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Don’t buy before learning what makes these 21 the best 2015 cars

Here are the best 2015 cars in seven key automotive segments. Overall excellence and value for the dollar are our guiding principles. The base-price range includes the manufacturers’ destination fee, which average around $800. Fuel-economy ratings are the EPA city/highway combined number. If you’re shopping for a crossover SUV, sports car, luxury car, or even the best “cheap” car, check out CarPreview.com for those lists, too.

Best City Car for 2015

2015 Chevrolet Spark / Base price range: $13,095-$17,360

City driving and parking are easier when you’re not surrounded by excess bulk. But the best city cars also have enough space inside to let you take along three friends. At just 12-feet stem to stern this four-door hatchback flits through urban congestion, maneuvers smartly in tight spaces, and parks in the stingiest slots. It’s five-feet tall, though, so you sit comfortably upright with plenty of headroom and, more important, ride high enough to not be intimidated by larger vehicles. And with available features that include heated leatherette front seats and Bluetooth, you won’t feel deprived of basic necessities. Standard on every Spark is GM’s fine OnStar assistance service, now with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to the Internet at 4G LTE speeds. The 84-horsepower engine suits around-town work, and your choice of a manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic both rate an easy-to-live-with 34 mpg combined. There’s 11.4 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, plenty for a Trader Joe’s run. Fold the seatbacks and it expands to 31.2 cubic feet, so you can haul that antique armoire. Spark takes bumps surprisingly well, but it’s too noisy and susceptible to strong crosswinds to qualify as a comfortable cross-country cruiser. Three levels of trim are available, each with 10 airbags.

Best of the rest city cars for 2015

2015 Fiat 500 / Base price range: $17,495-$27,245 Cheeky retro styling inside and out defines this cheerful two-door, which comes in hatchback and convertible form and is available in turbocharged Abarth trim.

2015 Scion iQ / Base price: $16,435 Only the phonebooth-sized Smart ForTwo is smaller, but this two-door hatch from Toyota’s youth division is more of a real car, with room for three adults, a 37-mpg combined rating, and an endearing bulldog personality.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]