Today's compact cars might not be quite as roomy, quiet or comfortable as their midsize counterparts, but the fit, finish and features are increasingly comparable. And even if they'll always be smaller by definition, compact cars continue to get roomier, quieter and more comfortable, making them increasingly intriguing alternatives to many larger and pricier options.
And when it comes to fun and efficiency, smaller is almost always better. Whichever direction you're leaning -- soft or sporty, showy or subtle -- there's a compact car designed with you in mind.
The Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Jetta were updated for 2015, making them the segment's freshest entries -- that is until the next-generation Honda Civic arrives for the 2016 model year. At the New York Auto Show, Honda showed a concept that strongly hints at what the 2016 Civic might look like. At the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, Toyota announced a Corolla Special Edition for 2016.
Most compact cars start under $18,000, but most buyers upgrade to an automatic transmission and other popular equipment, making the average price paid for a compact car right about $20,000. The average price paid for a midsize sedan, for reference, is closer to $25,000.
Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla?
The longest-running compact sedan nameplates are also the two best-selling compact cars in the country. Which is the better choice for you? Our Civic vs. Corolla comparison video might hold the answer.
The Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer are the only cars in this group to offer all-wheel drive, the Civic and Jetta are the only models offered with a hybrid powertrain, the Cruze and Jetta are the only ones offered with diesel engines, and the Focus is the only one offered as a much pricier all-electric car.
Resale Value Victor
The 2015 Subaru Impreza is our most recent Best Resale Value Award winner in the compact car category, followed by the 2015 Toyota Corolla and 2015 Scion xB.