Today's compact cars might not be quite as roomy, quiet or comfortable as their midsize counterparts, but the fit, finish and features are increasingly comparable. And even if they'll always be smaller by definition, compact cars continue to get roomier, quieter and more comfortable, making them increasingly intriguing alternatives to many larger and pricier options. It's hard to make a smarter car purchase than to go with an efficient, affordable small car.
Explore all 12 of your options right here - listed in order of popularity according to full-year sales - and keep reading below to see what's new, what's next, and to find out who's winning all the awards.
Toyota's famously affordable, reliable compact sedan now has a few more tricks up its sleeve.
Honda's venerable compact car has been completely redesigned for 2016, and now it almost outclasses the class.
The sculpted Elantra adds a heavy dose of style to the familiar value equation.
It isn't the roomiest compact car you can buy, but it's definitely one of the quietest and most comfortable.
The Sentra's roomy, refined interior and smooth styling qualify it as one of the segment's grown-ups. Updates for 2016 only add to the appeal.
There are roomier and more affordable compact cars, but few are as sporty or as stylish as the European-rooted Focus.
The segment's only European entry manages to be both more fun and more refined than most other compact cars.
The fun and stylish Mazda3 has earned a spot on our list of 10 Coolest Cars Under , 000 for 12 years in a row.
Standard all-wheel drive remains the Impreza's key competitive advantage.
Sporty looks, a rich interior and one of our favorite infotainment systems.
It looks sportIer than it drives, but the Forte boasts European-like interior styling and offers loads of cool tech.
The oldest entry in the group, we still love that grille and the impressive warranty.
The 2016 model year brings us totally new versions of the Chevy Cruze and Hyundai Elantra, plus a new Honda Civic that already claimed our biggest award of the year, the Kelley Blue Book Overall Best Buy Award of 2016. The Nissan Sentra won't be all-new for 2016, but receives a number of enhancements.
The compact car segment is well-represented on our most recent lists of 10 Coolest Cars Under $18, 000, 10 Coolest Cars Under $25, 000 and 10 Best Sedans Under $25, 000.
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