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This year, U.S. News included nearly 30 vehicles on its “Best Small Cars for 2023” list. Despite fierce competition, four Hyundai models were among the top ten rankings. Which Hyundai cars do critics love the most?

2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

A grey 2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid parked in front of a sunset on a beach, one of the best small cars of 2023.
2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid | Hyundai Motor Company

The Elantra Hybrid earned fourth place as one of the best small cars of 2023, primarily due to its impressive gas mileage. The Blue model is rated for 54 mpg combined. It earns this with a single electric motor and a four-cylinder engine with a total output of 139 hp. It also comes paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. 

The Hyundai Elantra Blue Hybrid currently retails for $24,550 and the Limited model starts at $29,150. The latter model features a premium Bose audio system, leather seats, and standard navigation. The Blue model is still nicely equipped with lots of advanced driver’s aids. While both trims have smartphone integration, only the Elantra Hybrid Blue offers wireless connectivity. 

2022 Hyundai Veloster N

The Veloster N was discontinued for the 2022 model year, but the final incarnation still holds an impressive score of 8.2 out 10. Its solitary trim has a suggested retail price of $32,500 and comes equipped with a 275-hp turbo-four engine. While it doesn’t have the best gas mileage, critics praise this sedan for its engaging performance.

Every Veloster N comes with an adaptive suspension, Pirelli performance tires, and an electronic limited-slip differential. It also has a standard six-speed manual transmission, with an eight-speed automatic dual-clutch option available. The driver-focused interior includes sports seats and a satisfying amount of physical buttons to accompany the 8-inch touchscreen.

2023 Hyundai Elantra

While not as efficient as the hybrid version, the Elantra is still a part of the best small car of 2023. Its base engine earns 37 mpg combined. The 147-hp four-cylinder comes paired with a continuously-variable transmission that stays quiet even during brisk acceleration. The N Line and N models both come with their own unique turbo-four engines, plus upgraded suspension setups.

Inside, the Hyundai Elantra offers comfy accommodations for five riders and a user-friendly infotainment interface. The Elantra N shares most of the Hybrid Limited’s tech offerings, but it’s nearly $4,000 more expensive. The base trim starts at $20,950 and the upgraded N Line costs $27,500.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq

With Hyundai shifting its focus to the electric Ioniq 5 SUV, the automaker saw little reason to keep producing the sedan version. You can find the Ioniq in standard hybrid and the plug-in hybrid variants. The latter has an all-electric driving range of 29 miles.

The Ioniq and Ioniq PHEV have above-average cargo measurements considering their large battery packs. Each model includes Hyundai’s typical fare for standard features, including wireless smartphone integration and an impressive safety suite. However, the higher trims don’t offer as many fun extras compared to other sedans from this automaker.

Despite all of their high ratings, U.S. News doesn’t consider any Hyundai model to be the best compact car. That honor goes to the 2023 Acura Integra, making its first appearance since the mid-2000s. Its 200-hp turbo-four engine delivers satisfying acceleration and fuel economy, plus enhances the Integra’s enjoyable handling dynamics. 

The Honda Civic and Mazda3 were deemed slightly better than the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid. The Volkswagen GTI tied with the Elantra Hybrid for fourth place, followed by the Chevy Bolt in sixth place. U.S. News also gave high marks to the Toyota Corolla and its Hybrid twin.

The Hyundai Ioniq is on even footing with the Nissan Versa and gets better mileage than a Toyota Prius. The Kia Rio and Forte were also included on this list, both of which are cheaper than any Hyundai sedan. However, most critics believe that the Hyundai models offer the most sophisticated powertrains.


Hyundai Models Dominate the U.S. News 2023 Best for the Money Lists