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These small cars offer big-time features and value.

Best Small Cars | CarMax

These days, small and compact cars are an increasingly popular vehicle choice not just among singles, but couples and smaller families alike. Not only do smaller cars tend to cost less than many of their larger counterparts, but many drivers also enjoy the excellent handling that come along with a compact. And in recent years, vehicle manufacturers have begun to include some impressive standard features in their small and compact cars, ranging from rearview cameras to smartphone integration.

Check out our list of best used compact cars below, which is based on CarMax sales data from January 1, 2018, through April 30, 2018:

  1. Kia® Forte
  2. Mazda® Mazda3
  3. Kia Soul
  4. Ford® Focus
  5. Nissan Versa
  6. Chevrolet Cruze
  7. Honda® Civic
  8. Toyota® Corolla
  9. Hyundai Elantra
  10. Nissan Sentra

10

Kia Forte

Best Small Cars: Kia Forte | CarMax

If you're looking for a small car with versatility, the 2016 Kia Forte is a great starting point. This particular make and model year is available as a hatchback, coupe, and sedan to suit your specific needs—and each is available in various trim options. Standard features on the base LX sedan include:

  • full power accessories
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • heated mirrors

And despite its small size, this Forte offers great seating space and cargo capacity for a vehicle of its class, ranging from 13.3 cubic feet to 23.2 cubic feet (depending on the body style you choose).


09

Mazda Mazda3

Best Small Cars: Mazda Mazda3 | CarMax

Those interested in a smaller car with a sleek and sporty style should check out the 2016 Mazda Mazda3, which is available as both a sedan and hatchback. Drivers will especially love the Sport trim, which comes standard with such features as:

  • a seven-inch touchscreen display
  • larger 16-inch wheels
  • Bluetooth connectivity with voice control
  • Smartphone integration

The Mazda3 is also available in your choice of two engine options: a 2.0L four-cylinder or a more powerful 2.5L for a little more pep behind the wheel.


08

Kia Soul

Best Small Cars: Kia Soul | CarMax
If you're looking for a small car that will stand out in a crowd, the unique design of the Kia Soul may catch your attention. Specifically, the 2015 Kia Soul seems to blur the line between a sedan and a tiny SUV with its hatchback design and boxy style. Drivers and passengers alike will love the spacious interior, including the 60/40 folding seats that can expand cargo storage space from 19 cubic feet all the way up to a whopping 61 cubic feet! With seats intact, this quirky vehicle is plenty spacious enough to seat five.

07

Ford Focus

Best Small Cars: Ford Focus | CarMax
For more than a decade, the Ford Focus has been a top-selling small car across the United States—and for good reason. The 2014 Ford Focus specifically is available in both a sedan and sportier hatchback option, as well as a wide range of trim packages. And while the standard engine in the 2014 Focus is a basic 2.0L, four-cylinder, those wanting a little more power have the option of upgrading to the ST trim, which comes with a turbocharged EcoBoost® engine. Meanwhile, drivers and passengers alike with enjoy the quiet and comfortable interior.

06

Nissan Versa

Best Small Cars: Nissan Versa | CarMax

If practicality and interior comfort is at the top of your priority list, don't pass up the 2015 Nissan Versa. This vehicle is known for having one of the most spacious cabins in its class, allowing for comfortable seating for up to five without sacrificing leg- or headroom in the back seat. And with the rear seats folded down, you'll enjoy up to 14.8 cubic feet of cargo storage space as well.

The 2015 Versa is available in four trim levels:


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05

Chevrolet Cruze

Best Small Cars: Chevrolet Cruze | CarMax

The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze offers an excellent balance between sporty style and practical comfort. Drivers will enjoy that this small vehicle is available in both sedan and hatchback versions, and that there are numerous trim options: the base L, LS, LT, LT Diesel, and Premier.

Where the 2017 Cruze really shines, however, is in its standard feature offerings. Standard features in the base Cruze L are ample and include:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • a seven-inch touchscreen interface
  • smartphone integration
  • rearview camera
  • Wi-Fi hotspot availability

04

Honda Civic

Best Small Cars: Honda Civic | CarMax

Much like the Ford Focus, the Honda Civic has a long-standing reputation for being a top-selling small car. The Civic saw a complete redesign for the 2016 model year, making it one of the most customizable small sedans available. Not only is it offered in three styles (sedan, hatchback, and coupe), but many of its styles are also available in five additional trim levels.

In the base LX sedan alone, drivers will enjoy:

  • automatic climate control
  • a rearview camera
  • five-inch touchscreen display
  • Bluetooth connectivity

The Civic also boasts ample trunk space at 15.1 cubic feet, which is great for families.


03

Toyota Corolla

Best Small Cars: Toyota Corolla | CarMax

The 2016 Toyota Corolla is a sensible choice for those who prioritize comfort and practicality. At the same time, the wide range of trim options (five, to be exact) and available add-on packages make this an easy vehicle to customize for your specific needs. Drivers and passengers alike will enjoy the functional standard features found on the base L model, including Siri® Eyes Free voice control and a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface. Across all trim levels, the Corolla delivers an impressively quiet and smooth ride as well.


02

Hyundai Elantra

Best Small Cars: Hyundai Elantra | CarMax
Looking for a compact car that's as sleek and stylish as it is functional? The 2015 Hyundai Elantra is worth a look, offering excellent value, ample standard features, and plenty of comfortable seating for up to five. While the 2015 Elantra is available in three trim options, there are numerous add-on packages (such as the Style Package and Popular Equipment Package) you can choose from to customize your ride. In addition to having a stylish design, the interior is surprisingly spacious and trunk space is ample at nearly 15 cubic feet.

01

Nissan Sentra

Best Small Cars: Nissan Sentra | CarMax

Topping our list of best compact cars is the spacious and feature-packed 2016 Nissan Sentra. This five-passenger sedan comes with six trim options, with standard features on the base S including:

  • Bluetooth phone connectivity
  • remote/keyless entry
  • large 16-inch wheels

Drivers will especially love the spacious interior, which is large enough to comfortably accommodate even taller drivers and passengers. On top of all this, the compact Sentra boasts more than 15 cubic feet of trunk space, which is comparable with some larger sedans!


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If you're thinking about making your next vehicle a compact car, then our list of best small cars is a great place to start. Looking to learn more? Check out these related articles:

Unless otherwise noted, information relating to these featured vehicles comes from third-party sources, including manufacturer information. Product and company names may be trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of third-party entities. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by these entities.