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The burgeoning compact sedan segment is filled with many contenders vying to end up on your driveway. There are plenty of venerable models from reputable makes like Toyota, Nissan, and Hyundai. However, if you’re looking for the best one, you won’t find it under those corporate umbrellas.

The best compact sedan for 2023 is an obvious choice

A bright red 2023 Honda Civic compact sedan model speeding past a building entrance with a blurred background
2023 Honda Civic Sedan | American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Although there are plenty of small sedans to choose from, the best one to consider is the 2023 Honda Civic. The editors at Kelley Blue Book picked the 2023 Civic as their “Compact Car Best Buy for 2023” because it’s “feature-rich, comfortable, and looks good.” We couldn’t agree more as we thought that the 2022 Honda Civic, which was when the car was redesigned, was one of our favorites as well.

In our Honda Civic review, we adored its sophisticated look and marveled at its excellent fuel efficiency and great handling dynamics. No, it’s not perfect, but this new iteration of the Civic truly gives its rivals a run for their money. The folks at U.S. News seem to agree with us as they placed the Honda Civic at the top of their list for the “2023 Best Cars for the Money.”    

Considering they measure their ranking based on quality – ride comfort, drivability, reliability data, and tech features – and price, we think their opinion is valid.

Hyundai and Kia are reputable runner-ups

A silver 2023 Kia Forte GT driving on a highway, Kia has been given better reliability than many other brands.
2023 Kia Forte GT | Kia Media

If the 2023 Honda Civic is a little out of your price range, other sedans like the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte are reputable options. The Hyundai Elantra adds a bit of pizzaz with its funky design and adds plenty of value with its healthy list of standard features. One of the best parts about the Elantra is that it comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that’s transferable, so if you decide to sell the car, the gift keeps on giving.

The 2023 Kia Forte is the Elantra’s cheaper corporate cousin. That means it comes standard with a 147-hp engine and plenty of tech features like an 8-inch touchscreen display and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Like its cousin from Hyundai, the Kia Forte comes with a bevy of standard safety features and a long warranty.

What about the 2023 Toyota Corolla?

A white Toyota Corolla compact car model uses Eco mode to cruise urban streets.
2023 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

You may be surprised to learn that the 2023 Toyota Corolla didn’t make the list of winners for U.S. News. However, it did place in the top three on Kelley Blue Book’s “Best Compact Cars” list. The publication likes that the Corolla is safe and reliable and even pointed out its revised looks and infotainment features. The Corolla is priced well, with a starting price under $23,000. That is on par with the South Korean brands and beats that of the Honda Civic.

Case in point, the 2023 Toyota Corolla is an amazing compact sedan. However, those looking in the segment would do well to check out the tried-and-true Honda Civic. Although, other cars in the category as they may pose a better value.