: $15,750
The least expensive car on our list is anything but cheap. Its mini-car style has been facelifted with a flashier grin, projector beam headlamps and LED running lights. Colors like Passion Fruit and Raspberry are pretty sweet. A standard touchscreen accompanies an available leather-wrapped steering wheel, 4G Wi-Fi, low speed automatic braking and lane keep assist. Slap the 98 horsepower four-cylinder engine that achieves 30/38-MPG city/highway.
Base price: $13,220
Meet Hyundai’s affordable new crossover. Vibrant hues worthy of a beach village highlight the contrasting color roof. Inside, an 8-inch display enables Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and integration of Amazon Alexa. Kick it with a 121 horsepower four-cylinder and 6-speed manual transmission that achieve 33-MPG combined (CVT is optional). Forward collision avoidance, lane keep assist and blind spot warning add a few singles.
Base price: $16,500
Though this looks like Ford’s bigger crossovers, it’s tiny … like a tall little Fiesta that drives very European with a 123 horsepower turbo-three-cylinder engine, front-drive (AWD optional) and 27/29-MPG city/highway. The roomy interior feels ritzy, especially with an available heated steering wheel, heated seats, B&O Audio, Navigation, and 4G Wi-Fi. Lay off the options to stay under our price limit.
Base price: $19,995
This handsome German yearns to stretch into the left lane. Sleek styling accompanies a driver-centric interior with quality fittings and safety tech like adaptive cruise, lane keep assist and front autonomous braking. Pay a little more for heated/cooled seats, Beats Audio, flatscreen instruments and panoramic sunroof. A 147 horsepower turbo-four pairs with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission, achieving up to 30/40-MPG city/highway.
Base price: $18,745
If you’re looking for a hell of a car on a budget, this is it. It feels expensive with its 152 horsepower Porsche-style four-cylinder engine, all-wheel-drive and super crashworthy body. Add Subaru’s EyeSight crash avoidance and adaptive cruise system to nail our target price. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and uplevel audio are available. I even recommended this one to my own mother-in-law (it’s OK, I like her)! The boss queen is delighted.
Base price: $18,595