Lightest Cars on Sale: Top 10
It’s a simple matter of physics. The lighter a vehicle is, the more agile and efficient it will be.
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This is not to say just because a car is light it will be quick and/or efficient – there are ways to easily overcome a vehicle’s mass. But reducing weight is the easiest way to improve a car’s performance in virtually every way. There’s also a certain thrill to driving small featherweight cars, even if they have all the power of a lawnmower and are riding on glorified bicycle tires. But our list of the top 10 lightest cars is much more substantial than that and covers quite a few vehicle segments. Read on to see the lightest of the light.
10. Kia Rio – 2,762 lbs.
Our list begins with Kia‘s smallest car, the Rio 5-Door. For the 2022 model year it is down to a singular trim, the Rio S. It comes fairly well equipped, which adds weight to the vehicle. That regulates it to the 10th sport on our list while other sub-compact hatches can be found much lower on the list. Still, at 2,762 pounds, it’s less than 100 pounds heavier than the 6th lightest vehicle, the Hyundai Accent sedan.
9. Hyundai Elantra – 2,725 lbs.
Next up is the surprisingly light Hyundai Elantra compact sedan. You are reading that correctly – the Elantra SE weighs 37 lbs. less than the subcompact Kia Rio. Easily the most spacious vehicle on our list, by keeping the weight down, the Elantra is rated to achieve fuel economy figures of 33 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. Not bad numbers for an affordable, non-hybrid car that can comfortable seat four, or even five in a pinch.
8. MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door – 2,711 lbs.
We feel like this a point that doesn’t need to be made anymore, but MINI cars are not quite as mini as they once were. The smallest vehicle the British brand manufacturers, the Cooper Hardtop 2-Door, just barely makes our top 10 list, sliding into the eighth slot. Still, it is one of the lighter cars on sale in North America and is arguably the second most fun car to drive on the list, only trailing the much more impractical Mazda MX-5 Miata.
7. Nissan Kicks – 2,686 lbs.
The Nissan Kicks is one of two subcompact crossovers to make this lightest cars list, but calling either of these entries proper crossovers is a bit of a stretch. Think of them more as high-riding subcompact hatchbacks. The Kicks is a replacement for the Versa Note and we do prefer it over that old, oddly shaped hatch. The Kicks can only be had with front wheel drive and the entry level S trim level weighs in at under 2,700 lbs.SEE ALSO: 2021 Nissan Kicks Review: Rebranding the Modern City Car
6. Hyundai Accent – 2,679 lbs.
Unlike the Kia Rio, the Hyundai Accent cannot be had as a hatchback. But the subcompact Hyundai sedan still under-weighs its corporate cousin by nearly 100 pounds. The entry level SE trim is quite affordable for a vehicle this size, starting at a price of $16,645 USD. It comes with all the basic necessities expected of a car today, like power windows, keyless entry, smartphone integration, and a reverse camera.
5. Hyundai Venue 2,612 lbs.
The reason the Accent is no longer available as a hatchback is due to the arrival of the Hyundai Venue. Using the same strategy that Nissan does with the Kicks, the Venue is a high riding subcompact hatchback masquerading as a crossover. The entry level SE trim weighs a bit over 2,600 lbs., undercutting the Kicks’ weight by nearly 75 pounds. Although it is more expensive than the Accent, it does come better equipped with features like alloy wheels, an 8-inch touchscreen, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as standard equipment.
4. Nissan Versa – 2,599 lbs.
Nissan’s subcompact sedan is actually lighter than the brand’s subcompact pseudo crossover. The Versa just slides under the 2,600 lbs. mark when equipped with a five-speed manual transmission on the entry level S trim. It’s an impressive feat considering the Versa comes standard with a host of safety equipment, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and rear automatic braking.
3. Mazda MX-5 Miata – 2,341 lbs.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is lightweight for different reasons than most other vehicles on this list. It maximizes weight savings in the name of performance. By keeping those pounds in check, the MX-5 can maximize the performance out of its 181 hp engine and smile-inducing rear-wheel drive chassis. Mazda officially lists any trim of the soft-top convertible at 2,341 lbs., although that figure will change depending on options and content added to the roadster.SEE ALSO: 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata vs 2020 Toyota 86 Comparison
2. Chevrolet Spark – 2,246 lbs.
The Chevrolet Spark city car claims the title as second lightest vehicle on sale in America; for the rest of this year at least. Then, the Spark will be put out to pasture as Chevrolet has announced the discontinuation of the tiny hatchback after this model year is over. So, if you want the 2,200 lbs. car that begins at a very reasonable price, better hurry quickly before they are all gone for good.
1. Mitsubishi Mirage – 2,095 lbs.
Taking the top spot as the lightest car currently on sale in North America is the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback. Although the current model’s roots date back a decade, the Mirage continues to soldier on offering low weight, low horsepower, low fuel consumption, and a low starting price. Just imagine if Mitsubishi made an EVO version of this car with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine installed. That’s a hot hatch we could get behind.
A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.
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