EEmploying all kinds of new technology, materials, designs and testing, small cars are now safer, more fuel efficient, more versatile and more fun than ever before. And with fuel prices getting higher all the time, filling up a big SUV or sedan is becoming a very tough pill to swallow.

It's easy to see why smaller vehicles are rising in popularity and why automakers are spending more time on them, making their offerings feel premium and sporty all while having a low cost of ownership.

We're taking a look at what we think are the best small cars on the market right now. These are all great packages that can be had often for less than $20,000. Click through and see what we like right now.

9. Scion iQ

9. Scion iQ

MSRP: $15,495
Invoice: $14,720
Fuel Economy: 36 mpg city, 37 mpg highway

The Scion iQ is a more stylish and, frankly, better alternative to the smart fortwo. This car is especially adept at city driving, as it can zip through traffic and make parking a breeze. The only problem is that, even though Scion says you can do it, there's no way this is a 4-person vehicle.

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8. Fiat 500

8. Fiat 500

MSRP: $16,000 - $22,000
Invoice: $15,565 - $21,145
Fuel Economy: 31 mpg city, 40 mpg highway

The Italian-designed Fiat 500 is one of the more stylish small cars available right now, both inside and out. It also gets great fuel economy and is surprisingly roomy. Make sure to check out the 500 Abarth, which is Fiat's performance line, as it is an absolute riot to drive.

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7. Hyundai Veloster

7. Hyundai Veloster

MSRP: $17,600 - $22,100
Invoice: $16,983 - $21,038
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg city, 37 mpg highway

The Hyundai Veloster is an interesting vehicle, namely because of its strange look and name and the fact that it comes with three doors -- 1 on the driver's side and 2 on the passenger. This is a great car to drive and it comes with tons of standard features. If you're feeling sporty, you should check out the Veloster Turbo which adds some more horsepower to the equation.

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6. Mazda2

6. Mazda2

MSRP: $14,720 - $16,210
Invoice: $14,525 - $15,995
Fuel Economy: 29 mpg city, 35 mpg highway

A car with just 100 horsepower has no business being this fun. Somehow, the Mazda2 is one of the most engaging small cars on the road in spite of its very low horsepower and torque numbers. Its lightweight body and great handling make for a very entertaining ride.

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5. Volkswagen Golf

5. Volkswagen Golf

MSRP: $18,095 - $25,200
Invoice: $17,371 - $24,192
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg city, 33 mpg highway

Unfortunately, we Americans still have to wait a while for the redesigned VW Golf to come to our shores. The current generation is still a great car, though. We highly recommend going diesel with this hatch, given the great fuel economy (30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway) and quick acceleration.

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4. Ford Fiesta

4. Ford Fiesta

MSRP: $14,000 - $21,400
Invoice: $13,475 - $20,598
Fuel Economy: 29 mpg city, 39 mpg highway

Redesigned for the 2014 model year, the Ford Fiesta echoes the great new design of the Ford Fusion. We really enjoy the Fiesta for its fuel economy, driving dynamics and interior features. If you're feeling fiesty, try the Fiesta ST, which uses a great little turbocharged 1.6L engine.

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3. MINI Cooper

3. MINI Cooper

MSRP: $19,500 - $24,950
Invoice: $17,550 - $22,455
Fuel Economy: 29 mpg city, 37 mpg highway

With great exterior styling and awesome driving dynamics, the MINI Cooper is a favorite of many auto enthusiasts. It also comes with a premium interior and great fuel economy. All in all, it's a fantastic package.

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2. Chevrolet Sonic

2. Chevrolet Sonic

MSRP: $14,185 - $21,470
Invoice: $13,830 - $20,396
Fuel Economy: 26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway

Chevrolet did a great job with the Sonic in making it a much more premium car than you would expect given its price. Inside, the Sonic has great tech features, lots of room and is remarkably quiet. We recommend the RS trim, which is especially good.

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1. Honda Fit

1. Honda Fit

MSRP: $15,425 - $17,160
Invoice: $15,023 - $16,704
Fuel Economy: 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway

The Honda Fit is a favorite vehicle of car shoppers and critics alike. Although it's small, the interior is remarkably roomy and the cargo space gives it a surprising amount of versatility. A family of four can easily be comfortable in the Fit.

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