Diminutive. Tiny. Efficient. Whatever you call them, these are the smallest new cars you can buy.
Some of them, as you’ll no doubt note, are not cars at all. As manufacturers continue to abandon the old style and chase crossover sales, the latter have moved in to fill the gap. To wit: Nissan’s smallest car, the “sub-compact” Versa, is nearly three feet longer than the shortest new car on sale. It doesn’t even make the cut here.
To show off the diversity of the market, we’ve grouped related cars together. That’s resulted in a few surprises that we hadn’t realized. Where else are you going to see a Mitsubishi Mirage, Jeep Renegade, and Toyota GR86 all rubbing shoulders on the same list? Yeah, we thought so. We’ve also skipped over cars that are saying goodbye this year. So long, Ford EcoSport, Audi TT, and Mazda CX-3.
Presented in descending order of length, here are the smallest cars on sale today.
We kick things off with, er, the Kicks. Nissan’s little not-quite-a-crossover is its most compact offering, measuring just 169.6 inches (4,309 mm) from nose to tail. This practical vehicle comes with a 1.6-liter engine sending power to the front wheels by way of a continuously variable transmission. It’s also one of the cheapest new vehicles on the market, yet still comes with a solid suite of driver assists like automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring. Higher trims even include a speaker built into the driver’s headrest.
Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ
Yes, really: the Toyobaru twins are some of the shortest cars on sale, measuring an identical 167.9 inches (4,265 mm) front to back. The Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ both saw an upgrade for 2022, with new exterior styling and a more modern interior. More important is a switch to a bigger 2.4-liter flat-four engine, which spits out 228 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. You don’t need to remortgage the home to pick up one of these stylish coupes, either: prices start from $28,725 ($33,280 CAD) for the Toyota, including destination.
Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore
General Motors’ two pint-sized crossovers slide into the top half of this list. The Chevrolet Trax is the smaller of the two, measuring 167.6 inches (4,257 mm). The Encore adds 0.8 inches (19 mm) to that tally. Both come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and your choice of front or all-wheel drive. For around the same amount of cash, you can upgrade to their more spacious siblings, the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX. Both of those bigger models just missed the cut here.
Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X
Just because you want small, doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want an off-roader. Of the vehicles on this list, Jeep’s Renegade is easily the most capable when the tarmac runs out. Its tiny 166.6-inch (4,232-mm) length means it’s an agile off-roader, especially in pricey Trailhawk trim. Sticking to the road? There’s Fiat’s lone surviving model, the 500X, which shares its platform with the Jeep. It’s a scant 0.6 inches (15 mm) longer.
Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV
SEE ALSO: 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV Review
Chevrolet holds the crown with the smallest dedicated EV on the market—but not, as you’ll see later on this list, the tiniest electron-muncher overall. The Bolt EV has been with us for a few years now, with a facelift in 2022. The EUV—6.3 inches longer, slightly taller—is new for the same model year. It’s the same basic (pre-Ultium) EV platform underneath, but massaged for the market’s continued SUV craze. No matter which one you pick, you’ll find a spacious, airy cabin, and over 245 miles (394 km) of range.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Kia Soul Review
The only Kia to make this list is the brand’s funky Soul. The hamsters may be gone for this third-generation model—and Kia’s now taken to calling it a crossover, for marketing reasons—but this little helmet on wheels is still as practical and funky as ever. Inside you’ll find a standard 8.0-inch infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The base 2.0-liter engine is fine, but we’d recommend the turbocharged 1.6-liter for urgent progress. Canadians even have access to a Soul EV.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Venue Review
As above, the other mainstream Korean brand has but one entry on this list. We’re fans of Hyundai’s pint-sized Venue, which comes with surprisingly spacious interior and funky, denim-inspired interior trim. At just 159.1 inches (4,040 mm) from tip to tail, it’s one of only four models under the 160-inch mark. The Venue isn’t fast, with a 1.6-liter engine producing just 121 horsepower, but it’s good on gas, and one of the most affordable new cars on the market.
Sometimes, you just need a car to get you from A to B. That’s the Mitsubishi Mirage manifesto. This back-to-basics hatchback is small (151.4 inches / 3,845 mm), modestly-powered (1.2-liter three-cylinder, 78 hp), and cheap (around $15,000 to start, including destination, on either side of the border). Sure, you’re not going to find massaging seats or the latest in tech, but every trim above the base includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can at least use your phone for all your entertainment needs. The Mirage still includes plenty of modern safety tech too, so you can feel secure as it putters its way to your destination.
Mini 2 Door and 4 Door
The Mini hardtop range is kind of all over the place size-wise. At its tiniest, the 2-Door (3-Door in Bieberland) is 151.1 inches (3,837 mm) long, but it gains a couple dozen millimeters as you move up the trim lines. The Mini E is also slightly longer. Adding an extra set of doors makes the Mini seem much bigger, leading to a whole helping of “that’s not very mini” jokes that are so fresh. Even opting for a top-trim 4-Door makes it just a single millimeter longer than the Venue, however. Cars have all grown, so the Mini is off the hook to us. Besides, it’s a fun-to-drive hatchback, with lots of space up front and a good range of available technology.
The Chevrolet Spark is the most affordable new car you can buy, and that’s because you’re buying the least amount of new car. The Bow Tie baby is a full 8.0 inches shorter than the already-small Mini, so you’re looking at a 143.1-inch-long (3,635-mm) car. That shouldn’t be too hard to slot into the garage, right? For the low price of $14,595, the Spark still packs in a 1.4-liter engine with a raging 98 hp, a five-speed manual transmission, and 7.0-inch touchscreen with phone mirroring. You won’t find much in the way of driver assists, however—for that, you’ll need to much up the trim walk.
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