The compact car is back and better than ever. First released in the U.S. in 1950, these vehicles with 100+ inch wheelbases now have all the technological advances, comforts, safety features, performance enhancements, and style of much larger and more expensive vehicles. The following are some compact cars that are making a splash.
1. Nissan Sentra
Two reasons many people choose compact cars are low price and great gas mileage. The Nissan Sentra offers both of these. It gets an average of almost 30 miles per gallon in the city and as many as 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Plus it costs under $20,000. Add a 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 130 horsepower, a 6-speed manual transmission, and seating for 5, and the Sentra compares quite nicely with other vehicles it its class. The Nissan Sentra also has available Bluetooth®, NissanConnect, steering-wheel-mounted controls, a USB port, intelligent cruise control, and lots of safety features.
2. Toyota Corolla
With excellent fuel economy, many technological enhancements, a stylish, comfortable interior, driver-inspired cockpit, Smart Key system, pushbutton start, 6-speed manual transmission, Engine Control Unit, 3.5 inch Multi-Information Display, Bluetooth®, navigation, backup camera, and great handling, the Toyota Corolla is not your average compact car. While it is a smaller vehicle, it is designed to improve your driving experience. With its eye-catching, aerodynamic design, enhanced traction, sport tuned rear suspension, available SofTex® seats, ECO driving mode, CVTi-S Valvematic technology, surprising roominess, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren)for added safety and Whiplash-Injury-Lessening seats, and advanced Star Safety System™, the Toyota Corolla offers great value for your money.
3. Scion FR-S
The Scion FR-S is a compact car that attracts attention. The exterior grabs your attention with it’s stylish, aerodynamic body, 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome-tipped dual exhaust, color-keyed power outside mirrors, and projector beam headlamps. Inside, the Scion impresses with its lots of technology, leather-trimmed tilting and telescoping steering wheel, comfortable seats with red stitching accents, sport pedals, and all types of amenities. Turn the key and it 200 horsepower engine roars to life and gets you 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg when you hit the highway. Add no-cost maintenance, a 5-star safety rating, outstanding features, and exhilarating performance, and you’ll understand why many say now is the right time to get an affordable Scion FR-S.
When it comes to quality, durability, affordability, handling, performance, and fun, it’s hard to beat the Mazda3. A 2.5 liter, 184 horsepower engine that gets up to 41 mpg helps as well. This is a beautiful car inside and out. Soul of Motion Mazda calls it. It combines Mazda’s revolutionary Skyactiv® technology, Radar Cruise Control, i-Activsense® safety features, incredible efficiency, and unmatched driving dynamics to produce pulse-quickening performance that’s both fun and functional. In any of its 4 trims, the award-winning Mazda3 is exhilarating.
5. Volkswagen Jetta
The first word that comes to mind when describing the Volkswagen Jetta is impressive. Its choice of four turbocharged gasoline or hybrid engines, plus German-engineered precision, performance, and style make this car great. Its affordable price makes it outstanding. Add the Jetta’s sport-tuned suspension, touchscreen technology, driver assistance systems like VW Car-Net® App-Connect, keyless access, push-button start, touchscreen navigation and sound system with color display, automatic dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, and folding 60/40 split rear seats to its impressive list of available and standard features and you’re ready to drive in safety, sophistication, and comfort.
6. Audi A3
Truth in engineering is Audi’s motto, and the Audi A3 exemplifies that motto. It’s 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission produce up to 30 city and 42 highway miles per gallon. This automobile delivers a sporty ride and all the safety features you need, and can drive up to 130 mph. While the standard features are great, the upgrades include leather sport semi-bucket seats, multi-function leather sport steering wheel, Bose premium sound system, the open sky system, 17” alloy wheels clad in performance tires, and a sport suspension. A 60/40 folding rear seat makes this car perfect for taking adventures alone or with the entire family, and the dual-zone climate control system helps keep everyone comfortable.
7. Ford Fiesta Hatchback
If you are looking for a compact car to take you from point A to point B economically, then the Ford Fiesta is a great choice. For less than $15,000 you can get this smooth handling vehicle with a 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that delivers up to 27 mpg in the city and 38 highway miles per gallon. The Fiesta is practical and comfortable, but it’s also handsomely styled and relatively well-equipped. Add the fuel economy package with its subtle aerodynamic tweaks and low-rolling-resistance tires, and this fun to drive compacts gets even better gas mileage.
8. Chevrolet Sonic
Affordability is what makes people like this well built and very efficient car. It’s powered by 1.8-liter inline-4 that gets 26 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg out on the highway. Although the Chevrolet Sonic is great for people on a budget, it’s has connective technology and many modern amenities that are standard. That includes Chevy’s MyLink and Bluetooth. The Sonic seats 4, is sporty and feels spacious and airy. The leather covered steering-wheel, seats, and shifter trim are a nice bonus. Options include a turbocharged engine and a smooth shifting six-speed manual transmission. The Chevy Sonic also has a 5 star NHTSA safety rating. It’s a fun, safe, and economical car.
9. Lexus IS 350 F
If you are looking for luxury in a compact car then you should consider the Lexus IS 350 F. Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, this aggressively-styled vehicle gets a respectable 19 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the interstate. The Lexus IS 350 F has a bold, distinctive, exterior with the Lexus’ trademark spindle grille, recessed headlights, A-pillar back, and down-swept, elongated tail lights. The luxurious interior has aluminum trim, leather seats and dashboard cover, TFT instrument cluster, distinctive styling, an incredible sound system, and all the connectivity modern drivers want. Add the latest safety technology and you’ll have a very luxurious compact car.
10. Acura ILX Hybrid
This front-wheel drive, 4-door, 5-passenger, hybrid sedan has a 1.5-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine plus an electric motor. Together they deliver 111 horsepower and an astounding 39 and 38 mpg in city and highway driving. Add a continuously variable transmission, paddle shifters, 4-wheel disc brakes including ABS, electronic traction and stability control, and a great suspension system and you have an impressive compact car. But Acura also offers navigation, a rearview camera, an ergonomic layout, ELS surround sound, heated leather seats, many airbags and other superior safety features, and a luxurious interior in its ILX Hybrid creating an attractive compact car that provides economy, safety and value.
11. BMW 228i
The BMW 228i continues the German automaker’s tradition of being the ultimate driving machine. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and delivering 22 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on highways, this amazing automobile goes from 0-60 in a breathtaking 4.4 seconds and is an IIHS top safety pick. This small BMW produces 320 horsepower and has an 8-speed sport automatic transmission. Its responsive handling, aggressively agile wide stance, and precisely tailored suspension are legendary. The 228i has the BMW Technology Package, iDrive system, 12-speaker Harman Kardon® Audio System, and a high-resolution screen. With an Intelligent Chassis, BMW Dynamic Stability and Traction Control for sports-style driving, award-winning Double-Vanos, Valvetronic and High Precision Direct Injection technologies, the 228i is an amazing automobile.
12. Hyundai Accent Hatchback
The Hyundai Accent is a well-priced, fuel-efficient automobile. Its 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine mated with a 6-speed manual transmission produces 138 horsepower and a class-leading combined 34 mpg. Its interior has over 47 cubic feet of storage space. This 5-door hatchback has good acceleration, lots of standard equipment, and efficient space utilization. The versatile Accent has traction and stability control, ABS brake force distribution on ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes, plus struts, coil springs, stabilizer bar, and gas-filled hydraulic shock absorbers which allow it to go almost anywhere. Its front, side, and rear roof, seat-mounted, side-impact, and side curtain airbags help make the journey safer.
13. Kia Forte EX
Kia may be a relatively new brand, but the Kia Forte has the dynamic good looks, excellent cabin and trunk space, and all the popular comforts, connectivity, and technological advancement drivers of all ages and backgrounds want. This includes Bluetooth, UVO telematics technology, and a rear-view camera. The front wheel drive Kia Forte has traction control, MacPherson struts front and Torsion beam rear suspension, and a host of safety features. Its inline 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter engine delivers 173 horsepower, and 22 mpg in city driving and 36 mpg on the highway. With its Sportmatic 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, the Forte handles beautifully and provides the kind of responsiveness and performance drivers love.
14. Nissan Versa Note Hatchback
The hatchback is making a comeback in the American market and Nissan has a great entry in the competition with the Nissan Versa Note hatchback. This vehicle is surprisingly spacious, stylish, offers adequate seating for 5 people, is affordable, and offers great value for the price. Its direct injected 1.6 liter inline-4 engine offers 109 horsepower and gets an incredible average of 35 mpg in the city and on the highway. The split rear seats of this front-wheel drive vehicle folds down and slides out of the way so you can pack in your gear. This adds to the convenience and versatility that are the strengths of the Versa Note. Plus it has enough safety features, necessary comforts and technology to make people looking for form and function in an affordable vehicle very happy while they zip in and out of inner-city traffic and tight parking spaces.
15. Chevrolet Cruze
If you are ready to take a joy-ride, then try out the Chevy Cruze. Not only is it fun to drive, it has everything you need at a price you can afford. That includes innovative design, the latest technology, surprising performance, and adequate safety features to make your joy-ride a safe one. Plus this sporty vehicle will make your commute to and from work, school, or weekend adventures, lots of fun. The exterior features an aerodynamic design, projector-beam headlamps, and expressive LED taillamps that create a sleek and contemporary look. The lush, inviting interior offers available heated steering wheel, leather-appointed heated seat throughout, and a 60/40 split-folding rear seats. The center console and steering wheel switches put the easy-to-use controls of the Cruze right at your fingertips. But it all starts with the power, fuel-efficient standard 1.4L turbo engine and the Cruze’s superior handling and performance. For safety there’s rear cross traffic alert, rear vision camera, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, and a whole host of other advanced safety technologies.
16. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf is the compact vehicle that brought electric cars back in vogue. Designed and priced for everyday use, this fully electric car can go about 80 miles when fully charged. That’s enough for most people to get to school, work, or play and back home again. This revolutionary electric car can charge up in your garage with a 240-volt charger. An 80-kilowatt electric motor powers this five-seat compact hatchback. Fed by a battery pack with a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery, the Nissan Leaf can produce 107 horsepower along with 207 pound-feet of torque. It’s available in S, SV, and SL trim levels. Even the base S model features heated steering wheel and front and rear seats, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, keyless ignition/entry, iPod interface, and a rearview camera.
While the S model takes 8 hours to charge, the SV and SL are fully charged in 4 hours. They also offer aggressive regenerative braking. A navigation system, 7-inch display, Bose audio system, 360-degree parking camera system, and 17-inch alloy wheels are some of the standard and available features. With the SL, quick charge ports and leather upholstery are standard. The quick-charge port takes 30 minutes to give it an 80 percent charge at many high-voltage commercial charging stations. Driving the Leaf is relaxing and very quiet. However, it does accelerate quickly when you step on the peddle and it has an alert, energetic feel. It handles surprisingly well, features a futuristic-looking cabin design, and has a center touchscreen with displays for its navigational system, stereo, and electric system displays. Ready for an exciting new adventure? Then have to try out the innovative, environment-friendly new Nissan Leaf at a dealer near you.