Those mid-1990's compact cars, long thought extinct, are returning to life. The boom in the market for cars like Toyota's Prius, Honda's Civic and anything small and fuel-efficient has created the new booming market for used compact cars.
It seems that the reputations of those cars as less than safe, which ultimately led (along with cheap gas) to their downfall and the rise of SUVs, is not as big an issue.
Cars.com, the shopping and research site, reports a big increase in searches on the site for economy cars built in the mid- to-late-'90s. Per the site, the Geo Metro and Geo Prizm have seen consumer searches rise by more than 200% versus last year.
Increased demand has also driven up prices for such cars that, say, six years ago could have been had for a grand. Geo Metros from the mid-'90s, which have a book value of around $1,300 are listed for sale on Cars.com for north of $4,000.
The firm says these earlier subcompact cars get good gas mileage precisely because they are small, lightweight and simple--which also means they aren't as safe.
"Comparable small cars from the past several years are designed to be safer, and the field as a whole is more reliable than it was 10 years ago," says the firm.