Best Compact Cars of 2024 and 2025

compact

The Edmunds experts test compact contenders on our test track and in the real world. Our ratings assess performance, comfort, technology, utility, value and more. How we rank

Best Compact sedans

Thanks to their accessible pricing and fuel-efficient engines, small sedans are among the best-selling vehicles of all time. You can opt for value or splurge on all the bells and whistles.

1st
The Honda Civic boasts praiseworthy performance, high fuel economy, excellent passenger space and a refined design. There are a few minor drawbacks, such as elevated road noise on the highway, but overall the Civic is a great pick for a small sedan. Read full review

MSRP
$23,950 - $30,550
Combined MPG
31 - 36
2nd
Redesigned in 2019

Kia Forte

Edmunds Rating
7.9/10
About Kia Forte

The Forte is a grown-up small sedan that's a fantastic value for the money with above-average utility. Other highlights include a comfortable, quiet interior and an extensive list of available features. However, it lags well behind top competitors in driving dynamics, ride quality and rear legroom. Read full review


MSRP
$19,990 - $25,390
Combined MPG
26 - 34
3rd
Redesigned in 2021

Hyundai Elantra

Edmunds Rating
7.8/10
About Hyundai Elantra

The Elantra stands out with its high fuel economy, impressive technology and safety features, and roomy cabin. It's also comfortable and strong on value. The base engine is lackluster but otherwise this is a great pick for a small sedan. Read full review


MSRP
$21,625 - $28,465
Combined MPG
31 - 36

Best Hot hatches

Start with a sensible small hatchback, add significant power and handling upgrades, and throw in extra style for good measure. What's not to like?

1st
If you're looking for a little more comfort and sophistication than what the typical hot hatch offers, the Golf R could be your answer. Expensive at first glance, the R vindicates its price with well-rounded performance, practicality and mature styling. Read full review

MSRP
$45,665 - $46,465
Combined MPG
23 - 25
2nd
Redesigned in 2022

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Edmunds Rating
8.2/10
About Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Volkswagen GTI is simply fun to drive all the time, thanks to a stout engine and sharp handling. It's comfortable and offers plenty of cargo space too. It's a winning formula that's truly hard to top as far as hot hatches go. Read full review


MSRP
$31,965 - $40,825
Combined MPG
27
3rd
Introduced in 2023

Toyota GR Corolla Morizo

Edmunds Rating
8.0/10
About Toyota GR Corolla Morizo

Based on the modest Corolla Hatchback, this 300-horsepower, all-wheel-drive hot hatch takes its inspiration from rally cars and is loaded with personality. If you can get past the somewhat bargain-basement interior, the GR Corolla is a keeper. Read full review


MSRP
$35,900 - $49,900
Combined MPG
24

Best Compact wagons

Small wagons are small cars with big versatility. You can generally expect all-wheel drive and SUV-grade interior space in a more maneuverable wrapper.

Not enough vehicles yet to rank
The Audi A4 allroad has a lot of appeal thanks to an expansive cargo area, a comfortable ride, enhanced off-road capability and a wealth of standard features. The allroad is both an excellent luxury wagon and an enticing alternative to a crossover SUV. Read full review

MSRP
$46,900 - $55,800
Combined MPG
26
Redesigned in 2020

Volvo V60 Cross Country

Edmunds Rating
7.9/10
About Volvo V60 Cross Country

If Volvo's compact V60 wagon interests you but you need a bit more capability, check out the Volvo V60 Cross Country. It has more ground clearance and added body protection, while the V60's stylish interior and comfortable seats carry right over to this application. Read full review


MSRP
$48,800 - $54,100
Combined MPG
26

Best Compact crossovers

Small SUVs are popular thanks to virtues like reasonable pricing, excellent versatility and a just-right size. They've supplanted midsize sedans as the sensible choice for many families.

1st
The Mazda CX-50 is comfortable, spacious and well appointed, with an interior that looks and feels a cut above anything else in this class. It commands a bit of a premium, but if you're looking for a small utility vehicle, it doesn't get much better than this. Read full review

MSRP
$30,300 - $43,300
Combined MPG
25 - 27
2nd
Redesigned in 2023

Honda CR-V

Edmunds Rating
8.1/10
About Honda CR-V

There's a reason many consider the Honda CR-V the benchmark small SUV for families. Its latest version pulls off this feat yet again with a smooth ride, helpful tech features and excellent storage space. Still, competitors have improved significantly. The CR-V is a good choice but no longer the clear leader. Read full review


MSRP
$29,500 - $40,200
Combined MPG
29 - 40
3rd
Redesigned in 2017

Mazda CX-5

Edmunds Rating
8.1/10
About Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 has interior quality and driving dynamics to challenge some luxury vehicles. Cargo space behind the second row isn't class-leading, but the Mazda's strengths still make it a top pick. Read full review


MSRP
$29,300 - $40,600
Combined MPG
24 - 28

FAQ

What's the best compact car to buy?

Buyers in the market for a compact sedan have quite an array of choices, from basic transportation to mini-luxury cars. Out of all the available choices, we think the Honda Civic provides the best combination of economy, practicality and refinement at an affordable price point. The Civic is roomy and comfortable, and it comes well equipped with many modern conveniences and advanced driver aids. To further broaden its appeal, the Civic also comes in three body styles: coupe, sedan and hatchback. With so many choices, it can sometimes be difficult to choose a winner, but the outstanding Honda Civic makes our decision easy. Learn more

What is the best small car for 2019?

Small cars have come a long way in the last 10 years, and we think the 2019 Honda Civic is the best of the recent bunch. With good fuel efficiency and dynamite maneuverability, the Civic excels at what a small car should do. The Civic punches well above its weight with its spacious and comfortable interior packed with modern tech and clever storage options — and it costs much less than larger cars offering fewer standard features. The Civic is also a lot of fun to drive even if you don't choose the sporty Si or aggressive Type R trim level. We think it sets the benchmark for small cars. Learn more

What is the most reliable used compact car?

We don't track reliability data on Edmunds, but in general, we recommend looking into owners' forums to see what kind of issues they are experiencing. If you're buying from the prior owner, ask for maintenance records to see what repairs have been performed. Learn more

What is the best small used car to buy?

The best small car for you will depend on your needs, your budget and, of course, local inventory. If you need a bit more storage, we'd suggest looking at a hatchback such as the Honda Fit, Hyundai Elantra GT or Volkswagen Golf. The Honda Civic can also be had as a hatchback, but you might have more luck finding the sedan version, which should be cross-shopped alongside the Kia Forte, Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla. If you live in a place that gets a decent amount of inclement weather every year, keep your eyes peeled for something all-wheel drive such as a Subaru Impreza or its slightly higher-riding sibling, the Crosstrek. Learn more