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Wanted: Gas mileage AND all the goodies

With gas prices going through the roof, vehicles that combine high mileage with low price and loads of utility are selling like crazy.

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Small cars a hot item
Small cars a hot item
Sales have jumped for the Hyundai Accent and its near-twin, the Kia Rio.
If you compare the first four months of car sales this year with the first four months of sales last year, two things are immediately obvious.

First - they stink. Overall sales dropped 7.6 percent year over year, according to data from industry-tracker Power Information Network.

Second - it helps a lot if you make really little cars. Sales of the smallest compact cars - vehicles like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris - are up 37 percent, according to PIN, for the biggest increase of any industry segment. Sales of slightly larger compact cars, like the Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla, are up too, as are sales of compact crossover SUVs, a market segment that's seen a rush of new entries.

If you exclude high-priced or luxury vehicles, which cost a lot and have low sales volume, the evidence shows what most Americans are looking for now - and that's just about everything: low price, excellent fuel economy and loads of utility.

Using data from PIN, we pulled out a sampling of some of the sales winners with the biggest jumps.


NEXT: Kia Rondo
Last updated May 27 2008: 5:58 PM ET