It used to be, if you wanted the affordability and decent gas milage of a small sedan you had to give up styling and sportiness. And that usually meant rolling around town in an "econo-box."
Today, car makers are pushing smaller 4-doors off the line that not only deliver a hybrid-like 38-40+ mpg highway without using hybrid technologies, but are actually fun to drive. With looks and style that won't make you feel like you need to wear a disguise when you're behind the wheel.
Two of the more popular gas-sipping 4-doors are the Mazda3 SkyActiv and the Chevy Cruze Eco, and we test drove them for a week to see how they performed. Here's what we found:
Neither of these sedans looks boxy or cheap or "eco," or has the unfortunate contortions given to some hybrids.
Chevy has stepped up their styling in recent years, deciding that the more muscled products - the Camaros and Corvettes - shouldn't be the only ones to have some eyeball on the street. I've been a fairly outspoken opponent on domestic styling over the years, and have loudly voiced my opinion to the designers at GM and the other two of the Big Three. The Cruze is a step closer. A small step, but a good step.