Fun fuel-sipping cars

Chevrolet Spark 1LT

Price: $15,420

Mileage: 28 mpg city/37 highway/32 combined

Annual Fuel Cost: $1,650

This is the smallest and most affordable car on our list, but we think the Spark works well as an in-town commuter or as primary transportation for first-time buyers with small children. It's about three feet longer than a micro-car like the Smart fortwo, but more than a foot shorter than the Chevrolet Sonic. Jackrabbit acceleration isn't one of its traits. Its 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine only develops 84 horsepower, and the automatic transmission only has four gears, making this the least-powerful car we're recommending. But the Spark has lots of personality despite its small stature and holds its own in city traffic. Although the rear seat is best suited for kids, there's plenty of room for completing most in-town chores. The impressive list of standard equipment includes 10 air bags, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, remote keyless entry, height-adjustable driver's seat, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker audio system with CD, satellite radio and iPod integration.