The term “compact cars” applies to a pretty vast line-up of modern-day vehicles, from small-sized sedans, like the Toyota Corolla, to something really tiny and cute, like the Mini Cooper. And, despite the popular belief, small doesn’t mean weak, poor, or bad. It just means compact, and to a lot of customers that’s the major selling point. Back in the day we used to call the market of compact cars the “Womanizer” and joke that it’s staying relevant only thanks to the ladies. And while that is still true to a certain extent, today we’ve got more and more families and even single men opting for a tiny vehicle. Why? Well, they’ve got a lot of perks, and, if you read through my post, you will learn all about them and maybe even fall in love with one 🙂 You’ve been warned!
Small Is The New Big?
To be honest, I never used to like the compacts, because let’s face it: the United States are all about big, not small. Who invented the Big Mac? Us. Who loves big muscles and big chains? Our nation. And finally, what country do they call the land of big dreams and big success? America! Yep, no surprise there 🙂 However, I’m happy to say that these last couple of years (2010+) the segment of compact cars has skyrocketed to the elite league thanks to the economical collapse in 2009 and our strong desire to still look cool on the streets while paying less for the car. Obviously, we can’t discuss every single model out there, so, today we’ll talk about the coolest compact cars that made the most impact on the market and offer the best value for your money. Ready to go small for once?
Toyota Corolla 2016 – The Queen Of Compact Sedans
Everybody knows Corolla – it’s the world-famous model that Toyota sold over 40 million units of. That car that represents the segment’s rise to power. In a lot of ways, the 2016 Toyota Corolla is still the same charming tiny sedan that took the market by storm all those years ago. However, it’s a modern-day car with all the contemporary techy features and equipment. If among your top priorities stand reliability, safety and good resale value, then your idea of a perfect investment would be the latest Corolla. Believe me, even 10 years later you’ll be able to resale it for quite a handsome sum.
On the road the Toyota queen feels great, with a refined ride, decent handling, a noise-free interior and the coziest (and largest) seats in the whole segment. In addition, the interior offers tons of leg-/head-room and high material quality. Plus, as far as tiny vehicle go, it looks really awesome, making it to the top of the list of the coolest compact cars. The starting price on the Toyota Corolla 2016 is 18K; if you add 2 grand, you’ll get the LE Eco trim with an automatic transmission and impressive fuel-efficiency: 42 miles per gallon on the highway and 30MPG in the city (35 combined). The biggest rivals include Ford’s Focus (feels great on the road, almost like a sports car) and Mazda’s Mazda 3 (almost identical to Corolla, with similar efficiency and pricing).
Toyota Prius C 2016 – The Most Fuel-Efficient Compact Cars
When it comes to fuel-efficiency, the legendary Prius is the king. After all, Toyota was the first company to take the hybrid technology from zero to 100. Prius C, in turn, is the most economical edition. You’ve got the standard model, the V model – the largest and most spacious of them all – and the highly efficient tiny Prius C. This is an entry-level compact car that makes little sacrifices in comfort and performance in order to provide exceptional efficiency and affordability. And for those customers who are shopping for something that’s low-budget, easy to park, nimble, practical and economical, this model is the #1 competitor.
Right now you can get the Toyota Prius C 2016 for just 19,5K, with the highest trim – 4 – costing as little as 25K. Yes, you won’t get the same level of comfort as, say, with the aforementioned Corolla, but you will get 46 miles per gallon on the highway and 53MPG in the city (50MPG combined). As always in life, it all comes down to your personal tastes and needs. And whether you decide in favor of the Prius C or not, it’s still one of the coolest compact cars on the market. Competition used to be harsh for the Prius C, but, since Honda ceased production of the legendary Civic (the 2nd best-selling compact car in the US), it’s now up to the CR-Z to fight for the crown; however, it’s not nearly as great as the Prius C, so, I guess the king gets to keep his throne.
Toyota Yaris 2016 – The Most Affordable Compact Cars
Hands down, Toyota’s Yaris is the least expensive compact vehicle in the industry right now. I’m talking about walking talking models that proved their worth over the years, not some Indian concept that breaks down in two minutes 🙂 So, why pick the Yaris, besides the low price-tag? Well, simply because it’s well-built, economical and reliable – just how we like them. Until recently Toyota sold this model only in Europe, mainly due to its impressive efficiency and maneuverability in those tight corners and turns.
Today it’s available on the American market as well, and, with tons of technological features and a choice between a 2/4 doors hatchback and 3 trims, it stands its own in the rather crowded segment. With the entry-level L trim you’ll get air-conditioning, a 6-speaker sound-system, Bluetooth/iPod/USB connections, High-Def Radio, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and more. As for fuel-efficiency, you’ll get 37MPG hwy/30MPG city (33 combined). The competition includes Ford’s Fiesta that boasts a more refined ride, Honda’s Fit, which offers more cargo space, and Hyundai Accent that falls a bit behind the pack with not-so-impressive fuel-efficiency.
Chevrolet Cruze And Sonic 2016
Chevy’s Cruze is the 3rd most popular small car in the United States and is available in 6 (!) trim levels. The standard-level trim, LS, will cost you 18-19K and will offer above average interior comfort, material quality, tech savvy and spaciousness (15.0 cubic feet of cargo capacity). Fuel-efficiency is decent: you’ve got 46 miles per gallon on the highway and 22MPG in the city. The 2016 edition is not out yet, but the manufacturer promises an even roomier interior, cozier seats and more fuel economy. I’m really not sure where the company is going with the Cruze in terms of marketing and the whole “More Models Is Great” plan, but I sure do like how it looks and feels on the road.
The Chevrolet Sonic, on the other hand, costs almost as much as the Toyota Yaris (or, should I say, as little) and provides a comfortable ride, solid handling and all kinds of standard-level and optional equipment, including navigation, collision alert, a 7-inch screen, voice control, and so much more. If you go with the turbo version you’ll get 40MPG on the highway and 47.7 cubic feet of cargo space – that’s almost class-leading, folks. Overall, the Chevy Sonic appeals to a slightly different public than the Yaris, and that’s why I didn’t include it in the list of rivals. And to sum up, I gotta say that Chevrolet is looking pretty sleek for 2016 with two great models ready to once again make a statement in the overgrowing market of small cars. They might not be the coolest compact cars ever, but they certainly do try their best.
Mazda 2 And Mazda 3 2016
The Mazda 2 hatchback’s sharp design and sexy grille make it one of the coolest compact cars on the market. The awesome looks, however, are not the only great thing about this beauty: it’s pretty cheap (about 14-15K) and offers impressive fuel-efficiency, along with superb handling (probably the best among the compacts) and amazing interior quality (for a small car, of course). The 2016 edition is more spacious and comes with all the latest techy developments. It’s comfy, fun to drive, catchy, smart and reliable. What else do you need from a modern-day compact car? As far as the segment leaders go, the Mazda 2 is definitely one of the best in terms of exterior design.
Mazda 3 is the elder brother (or sister) and comes with a steeper price-tag (17K and counting). But don’t let the jump in price scare ya, because the car is worth it. The powertrain puts out class-leading 155 Horsepower while still managing to return 36 miles per gallon combined. Another great thing about Mazda 3 is that even with the basic trim you’ll get a 6-speaker sound-system, a 7-inch touchscreen, voice control, High Def. Radio, USB/Bluetooth connections, and more. Cargo capacity is a bit weak – only 12 cubic feet, but, if you like traveling light, this won’t even be a problem for you. Mazda is definitely set to score big in 2016 and both Mazda 2 and Mazda 3 are exceptional models. Bravo Japan!
Volkswagen Golf And Polo 2016 Compact Cars
Golf is a legend among compact cars and Germany’s pride and joy. One of the greatest charasteristics of this vehicle are versatility and flexibility. If you want, you can stick with the standard edition which is capable of 31MPG combined, or, you can pay additional 5 grand and switch to a turbo diesel engine with improved mileage of 37 combined. Furthermore, if you move up the trim ladder you’ll get xenon lights, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and more. The basic-level Golf will cost you 18K and offer class-leading 53 cubic feet of cargo room. Yep, it’s all-around amazing and a no-brainer for any time of the year.
Polo is one of the oldest models in this segment and has a perfect reputation for reliability, tech savvy and comfort. The cabin is great, the seats are perfect and the whole driving experience is quite amazing. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about this vehicle.
Ok, that’s about it for the coolest compact cars, folks! I tried to tell y’all about the best offers on the market in terms of quality, reliability, affordability and value. Models like the Mini Cooper, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Versa, Kia Forte Koup, Skoda Fabia, Peugeot 208 and Subaru Impreza are also worth mentioning, but they’re simply not as great as the ones we just talked about. As always, keep in touch, write comments, stay positive and stay frosty!
Check out this video: Top 10 best small cars – Carbuyer.