Are you ready to ditch the gas-guzzling behemoth and cruise into a world of efficiency, agility, and urban-friendly finesse? Look no further than the exciting realm of compact cars!

But with a plethora of options vying for your attention, choosing the perfect one can feel like navigating a rush hour traffic jam.

Worry not, intrepid driver! This guide will be your GPS, steering you toward the best compact cars of 2024.

2024 Honda Civic

Score 8.7
MSRP $23,950 – $31,450 
MPG 26-33 City / 36-42 Hwy
2024 Honda Civic

The 2024 Honda Civic is a compact car available in sedan and hatchback body styles. It carries over from the 2022 model year with no significant changes.

It is known for its fuel efficiency, spacious interior, and comfortable ride.

  • LX: The base trim comes with standard features such as a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
  • Sport: Adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, a sports suspension, and paddle shifters.
  • EX: Gets a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, heated front seats, a moonroof, and a Bose sound system.
  • EX-L: Adds leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, and a navigation system.
  • Touring: Tops the range with LED fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, and a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Engine and Performance

  • A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque.
  • A turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque.

Interior and Features

The 2024 Civic has a spacious and comfortable interior with a modern design. The infotainment system is easy to use and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Standard features include cloth seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and air conditioning.

Available features include leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a moonroof, and a navigation system.

Overall The 2024 Honda Civic is a well-rounded compact car that offers a good value for the price. It is fuel-efficient, spacious, and comfortable, and it comes with a long list of standard features.

2023 Mazda Mazda3

Score 8.6
MSRP $22,550 – $35,300 
MPG 23-28 City / 31-37 Hwy
2023 Mazda Mazda3

The 2023 Mazda3 is a compact car available in sedan and hatchback body styles. It’s known for its stylish design, sporty handling, and upscale interior.

For 2023, Mazda dropped the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, leaving the 2.5-liter four-cylinder as the entry-level powerplant.

It also gets a 5-hp bump to 191 horsepower and cylinder deactivation for improved fuel efficiency.

The turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder remains an option, delivering 227 horsepower on regular gas and 250 horsepower on premium gas.

Engine and Performance

  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine: 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque
  • Turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine: 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque (on premium gas)

Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available on Carbon Edition and Premium Plus trims with the turbocharged engine.

Fuel Economy

The 2023 Mazda3 has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of up to 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the 2.5-liter engine and 25 mpg city and 33 mpg highway for the turbocharged engine.

Interior and Features

The 2023 Mazda3 has a stylish and well-designed interior with high-quality materials. The infotainment system is easy to use and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Standard features include cloth seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and air conditioning.

Available features include leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a moonroof, and a navigation system.

Safety

The 2023 Mazda3 comes standard with a suite of safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Overall

The 2023 Mazda3 is a great choice for shoppers looking for a stylish, sporty, and well-equipped compact car.

It offers a lot of value for the price and is sure to please driving enthusiasts.

2024 Mazda Mazda3

Score 8.6
MSRP $24,170 – $36,650 
MPG 23-28 City / 31-37 Hwy
2024 Mazda Mazda3

The 2024 Mazda3 isn’t available yet, as it’s still early 2024. Typically, new model year vehicles debut later in the previous year or early in the new year.

Changes for 2024:

  • No major changes: Mazda hasn’t announced any major changes to the Mazda3 for 2024. Expect it to carry over mostly unchanged from the 2023 model.
  • New Carbon Trim for Hatchback: A new Carbon Trim will be available exclusively for the hatchback model. This trim features a unique Zircon Sand Metallic paint, black exterior accents, and terracotta leatherette-trimmed sports seats.
  • Larger infotainment display for Turbo models: The optional turbocharged engine gets a larger 10.3-inch infotainment display, compared to the 8.8-inch screen on other trims.

Engine and Performance:

  • The same engine options carry over from the 2023 model:
    • A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque.
    • A turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque (on premium gas)
  • Both engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
  • All-wheel drive remains available on Carbon Edition and Premium Plus trims with the turbocharged engine.

Other details:

  • Fuel economy ratings are likely to be similar to the 2023 model.
  • Interior design and features should also carry over without major changes.
  • Standard safety features will likely remain the same, with available features possibly increasing.

2024 Kia Forte

Score 7.7
MSRP $19,790 – $25,190
MPG 22-30 City / 31-41 Hwy
2024 Kia Forte

The 2024 Kia Forte is a stylish, fuel-efficient, and affordable compact sedan that offers a lot of value for the money.

It’s a good choice for drivers who are looking for a comfortable and feature-packed car that won’t break the bank.

Engine and Performance

The 2024 Kia Forte comes in two engine options: a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque, and a 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.

The 2.0L engine is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), while the 1.6L engine can be paired with either a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) or a 6-speed manual transmission.

Fuel Economy

The 2024 Kia Forte gets up to 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway with the 2.0L engine and CVT.

With the 1.6L engine and DCT, it gets up to 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

The 1.6L engine with the manual transmission gets up to 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

Interior and Features

The 2024 Kia Forte has a spacious and comfortable interior with plenty of room for passengers and cargo.

The standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 6-speaker audio system.

Available features include a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a navigation system, a Harman Kardon audio system, heated and cooled seats, a sunroof, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Safety

The 2024 Kia Forte comes standard with a number of safety features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning.

Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

2024 Subaru Impreza

Score 7.7
MSRP $22,995 – $27,885 
MPG 26-27 City / 33-34 Hwy
2024 Subaru Impreza

The 2024 Subaru Impreza has undergone a significant revamp, ditching the sedan body style and focusing solely on a five-door hatchback configuration.

Engine and Performance:

  • Two engine options:
    • 2.0L SUBARU BOXER® 4-cylinder: 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque.
    • 2.5L SUBARU BOXER® 4-cylinder (RS trim only): 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque.
  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is standard on all trims.
  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) is standard on all trims, providing excellent traction in various weather conditions.

Fuel Economy:

  • 2.0L engine: Up to 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway (estimated by EPA).
  • 2.5L engine (RS trim): Up to 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway (estimated by EPA).

Interior and Features:

  • Spacious and comfortable cabin with ample legroom and headroom for passengers.
  • Two infotainment system options:
    • Standard 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
    • Available 11.6-inch touchscreen with navigation, SiriusXM radio, and more.
  • Available heated front seats, automatic climate control, and sunroof.
  • New for 2024: Keyless Access with Push-Button Start standard on all trims.

Safety:

  • Standard EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology suite includes:
    • Pre-Collision Braking with Pedestrian Detection
    • Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Departure Warning
    • Lane Keep Assist
    • Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert

Overall:

The 2024 Subaru Impreza offers a compelling package for those seeking a safe, reliable, and fuel-efficient hatchback with standard AWD and a comfortable interior.

2023 Volkswagen Jetta

Score 7.7
MSRP $20,655 – $32,385 
MPG 26-31 City / 36-42 Hwy
2023 Volkswagen Jetta

While the 2024 model year hasn’t arrived yet, the 2023 Volkswagen Jetta remains a solid choice.

Engine and Performance:

  • Two engine options:
    • 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder: 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque (standard on S, SE, and SEL trims).
    • 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder: 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque (optional on SE and SEL trims, standard on GLI).
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission on S and Sport trims, optional on SEL trim.
  • 8-speed automatic transmission standard on SE and SEL trims, optional on Sport trim.
  • Front-wheel drive is standard on all trims, except the GLI which offers all-wheel drive.

Fuel Economy:

  • 1.5L engine: Up to 29 mpg city and 42 mpg highway (automatic transmission).
  • 2.0L engine: Up to 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway (automatic transmission).

Interior and Features:

  • Spacious and comfortable cabin with ample legroom and headroom.
  • Standard features include an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 6-speaker audio system.
  • Available features include a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, navigation system, heated and cooled seats, sunroof, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Safety:

  • Standard safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning.
  • Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

Overall:

The 2023 Volkswagen Jetta offers a refined driving experience, a comfortable interior, and a good selection of standard and available features.

While it might not be the most powerful option in its class, its fuel efficiency, safety features, and German engineering make it a compelling choice for sedan buyers.

2024 Volkswagen Jetta

Score 7.7
MSRP $21,435 – $28,825 
MPG 29-30 City / 40-42 Hwy
2024 Volkswagen Jetta

The 2024 Volkswagen Jetta isn’t officially available yet, as it is still early in 2024. However, based on information released by Volkswagen and industry sources.

Engine and Performance:

  • Likely to retain the same 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque from the 2023 model.
  • The option for a 6-speed manual transmission on lower trims and an 8-speed automatic transmission on higher trims is likely to continue.
  • Front-wheel drive (FWD) will likely remain the standard configuration, with no confirmed plans for an all-wheel-drive (AWD) option.

Fuel Economy:

  • Official estimates are not yet available but expect similar figures to the 2023 model, which offered up to 29 mpg city and 42 mpg highway with the automatic transmission.

Interior and Features:

  • Significant changes are expected, with a more modern and upscale cabin design.
  • A larger 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system is likely to be standard or widely available across trims.
  • An improved digital instrument cluster could be offered.
  • New ambient lighting options and premium interior materials might be available on higher trims.
  • Standard features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a suite of driver-assistance features are likely to continue.

Safety:

  • The 2024 Jetta is expected to receive top safety ratings, building on the strong performance of the 2023 model.
  • Volkswagen’s IQ. Drive driver-assistance suite is likely to be standard on all trims, including features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Overall:

The 2024 Volkswagen Jetta is expected to offer a more modern and refined driving experience compared to the 2023 model.

While detailed specifications are still awaited, it’s likely to maintain its focus on fuel efficiency, comfort, and technology, making it a competitive option in the compact sedan segment.

2023 Nissan Sentra

Score 7.6
MSRP $19,950 – $22,840 
MPG 28-29 City / 37-39 Hwy
2023 Nissan Sentra

The 2023 Nissan Sentra might not be the latest model, but it’s still a relevant choice for those seeking a reliable and fuel-efficient sedan.

Engine and Performance:

  • Standard 2.0L 4-cylinder engine producing 149 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque.
  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is standard on all trims.
  • Front-wheel drive (FWD) is the only drivetrain option.

Fuel Economy:

  • Up to 29 mpg city and 39 mpg highway for the S and SV trims.
  • Up to 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the sporty SR trim.

Interior and Features:

  • Spacious and comfortable cabin with ample legroom and headroom for passengers.
  • Three trim levels: S, SV, and SR.
  • Standard features on the S trim include an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, and cloth seats.
  • Available features on higher trims include a larger touchscreen, navigation system, heated seats, sunroof, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Safety:

  • Standard Nissan Safety Shield® 360 technology suite includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Overall:

The 2023 Nissan Sentra offers a comfortable and fuel-efficient ride, along with a good set of standard safety features.

While it might not be the most powerful or feature-packed option in its class, its affordability and practicality make it a compelling choice for budget-minded sedan buyers.

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