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TOP 10 Compact Cars for 2024

Our list can help you find a compact car that meets all your needs. Each year, the editors at examine every vehicle and choose the cars on this list based on the best value, safety options, features, fuel economy, and more.

2024 honda civic sedan


The Honda Civic is our highest-rated compact car and the segment’s reigning Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award winner. Pricing starts at $23,950.

For compact car shoppers, it’s hard to make a better choice than the Honda Civic. Honda’s entry-level car is a stalwart of the segment and boasts a decades-long reputation for providing reliability, value, and efficiency. It’s even a joy to drive, whether you’re tackling the daily commute or a weekend road trip. The Honda Civic lineup also touts a wide variety of model choices.

In addition to two body styles — a traditional sedan or a surprisingly versatile hatchback — the Civic offers a choice of engines and not one but two performance models, the Civic Si and track-ready Civic Type R. The Honda Civic is an excellent all-arounder and winner of myriad Kelley Blue Book awards in a segment that also includes the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, and Hyundai Elantra.


The 2024 Hyundai Elantra brings a certain style to the compact sedan class, along with a choice of variants. Pricing starts at $21,475.

Compact sedans are alive and well. For evidence, look no further than the 2024 Elantra. Now in its seventh generation (which debuted for the 2021 model year), the Elantra cuts an even sharper dash this year. In addition to the revised styling, the high-performance N model gets some tweaks to make it an even better sport sedan. In addition to sharp styling and a well-tuned N model, the Elantra gets the basic stuff right — such as space, safety, and reasonable pricing.


The Toyota Corolla upholds its reputation as a safe, reliable, and fuel-efficient compact car while offering modern tech features at an affordable price. Pricing starts at $21,900.

The Toyota Corolla has been in continuous production since 1966. In that time, it’s become a benchmark for safe, reliable, and practical personal transportation. Now in its 12th generation, the Corolla builds on that reputation with a modern spin on a proven formula. The styling and technology are thoroughly modern, but the Corolla still impresses on its historic strong suits with excellent safety scores and outstanding fuel economy.

#4 2024 KIA FORTE

The 2024 Kia Forte is a value-packed sedan with loads of interior room, a distinctive exterior, and an excellent warranty. Big enough for family hauling, it is an ideal size for busy, crowded urban situations, too. Pricing starts at $19,790.

With tremendous appeal to the value-conscious, the Kia Forte is a well-equipped compact sedan that achieves enviable fuel economy. We believe its thriftiness is its most endearing quality. Relatively inexpensive to own with better-than-average resale value, the Forte is a bargain in its segment. A few rivals, like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, have higher profiles; however, the Forte stands out as a deal. Undoubtedly, this is one of the reasons Forte is Kia’s best-selling car.

#5 2024 SUBARU WRX

A high-energy sedan for the masses, the 2024 Subaru WRX delivers hair-on-fire performance in a roomy compact sedan that’s equally comfortable with daily commutes and routine assignments. Pricing starts at $32,735.

If a high ratio of performance to dollars spent appeals to you, we recommend the 2024 Subaru WRX. A compact, 4-door land missile, the WRX delivers a one-two punch of high performance and affordability. Yet, it’s still tame enough to pilot on a daily basis. In other words, you don’t need aspirations of competitive drifting or clocking ever-better lap times at the track to enjoy buzzing around town in the WRX. It’s as comfortable hauling Junior to his soccer games as it is carving mountain road twisties. We also like the WRX because it’s one of the few mainstream sedans to offer a manual transmission.

#6 2024 MAZDA MAZDA 3

The 2024 Mazda3 is a sporty compact car with available AWD, an exciting turbo engine option, and one of the nicest interiors in its class. Pricing starts at $24,170.

The Mazda3 is one of our favorite compact cars to drive. It’s long been one of the more athletic choices in its class, and it upholds that reputation with fun driving dynamics. It also has plenty to offer in terms of practicality, with lots of modern technology, two available body styles, and available all-wheel drive. While you’re enjoying the drive, you and your passengers are treated to an upscale interior you’d expect to find in a more expensive car.

mazda mazda 3 at beach


The Nissan Sentra compact sedan is one of those cars that simply does the job without fuss or fanfare. Pricing starts at $20,890.

This might be the sort of car we’d expect to see around college towns or in the parking lots of office blocks. It’s a commuter special, performing everyday duties at a reasonable cost. This generation debuted for the 2020 model year, so a minor revamp for 2024 comes right on time.

Not that Nissan has dedicated a whole lot of resources to updating its compact contender. A design tweak here, an upgraded transmission there, plus a few other bits and pieces. In other words, not quite enough to raise the Sentra up from its standing as a minor character in the incredible success stories of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.


The 2024 Volkswagen Jetta sticks to its usual lane of being a smooth and spacious compact sedan. Pricing starts at $21,435.

There’s still a place for small sedans in today’s motoring world. They’re relatively affordable to buy and run, most are quite roomy, they tend to be at least a little enjoyable to drive, there’s the security of a lockable trunk, and parking is usually easy. That’s certainly the case with the Jetta.

Historically, Americans have tended to prefer sedans over hatchbacks. So even though the VW Golf has been and continues to be a superb car, Volkswagen also offers the Jetta. It’s just that the Jetta is gaining quite a bit of history itself. Most of this class is newer, especially the Honda Civic, which is a favorite of ours.

We get it, though. Volkswagens have a Germanic vibe that’s a cool trait in a car, especially when an Audi is out of the price range. Investigate the Jetta, absolutely. But take a good look at the rest of the competition as well.


The 2024 Volkswagen Jetta isn’t your typical compact car. It’s the most affordable European sedan on the market, mixing unique style, a roomy interior, and engaging driving dynamics. Pricing starts at $20,415.

Although sedan sales continue to slide, the Jetta keeps on truckin’. Having gone through a fairly extensive refresh for 2023, the Jetta returns with no noteworthy enhancements. However, the SE grade now provides remote start among its standard content. Cue the confetti drop. Today, the bulk of mainstream compact sedans thrive among Korean and Japanese brands.


The 2024 Subaru Impreza is a compact car available in sedan or hatchback form. Some people are just big Subaru fans anyway, but the factor that could sway the decision for others is standard all-wheel drive, which is unmatched by any rival. Prices start at $21,795.

Wherever snow is a regular visitor, there are Subarus aplenty. In places like these, there’s a lot to be said for a basic 2024 Subaru Impreza. Owners may prefer the cheap steel wheels instead of alloys as the set that wears the winter tires. The right rubber and an all-wheel-drive system can handle many rough conditions.

2024 subaru imprezza

When the sun comes out, though, and dry roads bring the potential for more fun, the Impreza loses some of its luster compared with newer, faster, and more refined contenders like the Honda Civic and Mazda3. If you have trouble deciding, let the amount of thermal underwear you own be one of your guides.and

Each year, editors examine every vehicle and choose the cars on this list based on the best value, safety options, features, fuel economy, and more. And as always, is available for all your maintenance and repair needs. Contact us today (407) 486-3755

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