A compact car is a great way to save on gas costs and get around town. However, it’s important to assess your needs and lifestyle before choosing a model.
Generally, the EPA defines cars in this category by their passenger and cargo interior volume. However, car dealerships and rental agencies may use their own classification standards.
Unlike mid-sized and full-size cars, compact cars are generally smaller. This can make them easier to maneuver and park. Additionally, they can also get better fuel economy and be more affordable to buy and own. While some people may have turned their nose up at vehicles at the smaller end of the spectrum in the past, compact cars are now starting to compete with the next size up in terms of amenities and features.
There are many different types of vehicles that fall into the compact car category. They can range from subcompact models to hatchbacks and sedans. They can also be a good choice for small families or individuals who don’t need much space for passengers and cargo.
The EPA has an official definition for what constitutes a compact car, but other organizations (such as car dealerships or rental agencies) may have their own standards. As a result, it’s important to research and understand the differences between subcompact, compact, and other vehicle sizes before making any purchases or renting vehicles.
A small car is typically between 85 and 89 cubic feet in interior passenger and cargo space and about 157 to 165 inches long. On average, these vehicles can fit four or five people and offer adequate cargo space for most day-to-day needs. Examples include the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Mazda 3, and Kia Forte.
Many people turn their noses up at the small car segment, viewing it as a collection of cheaply made “econo-boxes.” But manufacturers have come a long way and compact cars now rival mid-sized vehicles in terms of features and quality. This makes them a good option if you’re in the market for a new vehicle or are considering trading in your old one for something smaller.
These small vehicles have better fuel efficiency and cost less to maintain than larger cars, which helps you save money on driving expenses. They are ideal for commuters, first time car buyers, or people who live in urban areas and need a reliable vehicle to get around town.
In the United States, a compact car is defined as an automobile with between 85 and 99 cubic feet of interior passenger and cargo space. They may be two-door, four-door, hatchback or sporty coupes. They are also known as subcompacts and can be powered by gasoline or diesel engines.
Some examples of popular compact cars include the Ford Focus, Opel Astra, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Citroen C4, Honda Civic and Mitsubishi Lancer. Typically, these vehicles are equipped with engines that have lower horsepower and are more economical than those found in mid-sized cars. They are capable of getting great gas mileage, often achieving 40 highway and city mpg figures with non-hybrid models.
A Compact car may not be the first vehicle you think of when it comes to safety, but many small vehicles scored well in crash tests and come loaded with advanced driver-assistance systems. They’re also less expensive to purchase, insure and repair than larger cars. And if you’re shopping for a new vehicle, they’re a great choice because they’re easy to maneuver on narrow roads and in tight parking situations.
A popular example is the Honda Fit, which was named a Top Safety Pick for 2015 when it scored acceptable or good ratings in all five standard crash tests and most of the optional tests including roof strength, head restraints, side, moderate overlap front and seats. It also earned a good assessment in the challenging small overlap front test.
Similarly, the Kia Soul is another fun and reliable small vehicle. It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2014 and received good ratings in all of the test categories except the head restraints. It also got a good assessment in the small overlap front test, which is the most demanding of all of the tests.
Other examples of highly-rated, safe and efficient Compact cars are the Toyota Prius and the Hyundai Elantra. These are some of the most popular models in the industry, and they offer a lot for your money.
In North America, the term compact car refers to vehicles sized between a subcompact and mid-size passenger cars. These are smaller than the European C-Segment models and Japanese small-size cars, but larger than superminis. They typically favor efficient commuting over power and speed. They can be found in hatchback and sedan body styles.
The first compact cars were introduced in the 1950s to compete with imported automakers like Volkswagen and Datsun. They were often V8 or 6-cylinder powered, two-bench six-passenger sedans that were larger than the popular Volkswagen Beetle. Between 1958 and 1960, American automakers greatly expanded their compact lineups to include the Studebaker Lark, Chevrolet Corvair, Ford Falcon, and Plymouth Valiant. They also gave rise to compact vans based on these platforms.
Small, lightweight and affordable, modern compact cars are great for those who want a stylish, agile car with good fuel economy that can still haul passengers and cargo on road trips and longer commutes. Compared to their larger siblings, they are also easier to maneuver in tight spaces and easy to park in your garage or driveway.
A compact car is ideal for drivers who live in higher-density areas or are looking for a fuel-efficient alternative to their SUV, pick-up truck, or full-size vehicle. However, they may not be as roomy or offer the comfort of a full-sized vehicle for those who regularly carry passengers or need to haul sports equipment or luggage.