9 Difference Between Subcompact Vs Compact Cars 2022 – Which is Better Car?

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Difference between subcompact vs compact car

Are you thinking of buying a car and wondering which one is good to drive? There are so many makes and models to choose from and each car has a different standard and available features.

One of the most common questions is what is the difference between compact and subcompact cars. Here’s a guide to help you figure out which one is right for you so that your car buying process becomes a easy.

Subcompact Cars

When you hear about Subcompact cars, you might think of a small car that has too little space for the average adult. The Subcompact car sizes of today correspond to the size of the compact cars of recent years.

They have 85 to 89 cubic feet between their passenger and cargo space and are between 157 and 165 inches long. Some can accommodate up to four passengers, others up to five. Subcompact cars are usually cheap and generally cheapest to insure and repair. 

These are also more fuel-efficient, so you can save more money. Its small design also facilitates parking, maneuvering into and out of parking spaces, and turning time.

Compact Cars

A Compact car is also called a small car. It can be a two-door, four-door, hatchback, or sports coupe. If you don’t need a lot of space this is the car for you.

Compacts have between 100 and 109 cubic feet of interior space and are between 161 and 187 inches long. Compacts can also accommodate four or five people, but most cars in this category can accommodate up to five people. 

If you don’t need a lot of space this is the type of car for you. It’s perfect for commuting to work or driving around town with a bunch of friends.

4 Major Differences Between Subcompact Vs Compact Car

While it can be difficult to choose between a compact car and a subcompact car, there are many things to consider.

While vehicle size is the main difference between subcompact and compact cars, there are a few other factors that you need to consider regarding a vehicle’s features and capabilities.

These factors can help you make your decision between a subcompact and compact car:

1. Check the Fuel Efficiency

Oftentimes, the primary purpose of a smaller car is to save money at the pump (Fuel), but a smaller car doesn’t always mean you will travel many miles per gallon. 

While smaller vehicles are generally more fuel-efficient than larger vehicles, individual makes and models can vary widely. Check each car to determine every car’s performance. Consumer Reports suggest that every car’s transmission can affect fuel efficiency.

Many small cars have a wider range of gears (four, five, or now more commonly six-speed automatic transmissions) that can result in better fuel efficiency as the engine runs in higher gears at lower speeds.

2. Interior Space

Regardless of vehicle type or make, size is always a major difference between cars. In addition to Subcompact and compact cars, there are other class sizes, including two-seaters, mini-compact cars, and upper and middle-class vehicles.

Subcompact cars and compact cars are among the mini-compact and mid-range cars in terms of size. To better determine the difference in size between small and compact cars, it is best to compare the vehicles in each class.

For example, the 2014 Ford Fiesta is a small car and the 2014 Ford Focus is a compact car thanks to its interior size. If you look at each vehicle, it is easy to distinguish small cars from compact cars.

3. Keep Safety in Mind

With safety features like airbags and electronic stability control in newer cars, Edmunds says compact and Subcompact cars are safer than ever. 

A new compact and Subcompact car may also include:

  • Front collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Reversing cameras
  • Blind-spot and cross-traffic warnings
  • Lane departure warnings
  • Adaptive cruise control.

These determine a vehicle’s safety and crash test ratings (NHTSA & IIHS).

4. Affordability

According to US News, while Subcompact cars are not as spacious as compact cars and do not always have the best fuel economy, they are cheaper than compact cars. 

For budget-conscious drivers, a few thousand dollars less for a small car can help reduce the financial burden, especially in terms of monthly vehicle payments. 

If a compact car is out of your budget, a Subcompact car may be one of your only options alongside a used car. But before buying a used car you just need to study salient Questions to Ask When Buying A Used Car.

Best Models Of Subcompact Car Vs Compact Car

Now you know the factor to consider while buying any model of car. Further, I will tell you the best models of compact cars vs subcompact cars.

So need not worry while buying any model. This post will definitely help you to choose the best suitable car for you. You also look through What is the Make and Model of a Car? and How to find the model of the Cars?

List of the Best Compact Cars 2022 in the USA

Honda Civic

At the top of our list is the Honda Civic, which with three body styles, a long list of trim levels, and two high-performance models offers a plethora of options: the Civic Si and Type R. The 2017 Civics -2019 start with a standard 158 hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

You can buy models with a 174-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (EX-T and higher equipment on 2017-2018 models; EX and higher equipment on 2019 models). 

On the road, the Civic is designed to ride with confidence and provide excellent handling that feels good around curves or on bumpy roads.

Nissan Sentra

Spacious, comfortable, and responsive, the Nissan Sentra is a great addition to any driveway. With a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine developing 124 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, the 2017-2019 Sentra is a fuel-efficient commuter with an EPA estimated 32 mpg fuel.

The 2017-2019 models also offer 37.4 Inch rear-wheel drive. Legroom in the seat and 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space, ideal for sporting goods or camping gear.

List of the Best Subcompact Cars 2022 in USA

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is every traveler’s dream. The compact hatchback offers a 259-mile electric range, has zero emissions, and saves drivers money every day.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is a 5-seater vehicle that is available in 2 trim levels. The most popular style is the 2LT, which starts at $ 35,195 and comes with an electric motor and front-wheel drive.

The Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent offers surprising elegance and comfort for a small sedan. The Hyundai Accent is a 5-seater vehicle that is available in 3 trim levels.

The most popular style is the SE Automatic, which starts at $ 17,500 and comes with a 1.6-liter I4 engine and front-wheel drive. This accent is supposed to deliver 33 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway.

Top FAQS Regarding Compact Car or Subcompact Car

Which Do You Choose Compact Car or Subcompact Car?

Deciding between a compact car and a Subcompact car can be difficult, but we think it ultimately comes down to three issues. The most important thing is your budget.

If you can only afford a compact car, it doesn’t make much sense to think of Subcompact cars and it might be a good idea to think about a used car.

If you are interested in gas mileage, you should check the numbers, as some compact cars offer better mileage than their subcompacts. And if you often carry cargo or passengers, we recommend a compact car instead of a small car, because no one wants to drive folded in a narrow back seat.

What is meant by compact cars?

Compact cars are mid-range cars that are larger than mid-range cars. Its size varies between 161 and 187 inches long. This car is used to travel in a small groups of people like 4 to 5 people.

Do you feel safe driving a compact car?

It doesn’t matter what you drive. Whether you drive a compact car or a Hummer H1, there is no guarantee that you will not be killed or injured. Larger car covers only provide the most protection and the slightest decrease in the chance of injury.

Which compact car is the most reliable?

All compacts are reliable for 4 to 5 people. Toyota Corolla, and Honda Civic top the list.

Which cars are subcompact cars?

The subcompact is an American classification for cars roughly equivalent to the B segment or the supermini classification and smaller than a compact car.

Are subcompact cars hard to drive in snow?

It depends a lot on the vehicle and the amount of snow. If you have winter tires and the snow isn’t deep enough to be due to the spoilers underneath, they should be fine.

What is the best subcompact car I can buy New Year?

It’s pretty small, I’d say the AW11 Toyota MR2 is hard to beat when it comes to a small car. Plus, if you have the money, you can buy one this year.


Ritambra is an absolute car fanatic who loves the ultimate Porsche 911. It is her dream car she wishes to own someday. She has over four years of experience in automotive writing. She loves to explore new car launches, different car accessories, latest automobile technologies, find out the best purchases, and where can fellow car fanatics find the best buying deals. With her skillful writing and in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry, you will learn about the latest automotive trends, news, launches, car reviews, top automobile comparisons, car maintenance, usage advice, and more. Her writing is delightful, informative, and entertaining, even for casual readers. You will fall in love with cars with Ritambra's writing and unshakable passion for them.

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