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Best Small Cars for 2022

The best used and new small cars based on a data-driven analysis of each vehicle's reliability, resale value and safety.

When it comes to finding the right vehicle, bigger is not always better. If you want an affordable price tag and high fuel economy, a small car might be exactly what you’re looking for. Because today’s small cars include modern touchscreens, advanced infotainment systems, capable safety features, and even all-wheel drive, they can be a more rational choice compared to a larger car or SUV.

Modern small cars come in sedan, coupe, and hatchback form, meaning everything from sporty styling to a roomy interior is available. But not all small cars are created equal. When viewing this list be realistic about your performance desires versus your real-world needs. While a powerful engine and engaging driving experience might sound appealing, a roomy rear seat and functional cargo space greatly enhance a small car's practicality.

What is a Small Car?

The term “small car” is often used loosely. It can refer to subcompact cars, compact cars, or both. We have combined the two vehicle segments in this list because both are worth considering given their similar size and characteristics. This list takes multiple model years into account, so if you can't afford a new car consider a used version of top-ranked vehicles like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Shoppers with larger budgets and luxury car preferences might be interested in our Best Luxury Small Cars list, while buyers looking for maximum fuel efficiency from a hybrid or plug-in hybrid can view our Best Hybrid Cars list.

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When it comes to finding the right vehicle, bigger is not always better. If you want an affordable price tag and high fuel economy, a small car might be exactly what you’re looking for. Because today’s small cars include modern touchscreens, advanced infotainment systems, capable safety features, and even all-wheel drive, they can be a more rational choice compared to a larger car or SUV.

Modern small cars come in sedan, coupe, and hatchback form, meaning everything from sporty styling to a roomy interior is available. But not all small cars are created equal. When viewing this list be realistic about your performance desires versus your real-world needs. While a powerful engine and engaging driving experience might sound appealing, a roomy rear seat and functional cargo space greatly enhance a small car's practicality.

What is a Small Car?

The term “small car” is often used loosely. It can refer to subcompact cars, compact cars, or both. We have combined the two vehicle segments in this list because both are worth considering given their similar size and characteristics. This list takes multiple model years into account, so if you can't afford a new car consider a used version of top-ranked vehicles like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Shoppers with larger budgets and luxury car preferences might be interested in our Best Luxury Small Cars list, while buyers looking for maximum fuel efficiency from a hybrid or plug-in hybrid can view our Best Hybrid Cars list.

See more
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
9.4 / 10
  • Reliability 9.1 / 10
  • Value Retention 9.1 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
9.2 / 10
  • Reliability 8.6 / 10
  • Value Retention 9.1 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.8 / 10
  • Reliability 8.5 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.8 / 10
  • Safety 9.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.6 / 10
  • Reliability 8.0 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.7 / 10
  • Safety 9.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.5 / 10
  • Reliability 8.0 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.6 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.4 / 10
  • Reliability 7.0 / 10
  • Value Retention 9.3 / 10
  • Safety 9.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.2 / 10
  • Reliability 7.5 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.2 / 10
  • Safety 8.9 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.2 / 10
  • Reliability 7.5 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.1 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
8.0 / 10
  • Reliability 7.9 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.1 / 10
  • Safety Not Available
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.9 / 10
  • Reliability 7.7 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.9 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.9 / 10
  • Reliability 7.7 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.9 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.9 / 10
  • Reliability 7.7 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.5 / 10
  • Safety 8.4 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.9 / 10
  • Reliability 7.6 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.0 / 10
  • Safety 8.1 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.9 / 10
  • Reliability 7.5 / 10
  • Value Retention 8.2 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
7.4 / 10
  • Reliability 7.1 / 10
  • Value Retention 7.7 / 10
  • Safety Not Available
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 8.8 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 8.8 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 8.3 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 8.2 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.8 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.8 / 10
  • Safety 8.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.8 / 10
  • Safety Not Available
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.6 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.3 / 10
  • Safety Not Available
iSEECARS SCORE

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on an analysis of data from over 12 million cars that assesses how long each vehicle lasts and how well it retains its value over time, along with safety data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association

See how we rank these cars
Coming soon
  • Reliability Coming soon
  • Value Retention 7.2 / 10
  • Safety 10.0 / 10

How We Rank These Cars

iSeeCars Best Car Rankings are calculated based on the latest research by our data science team and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

We analyze data from over 12 million new and used vehicles in our Longest-Lasting Cars and 5-Year Depreciation Studies, combined with the NHTSA's Safety Ratings to give you an unbiased guide to the best vehicles in each segment.

After being evaluated, vehicles with the highest average scores earn a spot in the iSeeCars Best Car Rankings. (No final score is given to vehicles missing a score in any of the categories, but scores for other categories are still shown.)

Vehicles are scored in three categories:

Reliability | 33.3%

The reliability score represents an analysis of iSeeCars' proprietary research on the longest-lasting vehicles.

Value Retention | 33.3%

The value retention score is based on our data science team's statistical analysis and prediction of 5-year depreciation from MSRP to determine which cars hold their value best, using US Bureau of Labor Statistics data to adjust for inflation.

Safety | 33.3%

The safety score is calculated based on the last five years of crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and incorporates the latest Top Safety Pick information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).