Compact Car Buyer's Guide
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. It's hard to make a smarter car purchase than to go with an efficient, affordable small car.
Explore all 11 of your options right here -- listed in order of popularity according to recent sales data -- and keep reading below to see what's new, what's next, and to find out who's winning all the awards.
This Year's Redesigned Compact Cars
All Compact Cars, by Popularity
The Hyundai Elantra and Subaru Impreza have been totally redesigned for 2017. Also new for 2017 are hatchback versions of the Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze, both of which participated in our recent hatchback comparison test. A new Elantra GT hatchback will join Hyundai's compact car lineup for 2018.
For our most recent compact car comparison test we gathered the freshly redesigned Subaru Impreza hatchback, the new Chevy Cruze and Honda Civic hatchbacks, and the always enjoyable Mazda3 hatchback.
The Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer are the only cars in this group to offer all-wheel drive, while the Focus is offered as a (much pricier) all-electric car.
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 comparison, is closer to $25,000.
This Year's Winners
The Honda Civic isn't just a three-time winner of our Small Car Best Buy award -- its impressive redesign earned it this year's Overall Best Buy Award for the second year in a row. The Toyota Corolla is the category's most recent 5-Year Cost to Own Award winner, and the Subaru Impreza took home our most recent Best Resale Value Award in the compact car category.