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Full-size sedans are excellent for comfort, but there’s something to be said for compact sedans. It’s easier to fit them in parking spots, and they tend to weigh a bit less. Also, with a lot of power, they can be sporty. The Honda Civic is a prime example of a smart and efficient car with a comfortable interior yet still manages to be sporty. Unfortunately, it’s too big to fit on this list. These are some of the smallest compact sedans on the market in 2022, in both passenger volume and exterior dimensions, with one dishonorable mention.

2022 Hyundai Veloster N: pure sports car

The Hyundai Veloster was a spunky little car, but unfortunately, it’s all but extinct. Only one trim level will survive to 2022, and that is the high-performance Veloster N. With 275 horsepower from its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, the Veloster delivers impressive performance but lackluster interior quality for its $32,500 price tag. Interior space was amongst the smallest compact sedans, landing at a snug 89.9 cubic feet. It’s also the smallest by exterior dimensions, achieving 167-inches long and 71-inches wide.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI has quick shifting and acceleration

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI compact sedan on display in Chicago
2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI on display in Chicago | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI makes this list for being tiny on the outside but relatively spacious on the inside. At 168-inches long, it’s the second smallest compact sedan, but the interior offers 93.5 cubic feet of passenger volume. The GTI gets high marks for quick acceleration, thanks to its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 241 horsepower.

Ordinarily, opting for a manual transmission would be the best course of action. However, with the GTI, the DSG is an absolute pleasure. Quick shifting makes the driving experience that much more satisfying. Keep an eye on the camshaft lobe wear, and don’t drive the brakes too hard. The GTI starts at a modest $33,660.

The 2022 Kia Forte GT is cheap and effective

The Kia Forte GT is an actual compact sedan, so it’s going to be slightly bigger than the Golf and Veloster. The GT is the highest trim line, starting at $23,390. It has a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four with 200 horsepower, mated to either a manual transmission or 7-speed DCT.

The Kia Forte GT has sport-tuned exhaust and various aesthetic upgrades like a new grille, artificial leather seats with red stitching, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. It stretches 183-inches and provides 96 cubic feet of passenger volume. Even at this size, the Forte GT is one of the smaller compact cars offered in 2022.

Honorable mention: 2022 Toyota Corolla

2022 Toyota Corolla compact sedan driving down the highway
2022 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

We can’t adjourn without mentioning the Toyota Corolla, and not necessarily for the better. Somehow, it manages to be the same size as the Kia Forte but provides significantly less interior space. In fact, it allows 88.6 cubic feet of passenger volume, the smallest interior of all compact sedans in 2022. The Apex Edition starts at $25,220 with a 2.0-liter inline-four delivering 169 horsepower to the front wheels.

Are any of these options good?

The Corolla feels cramped, while the Forte offers a relatively uninvolved driving experience. The Veloster N and Golf are extremely fun to drive. However, reliability may play in the Veloster N’s favor. In the past, Golfs suffered from cooling issues, brake fade, and, according to Steve’s Imports, premature cam lobe wear. If you’re willing to keep an eye out for those kinds of problems, the Golf GTI is a clear choice for a compact sedan.


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