According to a 2010 census, of the seven+ billion people on the planet Earth, about one-and-a-half billion of them own an automobile. This is a whole lot of wheels on the road, regardless of what country you reside in (excluding the poorest).
A large portion of these drivers don't see cars much more than tools to get them from Point A to Point B. And, as time has gone on, cars have become critical for daily life in most first-world countries. As a result, having a reliable commuter is paramount to succeeding in most's individual's goals.
Nowadays, there are a litany of options on the market for reliable and good-looking daily drivers. Some are produced here in the U.S. for a relatively affordable price, while others come from overseas for a pretty penny. Nonetheless, there's something out there for everyone.
10 Jeep Compass
The "Jeep" brand typically invokes images of a small Wrangler or even military-style vehicles. However, the Compass is actually a break away from Jeep's standard styling and goals.
The Compass doesn't look much like a Wrangler, rather a mix between a standard Jeep and a Cherokee S.U.V. This results in a sort of 'Crossover' type vehicle with a size smaller than a Cherokee and larger than a normal sedan.
Miraculously, the Compass also has a relatively good M.P.G. and some creature comforts not found in the average Jeep.
9 Mazda3 Sedan
Mazda has produced some beautiful cars throughout the many decades of their company. Including, but not limited to, the RX-7, RX-8, and the countless Miata/MX-5 body styles. Every time Mazda makes an innovation, they usually carry it over to a lot of their models and the Mazda 3 sedan is such a car.
After changing the front-end design for the new MX-5, Mazda put the sharp lines and aggressive looks onto the Mazda 3. Not only does it have a slightly 'sharp' look, but it's also comfy and reliable. Not to mention cheap as well, with the average M.S.R.P. being around $25,000.
8 Fiat 500
For those with a smaller family unit, a large S.U.V. or Crossover may not be the best decision in terms of size and miles per gallon. Instead, look towards smaller alternatives like the Fiat 500.
The Fiat 500 is the epitome of a small urban commuter. Designed for navigating in small Italian towns/villages, it has a low profile and competitive gas mileage. Along with all this, the Fiat 500 is aloft with European design features that make the driver feel as if they are perusing the streets of Rome.
7 Mini Cooper Countryman
Like the Fiat 500, the Mini Cooper Countryman is a smaller than average commuter car. However, unlike the 500, it is slightly larger than a normal Mini Cooper or Fiat. This is the prime reasoning behind the Countryman: a marginally larger version of an already small car.
Critics say that the Countryman lacks the looks and authenticity of a normal Mini Cooper, but this is by design. The Countryman was purpose-built to be a bigger Mini Cooper for individuals/groups who favored the design of Mini Cooper and it's size, but still wanted something for the whole family to use.
And thus, due to the market demand, the Countryman was born.
6 Volkswagen Golf GTI
For a great mix of a small daily driver and a quick track-ready vehicle, look no further than the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Golf has been hailed as one of the best 'hot hatches' since it's inception in 1974.
Although some criticize Volkswagen for being unreliable with the "check engine light" meme, the reality is that newer Volkswagens don't quite fall under this category. Now, they are well built, reliable, and affordable. Along with this, the Golf GTI looks angry and aggressive compared to other vehicles in its same price range.
5 Ford Mustang Ecoboost
The name "Mustang" doesn't really instill the thought of a good commuter car at first, however, with the creation of the new 4-Cylinder Ecoboost engine it can be exactly that.
The Ecoboost Mustang has an unprecedented M.P.G. for being a muscle car and, as a result, can be perfect for long rides. The Ecoboost is the perfect mix between a sharp sports car and a useful daily driver; all wrapped into one to fit the needs of more environmentally conscious consumers and accommodate for increasing gas prices.
4 Honda Accord
If great build quality and reliability are your prime concern when purchasing a new commuter, then Honda may be the best fit. Honda is known for many things throughout their time as an automotive manufacturer, especially reliability and a lack of breakdowns.
The new Accord is one such vehicle with the classic Honda mechanical quality that also fits a family of five. Although it's fuel mileage may be less than that of a Fiat 500 or SmartCar, it's still competitive for its class.
In recent years, Honda has also worked to redesign their vehicle's exterior into a slightly more futuristic look. The Accord was not forgotten in this department and, now, the Accord is sporting some very good looks (even though it's just an entry-level sedan).
3 BMW M340i
BMW often refer to themselves as "The ultimate driving machine," and for good reason. BMW not only has a long wrap sheet of race wins and beautiful artworks on wheels, but also affordable daily drivers for everyone.
The M340i is one such car that embodies the sporty feel of BMW with its luxury and European pedigree. The "M" in M340i stands for their M-tune, which essentially means it's a slightly faster and a higher-range vehicle. This increases the price, obviously, but it is well worth the difference.
Not much can come close to the excellence of German engineering, so (when given the chance) see if your budget will allow for something as cool and reliable as an M340i.
2 Tesla Model S/Model 3
As time goes on, technology changes and innovations redesign our perception of what's physically possible. Elon Musk's car company Tesla has been at the forefront of such innovations; creating some of the most technologically advanced electric cars on the market today.
Sedans like the Model S and Model 3 are some of the most reliable and long-lasting electric cars in existence (so far) with a total range of between 240 miles to 310 miles depending on the model. This not only saves money on fuel but also helps the environment, too.
The Model S is more expensive than the Model 3, however, both share close similarities. If a more budget electric car is the goal, then the Model 3 is just the solution. Before too long, the younger generation will be asking about companies like Tesla such as, "what was it like when they came out?" and "Why didn't you get one?" Don't be the odd one out.
1 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic is the physical personification of a great commuter car. It comes with just about every bell and whistle that most cars in the same price range would offer, except it cost even less than the competitors.
As mentioned previously, Honda are leaders in the reliability department, so the Civic will (without a doubt) last for years upon years. These cars are affordable and stylistic with different options for each and every type of driver. Whether you're concerned with simply getting to work or you want to take it to the track, the Civic has a model for that.
The Honda Civic Type R has even beaten some of the most expensive cars on the market at the Nürburgring for a fraction of the cost. Not to mention the jaw-dropping lines and figure of the Type R. It's truly awe-inspiring.