Which compact car is right for you?

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Which compact car is right for you?

January 17, 2024

In the world of compact cars there are tons of things to consider, gas mileage, safety features, performance, speed, and obviously price. Here are some top rated picks to consider from $17k-$21k

2019 Mazda 3

MSRP: $21,000

Transmission: Automatic

Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive 2.5 L/152

MPG: 26 City / 35 Hwy

Engine: Regular Unleaded I-4 2.5 L/152

Few cars at any price point successfully combine style, dynamics, and value, let alone a compact car. The Mazda 3 does, and it does so beautifully. Buyers can choose between a sedan and a hatchback, and a slick six-speed manual transmission and a smooth 155-hp 2.0-liter four are standard. A six-speed automatic is optional, as is a 184-hp 2.5-liter engine. The steering is responsive, and the handling is excellent. If you thought Mazda couldn’t improve on the 3’s good looks and upscale interior, prepare for the upcoming fourth-generation model, which will go on sale for the 2019 model year with sexier looks, a more luxurious cabin, and an intriguing new engine technology.

2019 Hyundai Elantra:
MSRP: From $17,100
MPG: Up to 32 city / 40 highway
Fuel tank capacity: 14 gal
Dimensions: 182″ L x 71″ W x 57″ H
Horsepower: 128 to 201 hp

By now it has become nearly expected that each new generation of Hyundai products is better than the last. The Elantra sedan is no exception, with the newest model offering the best value yet. Stylish inside and out (more so for 2019, thanks to a snappy refresh), the roomy Elantra can be loaded with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated seats, a full complement of active-safety features, and more.

2019 Kia Forte:
MSRP: From $17,790
MPG: Up to 31 city / 41 highway
Fuel tank capacity: 14 gal
Horsepower: 147 hp
Dimensions: 183″ L x 71″ W x 57″ H

With snappy good looks and an impressive list of standard and available features, Kia’s sedan offer great value and few compromises. 

2019 Volkswagen Golf

MSRP: From $21,845

Horsepower: 147 hp

MPG: 29 city / 37 highway

Dimensions: 168″ L x 71″ W x 58″ H

Curb weight: 2,963 to 3,023 lbs

All-wheel drive is standard on the Alltrack and optional on the Sportwagen, and every Golf is turbocharged. Common among all Golfs are an upscale interior with Audi-like materials, excellent driving manners, and a usefully large cargo hold. 

2019 Subaru Impreza

MPG: Up to 28 city / 38 highway

MSRP: From $18,595

Engine: 2.0 L 4-cylinder

Horsepower: 152 hp

Dimensions: 176-182″ L x 70″ W x 57-59″ H

Standard all-wheel drive sets them apart in the compact segment, as does their available EyeSight camera-based active-safety features that include adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking.

2019 Honda Civic

MSRP: From $19,450

MPG: Up to 32 city / 42 highway

Horsepower: 158 to 180 hp

Curb weight: 2,762 to 3,010 lbs

Dimensions: 177-183″ L x 71″ W x 55-57″ H

No matter which Civic you choose, the steering is precise, the chassis feels solid, and the suspension delivers sharp handling without a punishing ride. Admittedly, from behind the wheel, each one satisfies.

Citations: Person. (2019, February 25). Every Compact Car Ranked from Worst to Best. Retrieved February 28, 2019, from https://www.caranddriver.com/features/g15379302/best-small-compact-cars/