Women tell us they prefer a car that’s agile, easy to park, with good visibility. They like to sit higher and rightly insist on plenty of storage space. High-tech gizmos are not as important as reasonable prices and low running costs. Space for growing families is essential in many cases and safety is a major factor.

The ten cars listed below meet these criteria but we’ve allowed for different tastes, lifestyles, and incomes.

1) Scion xA

The Toyota-built Scion xA is well-equipped, fun to drive, economic and incredibly practical, with lots of interior space packed into a small package. It’ss an ideal entry-level vehicle for the woman who’s buying her first new car, and it’s just as appealing for city-slickers — xA drivers can squeeze their car into almost any parking space. And Toyota quality means it’ll last forever. Tip: The automatic is zippy in town but the stick-shift is a better choice for highway driving.

2) Mazda 3

Mazda’s new compact brings with it a combination of style, space, and driving pleasure not often found in this class. The 4-door costs less initially but we recommend the 5-door for all-round practicality, not to mention a little elbow room for a growing family.

3) Mazda Miata

The Miata is a great set of wheels for a woman who doesn’t have a family, and an excellent second car for one who does. Few cars deliver the Miata’s combination of fun in the sun and raw driving thrills. Though trunk room is tight, the Miata offers just enough room for a romantic weekend getaway for two. If you like to go fast, the Mazdaspeed edition is an outstanding performance value.

4) Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen’s compact sedan offers up enough individuality for an independant woman, enough cachet for the up-and-coming executive, and enough room for a growing family. Though not the least expensive car in this segment, the Jetta offers four-star accomodations in a three-star world. Drivers wanted, indeed.

More here.