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.