Used Cars: 10 Best Compacts Under $8K

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Red Hot DealsFuel prices continue skyward, groceries are already through the roof, and education costs — forget about it. So, where is an upstanding consumer to get a little relief? Try the used car market. With a fuel saving late model economy compact car your savings will grow with every mile driven. For even greater savings purchase a used fuel saving late model economy compact, using a used car website. is loaded with thousands of listings for these high-quality used compacts, as well as many, many others.


2011 Mazda Mazda2

2011 Mazda Mazda2 2The Mazda2 offers a feisty driving experience and excellent fuel mileage. This 2,300-pound five-door car, if equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, makes the most of the 1.5-liter 100hp engine. When equipped with the four-speed automatic, it is a different story. Fuel mileage stands out at 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway.

2013 Chevrolet Spark

2013 Chevrolet SparkThe five-door Spark is available in so many unconventional exterior colors that you are bound to find one that you like. Standard features like a five-speed manual gearbox, power windows, air-conditioning, antilock brakes, side curtain airbags, hill-hold assist, and electronic stability/traction control make the Spark a great value for the buck. It has a 1.2-liter engine and gets 32 mpg city/ 38 mpg highway.

2012 Suzuki SX4 Sportback

2012 Suzuki SX4 SportbackNo, it is not a motorcycle, it is a sporty large hatchback with five-doors. Standard features include four-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, and full power accessories. It is outfitted with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which delivers 150hp, and your choice of a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission (CVT). The SX4, with a CVT manages 22 mpg city/33 highway.

2010 Honda Fit

2010 Honda FitFit is precisely what this little Honda hatchback does well. It has an extremely ergonomic interior and above average cargo room. If this were a comparison list, the Fit would easily earn the top spot, hands down. For an extraordinarily economical automobile (both to purchase, as well as to operate) it handles fairly well on the road. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 117hp is the only engine available and a manual five-speed transmission is standard. The Fit gets 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway.


2011 Chevrolet Aveo5

2011 Chevrolet Aveo5This economical five-door subcompact comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 108hp and, when accompanied by the standard five-speed manual transmission, gets 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway. An optional four-speed automatic is also available in the higher trim levels. Front side airbags are standard but baser models were not equipped with antilock braking or stability/traction control.


2011 Kia Rio5

2011 Kia Rio5The Rio is available with front side airbags, which were standard equipment, as were power mirrors, tilt steering, and a compact disc player. The engine is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that puts out 110hp and gets 28 mpg city/34 mpg highway, when mated with the manual five-speed transmission, which is standard on the base model. A four-speed automatic can be located in many LX and SX models.

2011 Dodge Caliber Xpress

2011 Dodge Caliber XpressThe Caliber has carved out a place for itself somewhere between the subcompact wagons and the mid-sized crossover SUVs. It is available with two engine choices; they are four-cylinders, a 2.0-liter and a 2.4-liter. It can be found in five trim levels, the basest of which is equipped with air-conditioning, remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors, full power accessories, cruise control, and tilt steering. The Caliber is not only economical but it is a real bargain at under $8K.

2011 Nissan Versa Hatchback

2011 Nissan Versa HatchbackIf you want an economical car that doesn’t make you feel as though you are being punished for choosing to own it, the Nissan Versa will fill the bill. It has a spacious interior with ample creature comforts. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder that turns out 122hp gets the Versa down the road; posting reasonable fuel economy numbers of 26 mpg city/31 mpg highway, when equipped with the manual transmission.

2012 Fiat 500 Sport

2012 Fiat 500 SportThe Italians are here. This sporty little number is terribly fun to drive and has a lot of curb appeal. The 500 Sport is powered by a 1.4-liter 101hp four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual transmission. It posts excellent fuel efficiency ratings of 30 mpg city/38 mpg highway. It features 16-inch alloy wheels, sport tuned suspension, a roof spoiler, fog lamps, and sports seating.


2012 Hyundai Accent

2012 Hyundai AccentThis snappy little five-door Korean built compact car looks fantastic while saving you thousands of dollars. Antilock disc brakes, mitigated brake assist, electronic stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front seat side impact airbags, and side curtain airbags. Powered by a 1.6-liter direct injected four-cylinder that manufactures 138hp, the Accent is the most powerful of these economically priced hatchbacks.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.