The Best Compact Cars in 2024

Published on February 26, 2024 in News by The Car Guide

While SUVs keep driving sales in Canada, compact cars still own a significant share of the market. In fact, with more and more people having a hard time due to inflation, they represent an affordable and sensible choice.

What are the best buys in the segment for Canadian drivers? The team at The Car Guide has analyzed all the various models available and identified the top three for 2024.

1. Toyota Corolla

Photo: Toyota

The Toyota Corolla takes the No. 1 spot from the Honda Civic this year. One reason is that the Corolla did a better job of maintaining prices closer to where they were last year, making it cheaper than its top rival.

Second, Toyota’s compact sedan is available as a hybrid. Not only is fuel economy improved, but the Corolla Hybrid also comes with all-wheel drive (except in base trim).

For performance enthusiasts, there’s a 300-horsepower variant of the hatchback. Also blessed with all-wheel drive, the GR Corolla is one sweet machine despite being one cylinder short.

Overall, cheaper pricing and a wide selection of models help put the always dependable Corolla above all the competition.

2. Honda Civic

Photo: Honda

The Civic was Canada’s best-selling car for 24 years in a row before losing its crown to the Corolla for 2022 and again for 2023. Sedan and hatchback configurations are available, and most models feature either a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine or a turbocharged 1.5-litre mill.

A Civic Hybrid has been announced. It will arrive later in 2024 as a 2025 model, so efficiency-minded drivers just need to be a little more patient. It’ll likely cost more than a Corolla Hybrid, mind you.

On the performance side, the Civic Si sedan cranks the 1.5-litre engine to 200 horsepower, but the star in the lineup is definitely the mighty Civic Type R, a 315-horsepower hot hatch aimed at purists who don’t mind sacrificing comfort for exhilarating times on the road and the track.

3. Subaru Impreza

Photo: Subaru

Rounding out the podium is not the Mazda3 as in previous years but rather the new-for-2024 Subaru Impreza.

The latest generation is significantly improved. Though available in hatchback body style only, there are four trim levels and two engines to choose from, starting with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that generates 152 horsepower. The new RS and top-line Sport-tech benefit from a 2.5-litre unit that increases output to 182 horsepower while producing 176 lb-ft of torque.

All-wheel drive naturally comes standard yet again, and Subaru’s system is one of the best when it comes to tackling snow and ice. We also like the Impreza’s reduced noise levels and large trunk. On the other hand, an electrified variant is still lacking, not to mention a real performance model.

For more details, go to our Best Buys section.

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