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These cars might be small, but they win big on value and cargo space!

Best Small Cars | CarMax

These days, you can purchase a small car and still get the versatility and style of a crossover or small SUV.

Small cars are sought after by singles, young couples, and smaller families, along with those looking for an affordable yet comfortable way to get around. Many of today's small cars offer trim packages that give you the choice of increasing power and interior amenities. And, you might be pleasantly surprised at the technology included in some of these affordable, smaller vehicles.

To make things easier for your car search, we’ve put together this list of best-selling small cars of 2017. This year, we’re including four Nissan® models, two Jeeps, and a small Chevrolet® that ranks as one of our top-sellers of the year for small cars.

How we compiled our list

This list of 15 best-selling small cars was compiled based on CarMax vehicle sales data from January 1, 2017, through October 31, 2017.

  1. Dodge® Dart
  2. Jeep® Compass
  3. Nissan Versa Note
  4. Volkswagen® Jetta
  5. Hyundai® Accent
  6. Kia® Soul
  7. Ford® Focus
  8. Mazda® Mazda3
  9. Jeep Patriot
  10. Nissan Versa
  11. Nissan Rogue
  12. Toyota® Corolla
  13. Nissan Sentra
  14. Honda® Civic
  15. Chevrolet Cruze

15

Dodge Dart

Best Small Cars: Dodge Dart | CarMax
If you are considering a small sedan that maximizes space with a roomy rear seat, take a look at the 2016 Dodge Dart. The Dart offers surprising interior space and is fun to drive. It has a low profile, sporty good looks, and responsive steering and handling. The much-lauded 2016 Dodge Dart comes in six trim models including the SE, SXT, Turbo, Aero, GT, and Limited. Standard perks include a tire pressure warning system, fold-flat rear seats for versatility, and auxiliary audio inputs and USB inputs. This is a car with spunk and personality. The 1.4L, four-cylinder, manual six-speed, turbo delivers an impressive, EPA-estimated 38 mpg hwy, 27 mpg city.1

14

Jeep Compass

Best Small Cars: Jeep Compass | CarMax
Why consider a 2014 Jeep Compass as your next small car? In 2014, Jeep introduced the six-speed automatic transmission in the Compass for the first time, added front-seat side airbags, and gave the Compass a new exterior makeover. If you have a boat, jet-skis, snowmobile, or other toys, the estimated 1000 lb. towing capacity (when properly equipped) might be useful on those weekend adventures.2 If you live where ice or snow can be an issue, the front-wheel and four-wheel drive capabilities of the Compass is designed to help get through the winter. The 2014 Jeep Compass comes in three trims, The Sport, The Latitude, and The Limited. While the Sport serves as the base model, the Latitude and Limited offer more comfort options. The 2014 Jeep Compass, 4WD, 2.4L, four-cylinder engine with an automatic six-speed transmission will still bring home an EPA-estimated 20 city/23 hwy mpg.1

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Nissan Versa Note

Best Small Cars: Nissan Versa Note | CarMax
The hatchback design of the NOTE helps make the most of the available space, and five trim levels give you flexibility to buy the Versa NOTE that's just right for you. In the 2015 model, choose from the base S Model, the S Plus, SV Edition, SR, and SL trims. The 2015 Versa NOTE base trim with 1.6L, four-cylinder automatic edition gets an impressive, estimated 31 city/39 hwy mpg.1 While mileage is an outstanding feature of the Versa NOTE, owners also appreciate the room, the clever cargo shelf, and the 2015 SL trim’s user-friendly navigational system.

12

Volkswagen Jetta

Best Small Cars: Volkswagen Jetta | CarMax
If a smooth ride and a powerful engine are important in your choice of a small car, take a closer look at the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta. The car boasts ample rear seating space and a generous trunk area. In 2016, Volkswagen made a touchscreen standard in the Jetta. Your options really expand when it comes to engine sizes and trims. You'll have three engine choices in Jetta: a 1.4L, 1.8L, and 2.0L with the base 1.4L, four-cylinder, manual, five-speed combination producing an estimated 28 city/40 hwy mpg and a combined rating of 33 mpg.1 Each engine size has a T option, with the 1.4L offering an S and SE trim package. The 1.8L models give you a choice of Sport, SEL, and SEL Premium trims while the 2.0L engines come in a GLI SE and GLI SEL edition. With so many choices, it’s no wonder the Volkswagen Jetta is one of our top sellers of small cars.

11

Hyundai Accent

Best Small Cars: Hyundai Accent | CarMax
The 2015 Hyundai Accent will surprise you. It delights with its attractive styling, large interior, and cargo space, along with its exceptional ride. It does this while still keeping things simple, at least from a power plant standpoint. Each 2015 Hyundai Accent comes with a 1.6L four-cylinder inline engine and either a choice of a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. What may not be so surprising is its excellent fuel mileage that the EPA estimates at 27 city/38 highway mpg for the manual transmission and 26 city/37 highway mpg with the automatic.1 The 2015 Accent comes in four trim packages, the L, GL, SE, and GLS. The L trim includes an AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo that also includes a convenient USB and iPod® input. The upgraded GL trim has a 172-watt six-speaker sound system. Buyers get 16-inch alloy wheels and a power sliding sunroof with the SE and GLS trims including premium cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and climate control. Surprise! The 2015 Hyundai Accent is quite luxurious and comfortable.

10

Kia Soul

Best Small Cars: Kia Soul | CarMax
It’s hard not to notice a Kia Soul on the roadways. The 2016 Kia Soul has a distinctive exterior design and is available in some extraordinary paint colors. The Soul has built its reputation as workhorse with exceptional interior space that can comfortably seat five. It has a 1.6L four-cylinder engine that delivers an estimated EPA fuel rating of 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.1 This is an excellent choice for young families on a budget looking for a small car that has needed space. It may be the definition of practicality on our list of best small cars.

09

Ford Focus

Best Small Cars: Ford Focus | CarMax
You can get an affordable small car and still keep your sporty sense of style with the 2014 Ford Focus. Available in a sedan or a four-door hatchback edition, the Focus is available in a wide choice of trim packages. Some base models include the S and SE models with a premium Titanium version available. All three come with a 2.0L, inline four-cylinder power plant that generates 160 hp. For those seeking a bit more power and performance, the Focus ST could be a preferred option. The ST includes a turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine with 252 hp. If fuel economy is more important than performance, check out the Ford Focus EV with a 110 city/99 highway eMPG EPA-estimated mileage.1 Those who are parallel-parking challenged will appreciate that the Ford Focus is the first car in its class to offer Active Park Assist; this is designed to help drivers expertly park with minimum driver input.

08

Mazda Mazda3

Best Small Cars: Mazda Mazda3 | CarMax

One of the first things you'll notice about the 2016 Mazda3 is, inside and out, it carries a sophisticated look. Available in both a sedan and hatchback edition, this is a front-wheel drive compact that is remarkably stylish. Choose from two engine options, a 2.0L inline four-cylinder that delivers 155 hp or a 2.5L four-cylinder power plant that generates 184 hp. The 2.0L four-door version has an EPA-estimated fuel mileage of 30 city/40 highway mpg1 when teamed with the automatic transmission.

The 2016 four-door Sport includes 16” wheels, daytime running lights, push-button start, and the Mazda Connect® infotainment system. The four-door Touring package adds a Blind Spot Monitoring System, rain-sensing wipers, and a power moon-roof. The four-door Grand Touring trim package includes the Mazda navigation system, a Bose® nine-speaker surround sound system, leather trimmed sports seats, and more. Stunning good looks and desired options and amenities will have you feeling and looking good in the Mazda3.


07

Jeep Patriot

Best Small Cars: Jeep Patriot | CarMax
Described as a compact crossover SUV, the 2015 Jeep Patriot is muscular enough to let you know it means business. Whether you choose the Sport, Latitude, or Limited trim packages, front-wheel drive is mandatory with the standard 2.0L, four-cylinder engine. An upgraded 2.4L four-cylinder provides for a choice of two different AWD systems. These AWD systems are designed for off-road capabilities while maintaining city driving maneuverability. The standard 2.0L, four-cylinder engine on the Patriot, when teamed with the five-speed manual transmission, delivers an EPA-estimated 23 city/30 highway mpg.1 If you are in the market for a small crossover SUV with rugged, yet handsome good looks, take a closer look at the 2015 Jeep Patriot.

06

Nissan Versa

Best Small Cars: Nissan Versa | CarMax
There’s more to the Nissan Versa than its good looks. It is appealing for its interior space, and fuel economy. For example, the 2015 Versa boasts one of the largest cabin interiors in its class along with a generous 14.9 cubic feet of space in the trunk (fitting four medium-sized suitcases). Equipped with the standard 1.8L, four-cylinder engine, the 2015 Nissan Versa with the automatic transmission, provides an EPA-estimated 29 city/37 hwy mpg.1 The front seats provide lots of room for longer weekend trips. If you’re looking for this kind of practicality and comfort, you won’t go wrong adding this one to your list.

05

Nissan Rogue

Best Small Cars: Nissan Rogue | CarMax
The Nissan Rogue has become a popular compact SUV on the market today. The 2016 edition of the Nissan Rogue is sportier than ever and comes in three trim options including the S, SV, and SL. Third-row seating is available in the S and SV editions. Not only is the 2016 Rogue sporty, it has interior elements found in a more luxurious SUV. Standard features include Bluetooth® connectivity, a rearview camera, handy split-rear folding seats, and convenient keyless entry. The 2016 Rogue comes standard with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. The 2016 Nissan Rogue is an excellent choice for those seeking more interior room in a smaller vehicle, along with the styling of a crossover SUV.

04

Toyota Corolla

Best Small Cars: Toyota Corolla | CarMax
It may be no surprise that the 2016 Toyota Corolla makes our list of best-selling small cars. For 2016, the Toyota Corolla brings over 50 years of experience to the table. The Corolla has long been sought after for its classic good looks, roomy interior, and functional amenities and infotainment systems. Toyota keeps it straightforward with the Corolla. The power plant is a 1.8L, four-cylinder engine that produces 132-140 hp depending on choice of transmissions, a six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Even in the 2016 model’s base L trim, you’ll get 15-inch wheels, Bluetooth, an Entune® infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and more. The more robust trim levels like the LE and the S have heated seats and navigation systems. Rearview cameras are standard on all but the base trim package. If you're interested in a nameplate that exudes value and a variety of features, the Corolla is a great choice.

03

Nissan Sentra

Best Small Cars: Nissan Sentra | CarMax
Attractive and roomy, the 2015 Nissan Sentra is available in four trim choices. All are offered with a 1.8L four-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed manual transmission on its base model, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with other trims. The base S level trim is joined by the SV, SR and SL models, all offering attractive options and amenities. The base S model includes features like Bluetooth, steering wheel mounted audio controls, and a USB port. The SV adds the Nissan ConnectSM with apps and the SR features rear disc brakes. A step up to the SL trim will come with leather seats. The 2015 Sentra delivers an EPA-estimated 29 city/37 hwy mpg rating for its 1.8L engine with CVT.1 And, rear seat passengers will appreciate the ample legroom.

02

Honda Civic

Best Small Cars: Honda Civic | CarMax
The Honda Civic brings a long history of confidence and style on the road. For a smaller car, it is exceptionally quiet, featuring quality interiors and a smooth ride. Its 2016 model year comes in multiple trim packages ranging from the base Civic Manual LX edition to the EX and the upscale CVT Touring model. Each trim offers impressive mileage. The standard 2.0L, four-cylinder engine with a manual transmission, for example, provides an EPA estimated 27 city/38 highway mpg.1 The 2016 editions come with user-friendly technology packages. Base model LX models come with an infotainment system, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Higher trims offer even more punch with things like Android Auto® and Apple CarPlay™. No wonder this small car is the second-most popular pick by CarMax customers.

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Chevrolet Cruze

Best Small Cars: Chevrolet Cruze | CarMax

Topping our list of best-selling small cars is the Chevrolet Cruze. Ever since coming on the scene ten years ago, the Chevrolet Cruze has gained in popularity by offering sufficient room, terrific gas mileage, and standard features and technology not provided by most cars in its class. The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze’s standard 1.4L turbo four-cylinder engine provides a nice 153 hp whether it is matched with a six-speed manual or standard transmission. Either way, owners can enjoy the EPA-estimated fuel mileage of 30 city/40 highway mpg with the auto and 28/39 mpg with the manual.1

This base Cruze L includes sought-after features like a 7.0-inch touchscreen MyLink® infotainment system, rearview camera, and Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto capability. Moving up to the LS provides a center console and floor mats while another move to the LT trim package provides 16” alloy wheels, LED running lights, cruise control, and more. With all small cars on the roads today, this is one that was born with possibilities.


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Shop for the best small used cars for sale near you

Whether you have fuel-efficiency or interior comforts in mind, you can find a variety of small cars with style and plenty of attractive features at your local CarMax. Need more information? We've got you covered. Shop now or check out these additional resources to help you on your search.

1Based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. See fueleconomy.gov. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history.
2Various factors may impact towing capacity, including weight of passengers, cargo, and options/accessories.
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.