New small cars are practical, reliable, and fun to drive. As these smaller vehicles have become more popular, automakers have turned their attention to maximizing the space that small cars offer. This makes new small cars a more realistic option for busy individuals and families on the go. Important factors to consider when looking to buy new small cars include price, fuel economy, a comfortable ride, cargo space, and room for passengers. Smaller cars come in two basic models: sedans and hatchbacks, and cost between $13,000 and $35,000 depending on features chosen. While more basic smaller cars get better fuel economy and cost less initially, they have less space for passengers and cargo, fewer bells and whistles, and are generally less comfortable. The engines in smaller cars usually range from 1.2 to 2.0 liter four-cylinder engines that offer from the mid-20s to the mid-30s in miles per gallon when it comes to fuel economy. The best new small cars include the Chevy Cruze, the Fiat 500L, and the Ford Focus.
Top Three Best New Small Cars
- Chevy Cruze
- Fiat 500L
- Ford Focus
Available as a sedan or a practical four-door hatchback, the Chevrolet Cruze can seat up to five passengers. The 1.4-liter inline four engine has 153 horsepower and is paired with either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. Fuel economy is stellar at an EPA-estimated 33 miles per gallon combined. A standard feature on the Cruze includes the Chevrolet MyLink system with a 7-inch color touchscreen with built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The mobile app that comes with the system can lock and unlock doors, start and stop the engine, view system diagnostics, send directions to the navigation system, and more. The Cruze is known as one of the safest new small cars on the market, with standard rearview camera and 10 airbags and optional Rear Park Assist, Lane Change Alert, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
- Gets up to 39 miles per gallon on the highway.
- Chevrolet’s best-selling car around the world.
- Priced between $17,000 and $25,000.
The Fiat 500L is a four-door compact sedan that offers the most interior space in the Fiat lineup. This small car comes in three trim levels: Pop, Trekking, and Lounge. Standard features include keyless entry, the UConnect infotainment system with a five-inch touchscreen, and Bluetooth connectivity. Options include a rearview camera, leather upholstery, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, navigation, a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen for the UConnect system, and Beats premium audio system. The 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is rated at 160 horsepower and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Field economy is an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpgs on the highway. The backseat can split, fold, and tumble forward to maximize cargo space, offering an impressive 68 total cubic feet.
- Comes in bright and fun colors.
- Spacious interior.
- Priced between $20,000 and $24,000.
The Ford Focus is a four-door fuel-efficient small car that comes in a sedan or hatchback. There are four main trim levels available — S, SE, SEL and Titanium - along with the high-performance Focus ST and Focus RS. Standard features on the base model include automatic headlights, keyless entry, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, a 4.2-inch central display, Ford’s MyKey for younger drivers, and Bluetooth. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that puts out 160 horsepower paired with a five-speed manual transmission. Fuel efficiency is excellent, with an EPA-estimated 27 mils per gallon in the city and 39 on the highway.
- A turbocharged EcoBoost 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine is available.
- Excellent safety ratings.
- Priced between $16,000 and $36,000.