beebs

Only Available Used: Subcompact Cars


Jake Sundstrom - Edmunds Editor
Jake Sundstrom | Editor, Edmunds
February 20, 2024
Three friends sit laughing, viewed through the open window of a blue subcompact car. The driver wears a plaid shirt and backwards blue baseball cap; the passenger wears a sleeveless zebra print top; the third friend sits in the back seat wearing a black and white blouse and pink headphones around her neck.

With thousands of vehicles in our inventory, we’re here to help make car research easier for you. We’ve partnered with car review experts from Edmunds to weigh in on what matters most when you’re looking to buy a truck or car.

***

Subcompact cars, like the Honda Fit and Chevrolet Spark, are typically the least expensive available, but their numbers are dwindling. Manufacturers have gone all-in on SUVs, meaning many of these pint-size cars are only available used. 

But there's nothing wrong with these little cars. Subcompacts are generally affordable, have impressive fuel economy, and are a breeze to drive in crowded city environments or suburban parking lots. 

We're going to take a look at several subcompact cars and hatchbacks that offer a lot of value and are only available used, starting with the lowest average price and working our way up. 

Chevrolet Sonic

Blue 2019 Chevrolet Sonic LT Auto 5-Door

Years available: 2012-2020

Average CarMax price

: $14,677

Pick because: Lots of storage space

Pass because: Worse fuel economy than rivals

The Chevrolet Sonic offers impressive storage space whether you opt for the sedan (14.9 cubic feet in the trunk) or the hatchback (47.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded). Its fuel economy up to an EPA-estimated 29 mpg

is worse than most of its rivals, but starting in 2017 all Sonics offer Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto on the entry-level trim, earlier than most others on this list. 

Ford Fiesta

Green 2019 Ford Fiesta ST-Line

Years available: 2011-2019

Average CarMax price

: $14,734

Pick because: Fun to drive

Pass because: Less cargo space than rivals

The Ford Fiesta, in hatchback and sedan form, is a lot of fun to drive. But its fuel economy (up to EPA-estimated 31 mpg

) and its rear cargo space (13 cubic feet for the sedan, 15 cubic feet for the hatchback) doesn't measure up to rivals like the Honda Fit (17 cubic feet). But the Fiesta has plenty of personality and in 2019, its final year on sale, Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto come as standard features. 

Hyundai Accent

Red 2022 Hyundai Accent Limited

Years available: 1995-2022

Average CarMax price

: $15,732

Pick because: Comfortable, quiet ride

Pass because: Limited technology

The Hyundai Accent is the corporate cousin of the Kia Rio, so the two have a lot in common. The Accent, like the Rio, is fuel-efficient (up to EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined

) and offers a comfortable ride. If you want technology like Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto, you need to find an SEL or Limited trim. Just keep in mind that the low-powered USB ports won't do a great job of charging a modern smartphone. 

Chevrolet Spark

Nightfall Grey 2022 Chevrolet Spark 2LT Automatic

Years available: 2013-2022

Average CarMax price

: $15,798

Pick because: Lots of tech features 

Pass because: Less cargo space than rivals

The Chevrolet Spark was fully redesigned in 2016, adding loads of features, even on its entry-level trim (LS). All 2016 and newer Sparks have Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto, and a rearview camera that display on a 7-inch touchscreen. You'll compromise on cargo; even with the back seats folded down the Spark only offers 27.2 cubic feet. And with all the seats up, Sparks from 2016 onward only offer 11.1 cubic feet and a small floor, barely enough for a carry-on suitcase. Older Sparks are only a tiny bit better (11.4 cubic feet).

Toyota Yaris

Silver 2020 Toyota Yaris L

Years available: 2007-2020

Average CarMax price

: $16,897

Pick because: Good fuel economy

Pass because: Ride is a bit rough

The 2020 Toyota Yaris offers solid fuel economy (up to EPA-estimated 34 mpg combined

) and attractive standard features like Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto. And the final three years it was available (2017-2020), it benefited from a tight collaboration with Mazda. That collab brought high-quality materials and a fun-to-drive essence you won't find on most subcompact cars. 

Kia Rio

Pewter 2020 Kia Rio S

Years available: 2001-2023

Average CarMax price

: $17,362

Pick because: Good real-world fuel economy

Pass because: Not much cargo space unless you get the hatchback

The Kia Rio provides a comfortable ride and, in Edmunds' real-world testing, delivered excellent fuel economy. The EPA estimates you'll get up to 36 mpg combined

with the Rio, but Edmunds got an impressive 43 mpg on its driving route. The only downside is cargo space in the sedan (13.7 cubic feet) compared to its hatchback sibling, which offers a bit more, especially with the seats folded down. 

Honda Fit

Blue 2020 Honda Fit EX

Years available: 2007-2020

Average CarMax price

: $18,821

Pick because: Lots of cargo space

Pass because: Only available as a hatchback

The Honda Fit is an impressively roomy hatchback that offers plenty of space for passengers and their stuff. With the rear seats folded down, you get 52.7 cubic feet of storage in Fits made since 2015, and even more in older Fits. The Fit's final three years (2018-20) offer Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto on the second-tier Sport trim and above. Honda also added some advanced driver aids in 2018, including adaptive cruise control (which keeps pace with the car in front of you), lane departure warning (which warns you if you’re drifting out of your lane), and forward collision warning (alerts you to a potential collision). These were standard on the top-level EX and EX-L trims and can be found on some LX and Sport trims.

Jake Sundstrom - Edmunds Editor
Jake Sundstrom | Editor, Edmunds

Jake Sundstrom has worked in the automotive industry since 2017 and written hundreds of car related articles over the course of his career. Jake is an editor at Edmunds, where he helps produce the best used car content on the web. He has also contributed to the National Hot Rod Association and other motorsport publications. When he's not writing about cars, he's probably driving them to his next vacation; he's still working out how to get a Wrangler from Los Angeles to Maui.

Edmunds is a wholly owned subsidiary of CarMax. 

* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

We hope you found this information helpful. This content is intended to inform and is not meant to indicate that a particular vehicle is currently available or recommended for you.​

Unless otherwise noted, information related to 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.​

We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify before purchasing.