2021 Compact Cars

If you're looking for a blend of style, fuel economy, and tech with a price tag that won't break the bank, then the compact car segment is where to be. Compacts are no longer the cheap-feeling penalty boxes of yore, and offer a ton of value for buyers. Although the segment is shrinking with the ever-increasing popularity of crossovers, there are still those who value the compact car's charms.

SEE ALSO: Honda Civic vs Toyota Corolla: Which Compact Sedan is Right For You?

Most of the domestic brands have already abandoned the segment, with the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus dropping out most recently. Stalwarts like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla remain however, and they've even expanded to cover multiple body styles. That means there's something for everyone in the compact car class, so you're sure to find something that aligns with your particular tastes.

Pros and Cons of Sports Cars

Pros

  • Reasonable prices
  • Low running costs
  • City-friendly size
  • Still plenty of tech and convenience features
  • Cheaper to insure
  • Better fuel economy
 

Cons

  • All-wheel drive is rare
  • Can feel a little small in a sea of SUVs
  • Not as roomy for large families

Electric and PHEV Compact Cars

Compact electric cars (EV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) are gaining in popularity as people look for the most affordable way to get an electric vehicle. In the world of full EVs, the Nissan LEAF has been a long time player in this category and for 2022 receives a massive price reduction. Chevrolet continues to offer the Bolt EV, now in its second generation. A relative newcomer to the field is the Hyundai IONIQ which is more of a traditional looking car compared to its competitors, lending to the fact it can also be had as a Hybrid or Plug-in Hybrid. 

SEE ALSO: 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric Review: It’s Okay To Blend In

Besides the IONIQ, there is only one other PHEV compact car currently, the Toyota Prius Prime. Unlike the IONIQ, the Prius Primes comes with all-wheel drive thanks to an extra electric motor that powers the rear wheels. 

What’s New in Compact Cars for 2022?

Honda Civic

The biggest news for the 2022 model year when it comes to compact cars is the introduction of an all-new Honda Civic. More grown up than the previous model, the new new Civic can still be had as a sedan or hatchback, but the coupe is discontinued.  Power continues to come from either a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. The higher performance Si model returns as well, currently available only as a sedan. But hatchback fans need not worry, the super hot hatch Civic Type R should be released this year. 
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Hyundai Elantra

The current generation Hyundai Elantra and Elantra Hybrid have been on the market for a few years now, but are joined this year by a seriously sporty option. Called the Elantra N, it is the latest offering form Hyundai's high performance N division. 

SEE ALSO: 2021 Hyundai Elantra N Line Review: Short N-Gagement

Power for the car comes from a turbocharged 276 hp 2.0-liter four cylinder engine. All aspects of the vehicle's mechanics have been upgraded to turn this regular compact car into a proper track weapon. The tires, brakes, chassis, suspension, and transmission all work together to create a highly enjoyable driving experience. 
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Volkswagen GTI and Golf R

And while discussing performance compact cars, there are the all-new Volkswagen GTI and Golf R. The regular Golf has been discontinued in America, which is a shame, but at least we get to keep the two high performance hot hatches.  For 2022 the vehicles have built on an already great platform and offer drivers more power and better technology. The front-wheel drive GTI is up to 241 hp while the all-wheel drive Golf R sees an increase to 315 hp. The Golf R also receives a more sophisticated all-wheel drive system which adds to performance and driver enjoyment. 
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Kia Forte

The Kia forte was refreshed this year, with new styling front and rear. Inside, the Forte joins the big-screen party, with an optional 10.25-inch infotainment screen. Other changes include improved safety as well as a fuel efficient FE trim level. 

SEE ALSO: 2022 Kia Forte Gets Tweaked Styling, Better Tech and More Safety Assists

Those looking for a little more performance will want to check out the Turbo GT with its 201 hp engine and choice of a six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. 
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Other Highlights from the World of Compact Cars

Volkswagen Jetta

The Volkswagen Jetta received a minor refresh this year, gaining a new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. The compact German sedan continues to offer the higher performance GLI model as well with the 2.0-liter turbo engine. 
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Toyota Corolla

Toyota-Corolla The Toyota Corolla can be in had three different ways. There is the traditional sedan in which the Corolla has built its reputation on for decades. There is also the Corolla Hybrid which bridges the gap between the regular Corolla and the Prius. Finally, there is Corolla Hatchback, a model targeted towards more youthful customers. 
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Mazda3

The Mazda3 is a more premium car compared to a lot of its competitors, a sort of halfway point between a mainstream compact and one from a luxury automaker. It can be had with three different engine options, including a 250 hp turbocharged unit. Turbo cars come exclusively with all-wheel drive, making the Mazda3 one of the few AWD cars in the segment. 

SEE ALSO: 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Boasts 250 HP and Standard AWD

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Nissan Sentra

The Nissan Sentra is one of the more stylish, yet practical compact cars in the class. It focuses on the core model and does not include a performance or hybrid version. Still, there is a lot of value to be had in a Sentra when properly equipped. 
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Subaru Impreza

  The Subaru Impreza is the only car in its class to offer all-wheel drive as standard equipment on all trim levels. It can be had as a sedan or a hatchback, with the choice of a manual or automatic transmission. As safety is a top Impreza priority, all automatic transmission vehicles come standard with Subaru's EyeSight safety technology.

SEE ALSO: Subaru Impreza vs Legacy: Which AWD Sedan is Right for You?

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18 vehicles found

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Make / Model MSRP Fuel User Rating
2021 Kia Forte
2021 Kia Forte
view 7 trims
$17,890 - $23,290 25/32 mpg
2021 Volkswagen Jetta
2021 Volkswagen Jetta
view 7 trims
$18,995 - $28,045 29/39 mpg
2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
view 11 trims
$19,925 - $28,210 29/36 mpg
2021 Mazda Mazda3 Sedan
2021 Mazda Mazda3 Sedan
view 10 trims
$20,500 - $32,450 25/33 mpg
2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
view 5 trims
$20,565 - $24,615 28/37 mpg
2021 Mazda CX-3
2021 Mazda CX-3
view 2 trims
$20,640 - $22,040 27/32 mpg
2021 Toyota C-HR
2021 Toyota C-HR
view 4 trims
$21,445 - $26,500 27/31 mpg
2021 Volkswagen Golf
2021 Volkswagen Golf
view 2 trims
$23,195 - $23,995 29/36 mpg
2021 Toyota Prius
2021 Toyota Prius
view 7 trims
$24,525 - $32,650 51/47 mpg
2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
2021 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
view 4 trims
$26,345 - $31,545 24/33 mpg
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI
view 6 trims
$28,695 - $37,745 23/30 mpg
2021 Cadillac CT4
2021 Cadillac CT4
view 4 trims
$33,395 - $44,895 20/29 mpg
2021 BMW 2 Series
2021 BMW 2 Series
view 10 trims
$35,900 - $52,950 21/30 mpg
2021 Genesis G70
2021 Genesis G70
view 5 trims
$36,000 - $48,200 17/25 mpg
2021 Acura TLX
2021 Acura TLX
view 8 trims
$37,500 - $48,300 21/29 mpg
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18 vehicles found

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