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.