Once-upon a time, grocery getters were limited to the soul-killing mini-van or wagon, but those days are long gone. If you have to move both people and goods from place to place now, there are plenty of rides out there that are as fun as they are functional. We’ve got seven hot models to prove what we mean. Just take a look at our top seven non-traditional grocery-getters.
Does it get any cooler than a MINI? Only if it happens to be the Clubman model. You see, MINI decided that while small is good, slightly larger is better. That’s why the company blessed the Clubman with a nifty side door for scooting kids or friends into the backseat, as well as unique barn-style doors out back to make loading and unloading goods in tight spaces a breeze. Plus, when this rig isn’t loaded down with the anchors of domesticity, it’s a blast to drive.
Engine and Drivetrain: 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 172 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque; six-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 28 city/36 highway
Don’t let this car’s wagon-esque exterior fool you. Subaru’s got a serious racing heritage behind every vehicle it sells, and many an Impreza has spent its days in sideways glory on the rally circuits of Europe. With a plenty-large cargo area out back and seating for most of the family, this little car has everything you need to dash to the store and back. Then there’s Subaru’s famous all-wheel drive system, which, along with a good set of snow tires, will get you and yours to grandma’s no matter what the weather is like.
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque; five-speed manual transmission; all-wheel drive
MPG: 20 city/27 highway
If you remember the Scion xB as that strangely boxy ride all the kids were talking about a few years ago, much has changed. The xB has grown in almost every way and in the process has managed to shed its awkward exterior for one with some pretty sharp lines. Inside there’s gobs of room for people and the seat position makes ingress and egress easy as can be. The xB is also loaded with standard features like power windows and locks as well as cruise control for an incredibly low MSRP. The xB isn’t just for high schoolers anymore.
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 158 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, 5-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 22 city/28 highway
Honda’s tiny Fit Sport is the epitome of that old cliché, big things come in small packages. Though the car’s wheelbase only covers 98.4 inches, Honda’s engineers packed the car with all sorts of clever ways to maneuver the front and rear seats to maximize interior cargo space. Consider the Fit the Swiss Army Knife of small cars – it may not be the best tool for every job out there, but with up to 57.2 cubic feet of cargo room, there’s at least one configuration guaranteed to get all your stuff where you’re going.
Engine and Drivetrain: 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 117 horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque; five-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 27 city/33 highway
A newcomer to the compact ute segment, the Kia Soul is happy to boast that it picked up all the quirkiness the xB left behind. We have to admit its one sharp ride. From the headlights dripping with cool David Bowie eyeliner to the reverse sloping roofline and high waist, the Soul’s got enough style to take care of the entire Kia lineup. Inside, buyers can choose from any number of sharp interiors and with the rear seats folded flat, there’s room for a full side of beef.
Engine and Drivetrain: 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine with 122 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque; five-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 26 city/31 highway
Nissan has finally brought it’s incredibly successful people mover, the Cube, to the United States. The car packs some seriously unique styling outside that isn’t for everyone, but the amount of interior room and low MSRP should be enough to win over even the most ardent opposition. There isn’t as much room behind the rear seats as in the Soul, which is the only reason we could think to put it behind its Korean competition. It’s still got more than enough space to hop to the store to pick up the essentials. Once the rear seats fold flat there’s more than enough space to haul whatever your heart desires.
Engine and Drivetrain: 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque; six-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 27 city/33 highway
At $19,340 for the four-door hatch, the Rabbit doesn’t represent the best deal on our list. Nonetheless, the car is built for surviving the perils of urban driving and parking lot battle. VW has graced the Rabbit with black rub guards designed to protect the front and rear bumpers as well as the side sheet metal from light impacts from shopping carts, doors or incompetent parallel parkers. You’re also treated to plenty of pep thanks to the Rabbit’s 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower. Not too shabby.
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque; five-speed manual transmission; front-wheel drive
MPG: 21 city/30 highway