The Best Micro Cars In North America

By | September 11, 2012

North Americans have always ended up getting the short end of the stick when it comes to micro cars. Because such tiny cars can’t compete with big Detroit gas-guzzlers in terms of horsepower and top speed, most European and Japanese companies have not bothered to bring such cars to America, fearing they will fail to sell.

However, the occasional super mini appears at Canadian auto shows as a technology demonstration, and some of these itty bitty cars do make their way to North American streets, thanks to their excellent fuel mileage and low purchase price.

Smart Car (Crossblade)
Smart Car (Crossblade)

Produced by Daimler AG, these tiny vehicles are German in design but built in France, and are imported to every major city in North America in small batches. While only the Smart Fourtwo is available, it is nonetheless the “definitive” vehicle produced by Smart, thanks to its good fuel consumption, incredibly safe construction and excellent city handling abilities. Also available as an electric car, the Smart Fourtwo is the smallest car on sale in North America.

BMW MINI 2012

BMW Mini

For those who need more room, the BMW Mini remains the largest and roomiest microcar on the market, being smaller than all the other hatchbacks while larger than super minis like the Micro. Intended to be a successor to the original Mini, it offers the same vast, roomy interior and firm, go-kart like handling. This makes it an excellent fun car in addition to a practical city car, since the S version can tear up the track.

Fiat 500
Fiat 500
But by far the best small car available in North America is the Fiat 500. A breakaway hit among middle class city dwellers, it offers superb fuel mileage and economy in addition to a stylish Italian design. As much a fashion statement as it is a car, the Fiat 500 comes from the factory in a dizzying array of colors and styles, with many personalized options for the interior and exterior.

Additionally, the Abarth version (below) has a powerful turbocharged engine that enables the little Fiat to run and drive like a sports car – while still remaining small and fuel efficient.

Fiat 500 Abarth


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