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The car market is constantly changing and evolving. New cars are released yearly, making staying on top of the latest models difficult. Luckily, global consumer research and consulting firms, like J.D. Power, provide expert insights into the car market, helping drivers make informed decisions when picking their next ride. After intense testing and consumer surveys, here’s a breakdown of the three highest-ranking compact cars, according to J.D. Power for 2023.

1. 2023 Kia Forte

The 2023 Kia Forte earned an overall score of 83 out of 100 from J.D. Power, making it the highest-ranking compact car of 2023. It also earned a top spot in the J.D. Power Compact Car Segment Award with 87 out of 100 in quality and reliability. 

The Kia Forte offers a solid all-around experience, with sleek design elements, an 8-inch touchscreen to control the infotainment system, and advanced safety technologies like driver attention warning and lane keep assist. 

Under the hood, drivers can select from two engine options; a 147-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder or a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. While the continuously variable automatic transmission is standard, drivers can opt for the 6-speed manual if they seek more control. The sportier GT trim of the Forte also comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, providing even more driving options. 

Fuel efficiency is solid across the lineup, with up to 41 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg combined, paired with a non-turbo engine. However, the GT trim with the dual-clutch transmission has slightly lower fuel efficiency at 27 mpg combined.

2. 2023 MINI Clubman

A dark color 2023 MINI Clubman parked outdoors in a city environment.
2023 MINI Clubman | BMW of North America, LLC.

According to J.D. Power, the 2023 MINI Clubman is another great compact car option, sharing the same overall score of 83 out of 100 as the Kia Forte. It also earned an impressive 87 out o 100 in driver experience, a category where the MINI Clubman excels. 

The exterior of the 2023 MINI Clubman is eye-catching and unique with its iconic design cues, along with its split-opening tailgate doors. It also offers numerous standard features such as LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision warning, and several driver assistance features. 

All 2023 MINI Clubman models are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 189 hp. The transmission will depend on which trim level you select; the base Cooper trim has a 6-speed manual transmission. A 7-speed dual-clutch and 8-speed automatic are also available on higher trim levels. It only takes 6.9 seconds for the base FWD MINI Clubman to reach 60 mph from a standstill, while the all-wheel drive model can do it in 6.6 seconds. 

According to U.S. News, the MINI Clubman doesn’t offer the best fuel economy in its class, but it’s still pretty good, with an EPA-estimated rating of 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel drive option offers slightly lower fuel efficiency at 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

3. 2023 Honda Civic

According to J.D. Power, the 2023 Honda Civic rounds out the top three compact cars, earning an overall score of 82 out of 100 and second place in the segment. It also made a great score of 89 out of 100 in the resale value category. 

In 2022, the Honda Civic underwent a complete redesign, with a thorough makeover inside and out. New features include a digital instrument cluster, an updated 9-inch touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and advanced driver assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist. 

The 2023 model year has no significant changes. You can either choose your ideal body style from a sedan or hatchback. You can also pick between the four trims, with the Honda Civic Si being a particularly sporty and engaging option. 

Under the hood is a base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with up to 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder makes 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, while the Civic Si comes with a powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces up to 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. 

All Civic models come standard with a CVT, but the hatchbacks get a 6-speed manual transmission as an option. Fuel economy is impressive across the lineup, with the best fuel economy rating of 33 mpg in the city, 42 mpg on the highway, and 36 mpg combined from the EX trim with the 1.5-liter turbo engine.

Overall, these three cars offer something for everyone regarding size, power, and fuel efficiency. Whether you’re looking for a sporty car like the Kia Forte or a practical car like the Honda Civic, J.D. Power’s top three compact cars of 2023 have got you covered.


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