The 7 best commuting cars for 2013

Kia Forte EX Hatchback

Price: $19,075

Mileage: 26 mpg city/36 highway/33 combined

CR Score: 71

Kia is another brand that's building a reputation for value, and in the case of the Forte EX, that translates into standard goodies such as remote keyless entry, power-folding outboard mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker audio system with iPod interface. The 156-horsepower, 2-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission delivers the best overall fuel economy of all the cars on our list. The Forte lost a few points in CR's scoring for acceleration and some ride stiffness, but in this case, a firmer ride is the compromise for better-than-average handling. We like that it's bigger inside than it looks, with plenty of passenger room. Moreover, it offers significantly more cargo space behind the rear seat than you'll find in the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan.