What to Consider When Buying a Small Car

Small cars are lightweight rides that are fun to drive, perfect for dashing through the city, and even ideal for adventurous road trips. Today’s most impressive small cars are a deliberate mixture of cleverness and practically, while still incorporating advanced technology and handling agility. 

Small Car Factors to Consider

We can’t overstate the importance of making a car wishlist to help identify what matters most to you. If fuel economy is at the top of your list, fortunately, fuel efficiency is closely aligned with small, low weight cars but at the same time, smaller doesn’t always mean better.

Some small cars, like the Ford Focus, have three-cylinder engines to boost the fuel efficiency factor but the ones with a four-cylinder engine are more functional. Newer models with six or more automatic speeds also will support a small car’s overall performance.

Subcompact or Compact?

Compact cars are slightly smaller than mid-sized ones and are intended for those who don’t need extra seating room or cargo space. They offer decent power and most have a four-cylinder engine. Subcompact cars are even smaller but that comes in handy if you find yourself in a tight spot as well as for handling corners. The best subcompact cars are sporty and provide a smooth driving experience.

Testing Driving Small Cars 

When test driving small cars, make sure you note how it feels to actually get in and out of the car. Make sure it doesn’t feel too low, and that it’s not too hard to get back out of. On the inside, verify that you actually feel comfortable. Do the seats feel too cheap? Do you have enough headspace and legroom? 

Sometimes, subcompact cars especially have a hard time with minimizing excess noise from the inside so you’ll also want to make sure that doesn’t bother you either.  The entertainment features you will want to look out for are in-car navigation, as well as Apple and Android compatibility; Bluetooth connectivity is now omnipresent in newer vehicles. 

Top Subcompact Cars in 2020

Honda Fit

The Honda Fit is a good subcompact that’s fuel-efficient, has great handling, and offers similar space to that of a smaller SUV. Both the front and rear seats are pretty spacious, but the ride is pretty noisy.

Toyota Yaris

2019 Toyota Yaris

With the Yaris, you’ll get a slightly quieter cabin and good performance, plus it feels more comfortable than other budget cars in its class. The available technology is also decent but it isn’t the most intuitive.

Hyundai Venue 

2020 Hyundai Venue

It’s a stiff ride, but Hyundai tries to make up for the cabin discomfort with improved in-car electronics, good emergency handling, and nice finishings.

Top Compact Cars in 2020

Hyundai Elantra GT

If you’re looking for European style hatchback at a budget-friendly price then the Elantra GT might be the right choice for you.

Kia Soul 

2020 Soul GT-Line

This inventive hatchback continues to please drivers with its overall reliability, comfort level, and interior finishings. One of the big drawbacks is that it doesn’t have as much cargo space as you would expect.

Subaru Impreza 

The Subaru Impreza |Getty Images

The Impreza stands out in its class with its standard AWD, available advanced safety features and it also feels pretty luxurious too.