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 alphabetical order, and keep reading below to see what's new, what's next, and to find out who's winning all the awards.
Most Recent Redesigns
All Compact Cars
The Hyundai Elantra and Subaru Impreza were totally redesigned last year, and we met hatchback versions of the Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze. A new Elantra GT hatchback joins Hyundai's compact car lineup for 2018, and you can expect an all-new Volkswagen Jetta for 2019.
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 is a four-time winner of our Small Car Best Buy Award, and a two-time recipient of Overall Best Buy honors. 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.