• 1 2012 Fiat 500

    2012 Fiat 500


    27 City / 34 Hwy

    You can accuse the Italians of many things, but you can never say they lack style. The newly reinvented Fiat 500 (in Italian, Cinquecento) is a chic urban runabout that rivals the Mini in pure style.

    It's also everything the Honda Odyssey is not. The hip diminutive 500 can zip into tight spaces and turn heads without even trying. With myriad paint finishes (including yellow, orange and two reds), interior colors, accessories and exterior graphics, it can be a ball just to build online.

    The 500 is irresistibly cute with retro-adorable styling, and it's surprisingly affordable. The base trim level, the Pop (even the name is cute), starts at $15,500. And the soon-to-be-launched Cabrio convertible is especially cool with a power-retractable cloth top.

    Sure, you could fit a couple of kids in the back, so long as they remained the size of a grocery bag or, say, a Yorkshire terrier.

  • 2 2011 Audi A5

    2011 Audi A5


    21 City / 31 Hwy

    This is the "I'm-a-high-powered-executive" daydream car. Imagine it: every morning you slide into your cockpit, fold your fingers around the hand-stitched, leather-wrapped steering wheel and turn up the volume. Way up. Not even rush-hour traffic can stop this feeling.

    The Audi A5 is the complete package: sexy, refined, sporty, high-tech and oh-so-fun to drive. It offers all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a luxury car, plus Audi's all-wheel drive system means you can expect quick handling ? for those times when you really want to step on it.

    The back seat of this coupe is actually roomy enough for a kid, but who'd want one in this car? No sticky fingers or sippy cups allowed, please.

  • 3 2011 Jeep Wrangler

    2011 Jeep Wrangler


    15 City / 19 Hwy

    There's just something ruggedly romantic about the Jeep Wrangler. It's an American icon.

    This off-road convertible fulfills the escapist and the adventure seeker lurking inside and begs to be driven to places you've never gone before in a vehicle. The ever unique, always classic open-air design of the Wrangler has a way of making you feel like you're always in the great outdoors.

    Jeep puts the word "utility" in sport-utility vehicle with cool features like removable doors, a fold-down windshield, removable top and replacement half-doors. That's when reality hits: this vehicle is not suitable for kids.

    Getting little ones in and out of this car is not easy. Hauling groceries or luggage is not easy. And how would you prevent all the kid crap that accumulates in your car from being stolen on top-down days? Oh well, a mom can dream?

  • 4 2011 Volkswagen GTI

    2011 Volkswagen GTI


    21 City / 31 Hwy

    Sometimes moms have the need for speed, too. This little pocket rocket fits the bill perfectly. It may not be as glamorous as a Lamborghini or as fast as a Porsche, but it sure does offer the perfect mix of attitude, refinement and drivability, making it an absolute blast to drive.

    The original high-performance hatchback (or "hot hatch," as they say), the sporty GTI offers interior sophistication, impressive power and confident handling without all the bravado of a traditional sports car. The hatchback design is also more practical and fuel efficient, making it a great daily driver and weekend warrior in one.

    It's not exactly the ideal double-stroller hauling kind of family car, but it's almost perfect in every other way.

  • 5 2011 Mini Cooper Convertible

    2011 Mini Cooper Convertible


    28 City / 35 Hwy

    What's more fun than a Mini Cooper? A Mini Cooper Convertible. With its zippy driving, stylized design and retro looks, the Mini Cooper is the kind of car that keeps a smile on your face. Add to that a ragtop and the resulting wind in your hair, and you?ve got just about the most fun available on four wheels.

    With the convertible, utility goes out the window ? or top, shall we say. There's little space for cargo, let alone back-seat passengers. And with a starting price of $25,500, it's an awfully small car for the money. But none of that matters in a fantasy. The Mini Cooper suits its purpose as a cruising convertible ? just right for a party of one.

author photo

Patricia Palermo is a freelance web content writer with more than ten years experience. She has written marketing copy and informational articles for a variety of industries and has been covering the automotive world for AutoTrader.com since 2003.


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