Fiat 500 is affordable and economical for city driving

Fiat 500 is affordable and economical for city drivingDrivers who are in the market for a new car, but are shopping on a budget, can consider the Fiat 500. The Italian subcompact car is affordable with a starting price around $15,500, which is nearly $5,000 less than the comparable Mini Cooper, U.S. News reports. The average price actually paid for the 500 was between $16,000 and $23,900, so this new car is not out of reach for drivers who want to buy a vehicle with a new car loan. Fiat even offers a convertible option, the 500c.

Though small in size, Popular Mechanics reports that the interior feels far roomier than the exterior would lead you to believe, and the writer of the article also mentioned that he is six feet tall and still felt comfortable in the subcompact.

"It's like an Apple computer – aesthetics and design can make something boring fun," Joel Karie, a Fiat driver from New York City, told The New York Observer. "It's not just how it looks but how it works. It's nice to know someone has put some real thought and care into the product, instead of just stamping it out on an assembly line."

Another advantage of the Fiat, and most subcompact cars, is the fuel economy. The 2012 model, with the standard five-speed manual transmission can get 38 miles per gallon on the highway and 30 in the city, according to the AutoBlog. While this may not be as impressive as other vehicles that can get over 40 mpg highway, such as the Ford Focus or the Chevy Cruze, it can still help you save money as the pump. The money you save can help you pay your auto loans back.

The Fiat 500 may be a great choice for city driving, but it may not be for everyone. If you want a new car with decent fuel economy, the new Ford Focus starts at $16,500. U.S. News also recently ranked it the fifth-best affordable small car. The Hyundai Elantra was the best car in this list, and for a starting price of just under $15,000, it is pretty appealing. The Elantra only gets 36 mpg on the highway, not far behind the Fiat and the Focus.

The Honda Fit ($15,100), Ford Fiesta ($13,300) and Kia Forte ($15,000) complete the top five and give drivers something to think about when they're deciding which car is right for them.