10 cutest cars in America

You know them: They're the cars you want to drive and hug at the same time. Here's our list of vehicles that make you go, 'Awww.'

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They must be loveable
They must be loveable
The imminent launch of the Fiat 500 Cabrio got me thinking about the "cute car" phenomenon. Certain cars get labeled as cute from the time they are introduced and it remains with them for life. Their appeal may wear with age, but it never gets old. Being known as cute never hurts. Whereas the designation as a "chick car" can dent sales to men, cute cars appeal to both sexes and their appeal is nearly timeless.

Since I'm not talking about "Hello Kitty" here, what are the qualities of automotive cuteness? First is small size -- the smaller, the better. It is pretty hard to fall in love with a Ford Expedition. Rounded forms are important, too. They are warmer and less threatening than straight lines and hard edges.

Then come anthropomorphic qualities -- making the car look as human as possible. When we look at the front of a cute car, we see a human face. The headlights represent the eyes, the grille appears where the nose should be, and the air intake forms a mouth. It's best to have the ends of that air intake turned upward -- nobody wants to look at a frown. Few cute cars have all three qualities, but they all have to be small and have the potential to be lovable.Herewith, my list of the ten cutest cars:

NEXT: 1. Fiat 500
Last updated May 19 2011: 8:16 AM ET
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