Small, frugal and fun – these are the attributes of the Best Cheap Coupe. Expect to pay more the higher you go in size, powertrain and amenities. But for inexpensive, and more than just basic two-door transportation, check out these candidates for Best Cheap Coupe. They’re all on various lists for best affordable coupes, top 10 coupes, or just best coupes, period. Take a look.

  • Volkswagen New BeetleEdmunds says the Volkswagen New Beetle offers “cute yet classic styling, lengthy standard equipment list,” but hits the compact on “aged design, so-so power, lack of rear-seat space and cargo room, subpar side-impact crash test results.” MSN says “there’s nothing on the road quite like it, and it will always look distinctive because no automaker will ever copy its body shape.” U.S. News and World Report adds, “If you like standing out from the crowd and have a soft spot for retro styling, you’ll appreciate the fun driving dynamics and playful appearance of the Volkswagen New Beetle.” Automobile remarks it’s “a fine blend of modern attributes and nostalgia.”
  • Scion tCAOL highlights the Scion tC on its “Most Affordable Coupes” list, saying it’s a “well-equipped yet affordable coupe that benefits from Toyota’s attention to quality, durability and reliability.” U.S. News and World Report hails the tC’s “sporty appeal – both in performance and design – but all for an affordable price.” Pros include “modern design great for customization, lots of quality standard features, great price,” say the U.S. News editors, who knock tC’s four-cylinder engine power. CNET opines “one of the best values we’ve seen…tC offers strong audio options and decent performance, but leg- and headroom are limited for taller people.”
  • Chevrolet CobaltU.S. News and World Report says Chevrolet Cobalt, available as 2-door coupe or 4-door sedan, “is surprisingly fun to drive for an inexpensive car.” AOL lists the Chevrolet Cobalt as one of its “Most Affordable Coupes.” Cobalt will be replaced for 2011 by the Chevrolet Cruze, but good deals are available on current and previous Cobalts. New Car Test Drive comments “Cobalt will satisfy the needs of drivers looking for economy of price, economy of operation, and a nice, quiet ride.” Pros include handling, fuel economy and variety of entertainment options. Cons include dated design and uncomfortable front/rear seats.

Other contenders for Best Cheap Coupe include Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Focus, Honda Accord, Civic and CR-X, Hyundai Tiburon, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Nissan Altima and Pontiac G6.

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