(no particular order)
1) 2011 Ford Fiesta:
cool new look, loaded with ford features, europe loved it, great reviews, 32mpg, starting at $14k, under a badge that’s going places.
2) 2010 Honda Civic- the cars have amazing reliability, great styling, and with the 2012 next gen civic coming out, you can probably deal on these. Up to 40mpg on the highway, starting at $16k, I prefer the coupe look.
3) 2010 Kia Forte- sexy car, 28mpg highway, starting at $14k, reliability is a bit questionable, but KIA has some good vehicles coming out of the factories now.
4) 2010 Nissan Sentra- not a bad looking car, performance isn’t great, but up to 29mpg freeway, starting at $16k, great consumer reviews
5) 2010 Suzuki Kizashi- mean little car, looks great, awesome power for the size, 24mpg, not the best car company, but they do have great engineers, starting at $19k
6) 2010 Toyota Corolla- everyone owns one…there has to be a reason why, it’s a great little car, the S model looks cool and has a liitle better power, up to 30mpg highway, will hold value, starts at $16k
7) 2010 Subaru Impreza- Subaru has the formula down, it knows the 2L engine very well, car looks decent, 22mpg, starting at $17,5
8) 2010 VW Jetta- yes it is a girl’s car, but it is a german engineered machine as well, great passenger and cargo room, looks very attractive, up to 32mpg, a cut above the rest at $18k
My picks: Honda Civic, KIA forte, or Suzuki Kizashi