Behind the Wheel Commuter Cars

This undated photo provided by General Motors shows the 2019 Chevrolet Spark. The Spark comes from General Motors' Korea division, and what works well for a megatropolis like Seoul also works for America's urban centers. (General Motors via AP)

Think you’ve got a long commute? You’re not alone. A Census Bureau survey found that 61 percent of us spend at least one hour driving to the office. What to do when you need a car that can rack up miles but not your debt ratio? Here are several of today’s lowest-priced cars that deliver good fuel economy and have features to ensure your sanity on long drives.

To get the best price, stick shifts are recommended, though they aren’t always the best choice for gridlocked commutes. Thankfully, all these cars offer an

automatic transmission.

Ford Fiesta

(Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $15,135)

The Ford Fiesta has a pint-size price but hardly feels cheap. Sporty with agile handling, high-quality interior materials and the intuitive Sync 3 infotainment propel the Fiesta to the top of our budget-friendly list. It returns 31 mpg. On the downside, passenger and cargo space are small, and that sharp handling comes at the expense of a smooth ride.

Kia Rio

(MSRP: $14,795)

Forget what you heard about the old Rio. Today’s Rio is a sophisticated small car without the inflated price. With 32 mpg the Rio returns solid fuel economy. And like the Fiesta, it has alert handling.

Chevrolet Spark

MSRP: $14,095)

America’s largest automaker also does small very well. The Spark comes from General Motors’ Korea division, and what works well for a megatropolis like Seoul also works for America’s urban centers. The Spark delivers 33 mpg and can squeeze into nearly any parking space.

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