Every 2024 Compact Car Ranked from Best to Worst

a blue 2021 honda civic in a parking lot

What is the best compact car of 2024? Compact cars are popular with new drivers and first-time buyers because of their low sticker prices. They’ve come a long way from their “bargain basement” perception and now often include a plethora of tech and comfort features. They were also popular during the early 2000s when gasoline prices rose, thanks to their excellent fuel economy.

Best Compact Cars of 2024

Lately, however, many compact cars have been put on the chopping blocks by their respective parent companies as more and more consumers are buying trucks and SUVs. Still, there are some great finds in the compact car segment. We rank 12 compact cars from best to worst depending on their driving performance, standard features, design, and value.

12. 2024 Toyota Prius

2023 Toyota Prius

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The Prius is the granddaddy of hybrid vehicles, and it still has some of the most fuel-efficient ratings of any car on the market. However, the futuristic stylings have grown to leave a stale taste in our mouths. We don’t find the odd center stack to be intuitive, for instance. But the hatchback design does give plenty of room for passengers and cargo. If you’re in the market for a hybrid, there are honestly many more modern interpretations.

11. 2024 Nissan Leaf

a 2019 nissan leaf

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The 2024 Nissan Leaf has some great range thanks to a large battery. It’s also one of the cheapest EVs on the market. Having said that, it’s pretty cramped when it comes to space, even for a compact car. The interior design is clean, if a little spartan and cheap-looking.

10. 2024 Nissan Sentra

a 2019 nissan sentra

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The Nissan Sentra has a spacious interior for its size, and the trunk also has high volume measurements. Plus, the Sentra is one of the least expensive vehicles on the market. Those looking for a bargain will surely find it here. But while other competitors may be more expensive, we also think they’re simply better cars. The Sentra provides a lackluster driving experience, has an underpowered engine, and features a bland dated design inside and out.

9. 2024 Volkswagen Jetta

a 2019 volkswagen jetta

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The 2024 Volkswagen Jetta is now three years into a redesign, and it does feel much more upscale compared to past versions. But it finishes near the bottom half of our pack, however, for so-so engines that leave much to be desired when you’re zooming around the city. There are also cheaper options that have more features.

8. 2024 Kia Forte

a 2019 kia forte

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The 2023 Kia Forte ended up ninth on our list because of its underpowered engine and finicky driving performance. But it did get good marks for an attractive design and a good list of standard features for the price point.

7. 2024 Toyota Corolla

a 2019 toyota corolla

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Last year, Toyota released a redesigned Corolla. It has outstanding fuel economy ratings for a non-hybrid vehicle. And if your main focus is fuel economy, a Corolla Hybrid model is now offered. The 2024 Corolla has great reliability ratings and an array of standard safety features. The engine does leave something to be desired, however.

6. 2024 Hyundai Elantra

a 2021 gray hyundai elantra parked on a lot

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The 2024 Hyundai Elantra is completely overhauled this year and features a, frankly, off-the-wall design. Sharp angular lines cut deep into the side door panels, and the rear of the car looks like a fishtail from the side. Like its Kia cousin, it packs a lot of features for the price. The interior is also nicely upgraded and has a more premium feel than the cost would suggest. Additionally, you’ll find a hybrid version, which gets 53 mpg in the city and 56 on the highway.

5. 2024 Mazda3

a 2019 mazda3

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The 2024 Mazda3 sports a fetching design. Clean, curvilinear lines wrap around the attractive vehicle. Inside, buyers would be forgiven for thinking that they wandered into the luxury compact category. The perennially sporty driving capabilities of Mazda set this small car above the competition.

4. 2024 Volkswagen Golf

a 2019 volkswagen golf

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VW’s Golf has sporty handling and an upscale interior. Its powerful engines make even trips to the grocery store a fun affair. And with an array of styles (regular hatchback, Sportwagen, etc.), there’s something for everyone. Whether you get the R or the GTI, the VW Golf remains one of the best compact cars of 2024.

3. 2024 Subaru Impreza

a 2019 subaru impreza

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The roomy interior and comfy seats are a plus. The vehicle handles incredibly well, too! On top of that, the fact that the Impreza offers standard all-wheel-drive makes this compact car a standout among the competition, even if acceleration is a little underwhelming. That’s why it’s our top three pick as the best compact car of 2024.

2. 2024 Hyundai Sonata (Hybrid)

2023 hyundai sonata

(image via Honda)

If there were one hybrid car we would suggest buyers purchase, it would be the 2024 Hyundai Sonata. The new Sonata is one of the safest cars on the market offer stellar safety ratings from the NHTSA and numerous safety features that are standard with every trim. This year, it offers more standard features than ever before, including a remodeled dashboard with a larger display.

1. 2024 Honda Civic

a blue 2021 honda civic

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The 2024 Honda Civic has a sporty exterior and nimble handling to match. The interior is intuitive, and the Civic comes with an impressive array of safety features. Package all of that at an attractive price point, and you’ve got one great car! That’s why it’s our #1 best compact car of 2024.