If you’re lucky enough to have a short commute to work, then you need to consider different factors when buying a used car than someone with a lengthier drive (or more time stuck in traffic). Chances are good that while fuel economy matters, it’s not that important. You’re probably more concerned with size, handling and the like. We’ve assembled a list of the top five cars for short commutes below.
Toyota Prius: The undisputed champ of the hybrid category, the Toyota Prius manages to combine good looks with outstanding fuel economy and decent handling. You’ll get 51 mpg in town, which means you might only have to fill the tank once every couple of weeks. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor also produce a respectable 134 hp, so it’s quicker than you might assume. Of course, it’s small, so getting in and out of city traffic is no big deal.
Honda Insight: The Insight has actually been on the market longer than the Prius, but it hasn’t gained quite the same widespread adoption by drivers. It offers 48 mpg in the city and 58 mpg on the road, and it’s pretty nimble as well. The small size also makes it a great choice for tight urban roadways and parking spaces.
Buick Encore: The Encore is a super-compact SUV that measures even smaller than the Ford Escape. It’s actually only a few inches longer than the Versa Note, and manages to deliver 23/25 mpg. There’s a decent amount of cargo space so urban road warriors can carry their luggage or gear with ease, too. The high seating position also means that you get a commanding view of your surroundings.
Scion iQ: Looking for something small, compact and yet very drivable? The Scion iQ might be the answer. It shares the boxy style of other Scion models, combined with Toyota’s legendary reliability. It also delivers an average 36 mpg and can take very tight turns, making it one of the best-suited cars to be your in-town runabout.
Smart Fortwo: Yes, the Fortwo has been around for a while and it’s racked up both praise and criticism. It still makes a decent car for anyone with a short commute, particularly if you don’t need to carry any passengers. It offers 33/41 mpg, and it’s one of the nimblest little cars on this list, making turns and parking in urban environments a cinch.
Whether you need an SUV or an ultra-compact model, there’s a used car out there perfect for your needs.