2013 Mini Cooper
Admit it, you weren't exactly all over the Hyundai Excel or Accent. You wouldn't consider buying a Geo Metro for any reason other than its obscene 40+ miles per gallon fuel efficiency.
The only reason American car buyers would even consider a Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Fiat 500 or Honda Fit today is because the Mini Cooper showed them the big features an automaker could squeeze into a small car. Forget the combined 32 miles per gallon: Its deceptively little 121 horsepower engine, wide-stance stability control and sports-car gauges suddenly made large swaths of urban America into extras from The Italian Job. When there's some muscle under the hood and plenty of features in the cabin, U.S. buyers don't care how "mini" the car is.