Hybrid: 2006-'11 Toyota Prius
After testing the waters with the cramped first-generation Prius, Toyota pulled out all the stops with its second-generation hybrid, which debuted for 2004. That established the template for this iconic hybrid car. The Prius' snub-nosed hatchback design devotes most of the car's body length to passenger and cargo space. The result is a large cabin that provides midsize-sedan room within a compact footprint, making the Prius a snap to park in tight spaces.
The following generation, which debuted in 2010, continued the successful four-door hatchback formula, adding a more conventional center stack design and providing more comfort for taller owners via a height-adjustable driver seat and telescoping steering wheel adjustment. Of course, no matter what Prius you choose, it will get excellent fuel economy. Thankfully, that frugality doesn't come at the expense of respectable performance, as there is more than adequate power on tap for dealing with city traffic as well as passing and merging on the freeway.