They're compact, mostly cheap and often cute. Here are ten compact cars that inspired a following, long before smug Prius drivers took to the streets.
MINI Cooper After BMW bought the MINI brand in 2001, the car has grown in popularity in the U.S., partially due to its marketing efforts: During the production of first generation Mini, as a joke and undoubtedly as a part of Mini's viral marketing approach, purchasers of the Mini convertible were asked to sign a contract promising that they would drive the car with the roof open at least 90% of the time. Mini also set up a telephone hotline (in the USA: 1-888-DO NOT CLOSE) which one may call to report convertible owners who are driving with the roof up inappropriately. The automated system offers such helpful advice as how to administer a wedgie to the offender. Read Paul Knight's Prius feature: Wild Rides.
Chevrolet Vega A subcompact rolled out during the fuel crisis of the '70s, the Chevrolet Vega rivaled the puny Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin. It was a big seller back then, even though it's looked at as a relic today. Read Paul Knight's Prius feature: Wild Rides.