I looked at a-lot of cars while looking for a commuter vehicle. I chose the Hyundai Accent for its styling and hatchback capability. Even though some of the reviews I looked at stated the gas mileage was fair, I have not found that to be the case. On my first trip I received 42.5 miles per gallon and with the A/C on it dropped down to 40 mpg. Its the basic car- that is what i wanted. With the 6sp manual transmission the car was a lot of zip and the handling is not bad . The XM radio is a plus as well.
I have had this for about a 16 months and have about 50,000 miles on it already as I drive a lot for work (over 60 hr a month on average), and I still just LOVE this car I have affectionately named The Tiny Little Road Dawg. (yes I am a UGA Alumni that why I call it Dawg). For many months I tracked the MPG and you can view it a FEULY.COM under Road Dawg. Basically I get about 35 mpg real world (the car's tracker is always about 3mpg high), up to 40+ if only doing long road trips at 55-65mpg. If going faster, or doing city driving it drops off. But if you drive the speed limit or near, you will do very well.
We had a 2 door Accent in the mid-90's and even with a stick it only bested 27mpg. Things have come a long way. This car is waaaaay nicer and more advanced and gets better MPG without even trying. It is a perfect "inexpensive commuter car". The car is always comfortable and feels safe, even in bowels of Atlanta traffic as well as the country back-roads of deep-woods rural Georgia.
For someone who is looking for a versatile hatchback to get around in, I could not recommend this car enough.
It is the perfect combination of CHEAP and QUALITY and GOOD
Lastly, with the USB port plus my iPhone on top of dash via a magnetic clamp, I have my own GPS, music streaming and podcasting ... all the tech I would want in my car for short jaunts or looooong road trips.
Update: Nov 2016 - now at 85,000+ miles, still loving it! Mileage is still just as good, and NO issues. Still like runs and functions like new! Only issues with my car is a cracked windshield from a rock and a banged up front end from THREE different people backing into it. Highest possible recommendation.
there is nothing not to love about this car, and this is coming from a Honda buff. Love this car, made a great decicion by getting this car, i drive it everywhere and like it more then honda accord sport with same manual transmition, i take 3 kids to school (including car seat in rear) and they all fit confortably. If you still thinking about Hyundai beeing that car company from 80's you wrong, test drive them and you will see.
My 2013 Jetta was damaged in an accident, while being repaired the other party's insurance was kind enough to add insult to ingury by inflicting this car on me as a rental. This car accelerates at the speed of smell. Any and all road noise is heard and felt. The car rides like an unbalance washing machine. It didn't fit my dog comfortability let alone my small children. And to top it all off comes without a spare tire.