In today’ expensive world, fuel-efficient and budget friendly cars are growing trend. Small Cars are among the most competitive and profitable segments in the auto industry but these days people have high expectations from these tiny vehicles. Small Cars are not just fuel efficient, they are also eco-friendly as well as quick and fun to drive. They can also provide lots of space inside the cabin. Generally, small cars attract budget-conscious customers, young people and first-time and new-car buyers who want a reasonably priced vehicle for every day commuting. Here is a list of 10 best compact and subcompact cars under $20,000 for those customers who are looking to buy small car without sacrificing features and amenities. This list is based on the overall vehicle ratings of the CarConnection. The ratings were given according to the analysis of published reviews and test drives.
10 best compact and subcompact cars under $20,000
1. 2012 Honda Fit
The 2012 Honda Fit is a reasonably priced subcompact with lots of interior space. The car has sporty and slick design. It is a specialized extrovert, from the back roofline spoiler to aero-zealous face and fog lights. It provides a perfect balance of comfort, fun and interior convenience. It sports new grille and bumper, black headlights and machine-finished 16-inch alloy wheels. It is available in 8 colors such as alabaster silver metallic, crystal black pearl, blue raspberry metallic, Milano red, orangeburst metallic, polished metal metallic, taffeta white and vortex blue pearl. It comes in 3 models: base, Fit Sport and Fit Sport with Navigation. The price of the base model starts from $15,325, Fit Sport begins from $17,060 and Fit Sport with Navigation starts from $19,690.
All models of the car are powered by 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine which delivers maximum power of 117-hp and torque of 106 pounds-feet. The base model has 5-speed manual transmission/ automatic transmission while other two models include 5-speed automatic transmission. The base model includes drive-by-wire throttle system, side curtain airbags, dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, active head restraints, security system, body-colored folding power side mirrors, VSA with traction control, 10 beverage holders, MP3/auxiliary input jack, cruise control, USB audio interface, illuminated steering wheel-mounted cruise controls, 160-Watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 4 speakers.
Fit Sport model is equipped with body-colored rear roofline spoiler and underbody kit, rear stabilizer bar, chrome exhaust finisher, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, floor mats, fog lights, 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 6 speakers as well as illuminated steering wheel-mounted audio controls while Fit Sport with navigation has Bluetooth, Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition and illuminated steering wheel-mounted phone and navigation controls along with all the features of the Fit Sport.
Video of 2012 Honda Fit Sport from youtube:
2. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The Sonic has expressive wheel arches with sleek and aggressive look. It is the first car that is made in the U.S. It is also the first car to provide 10 standard air bags in its class. This sub-compact car has defined front end along with headlamps (inspired from motorcycle), tail lamps and unique dual-port grille. It is available in 2 body styles such as a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Sonic is offered in six models such as 1LS, 2LS, 1LT, 2LT, 1LZ and 2LZ and 8 colors: silver ice metallic, summit white, black, cyber gray metallic, victory red, blue topaz metallic, inferno orange metallic ($195) and crystal red tintcoat ($325). The price of 2012 Chevrolet Sonic starts from $14,765 for the hatchback and $13,865 for the sedan.
The car includes 2 engine options: 1.8L 4-cylinder ECOTEC engine which churns out 138 hp power and 125 lb.-ft. of torque as well as 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which generates power of 138 hp and a torque of 148 lb.-ft. In just 7.8 seconds, the car can dash from 0 to 60 mph. 1LS, 1LT and 1LZ trims come with 5-speed manual transmission while other 3 trims have 6-speed automatic transmission. 1LS and 2LS trim feature OnStar for 6 months, remote keyless entry, 15-inch aluminum wheels, 10 air bags and StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System along with rollover sensor and Traction Control.
1LT and 2LT models include SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 3 trial months, 15-inch aluminum wheels, 10 air bags and power windows with driver express-up and down and anti-pinch feature while 1LZ and 2LZ models have Bluetooth wireless technology, StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with rollover sensor and Traction Control, 17-inch aluminum wheels, Fog Lamps, 10 air bags, leather wrapped steering wheel including cruise control and audio control buttons as well as AM/FM stereo with CD player and MP3 playback, supplementary input jack USB port and Bluetooth Audio Streaming.
Video of 2012 Chevy Sonic from youtube:
3. 2012 Ford Fiesta
The smallest car in U.S. lineup of the company, 2012 Ford Fiesta is both, fuel efficient and fun to drive. It has aerodynamic appearance along with Ford-signature three-bar chrome grille, LED supplemental parking lamps and razor-slash side panel. Like 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, it is also available in two body styles (4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback). It is available in 6 trims: S Sedan, S Hatchback, SE Sedan, SE Hatchback, SEL Sedan and SES Hatchback. It comes with a sport appearance package for SES hatchback models and two interior style packages for SEL sedan and SES hatchback trims. It is available in 8 colors with a price starts from $13,995 for Sedan and $14,895 for Hatchback.
This car is powered by 1.6L Ti-VCT Duratec I-4 engine which delivers 120hp power and 112 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine is mated with a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission. Along with all the standard features, S Sedan sports Electronic Power Assisted Steering, easy fuel capless fuel filler, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control and integrated blind spot mirrors. S Hatchback trim sports Rear decklid spoiler along and all the features of S Sedan. SE Sedan has Electronic Power Assisted Steering, message center with trip computer, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, unique cloth bucket seats, easy fuel capless fuel filler and integrated blind spot mirrors while SE Hatchback is also equipped with Rear decklid spoiler.
SEL Sedan and SES Hatchback feature Electronic Power Assisted Steering, message center with trip computer, LED Supplemental Parking Lamps with chrome bezel, AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, integrated blind spot mirrors, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, easy fuel capless fuel filler and SYNC AppLink.
Video of 2012 Ford Fiesta from youtube:
4. 2012 Kia Rio
Kia Rio sub-compact car has been totally renovated for 2012. 2012 Kia Rio has sleek design, sporty personality, more room, and impressive fuel economy. Kia Rio is wider and has lower roofline and longer wheelbase than other subcompacts. Rio’s both body styles (sedan and hatchback) share front doors and basic structures but not all the details. Surface cosmetics like tails, grilles and side scallops keep both of them separate. It is accessible in 8 trims such as 4dr Sdn Man LX, 5dr HB Man LX, 4dr Sdn Auto EX, 5dr HB Auto EX, 4dr Sdn Auto LX, 5dr HB Auto LX, 4dr Sdn Auto SX and 5dr HB Auto SX. All models of 2012 Kia Rio have price tag below $15,000.
2012 Kia Rio comes with 1.6L gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine which generates power of 138 hp and a torque of 123 pound-feet. In just 7.6 seconds, the car can rush from 0 to 60 mph. The engine is mated with standard six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission is standard on LX model while EX and SX models come only with automatic transmission. Rio LX models feature heated power mirrors, a cloth upholstery, wind-up windows and manual door locks, a trip computer, 15-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent wipers, tilt steering, air conditioning, six-way manual driver seat, split folding rear seat and AM/FM/CD/MP3/AUX/USB stereo with steering wheel controls. The hatchback LX model also sports rear wipe/wash. An optional Power window/door lock package is offered by LX automatics.
EX models are equipped with power windows and locks, a chrome grille frame, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, upgraded upholstery, sliding center console armrest, power-folding mirrors, upgraded audio speakers, metallic cabin trim with faux leather door panels, front tweeters, cruise control and chrome trim. Optional package for EX models are Idle Stop and Go, 15-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-folding outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and a soft-touch dash top. SX models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a sport-tuned suspension, dual exhaust tips, larger front brakes, UVO entertainment with rear camera, LED front accent/rear taillights, painted center dash and an improved gauge cluster display. Optional Premium package of SX models includes LED map lights, sunroof, UVO navigation, keyless ignition/entry, leather seating, pushbutton start/smart key, heated front seats and a navigation system.
Video of 2012 Kia Rio Sedan Review from youtube:
5. 2012 Hyundai Accent
2012 Hyundai Accent has Fluidic Sculpture design with modern and fluid perfection. It is made from scratch in order to feel much larger inside than it seems from outside. It features sharp styling, an excellent front fascia, improved interior, bold rear bumper and plenty of legroom & headroom. Accent provides 40 MPG fuel economy which makes it the first sub-compact car to offer this fuel economy. Kids can easily enter and exit from the cars thanks to its low step-in height. This sub-compact car looks much richer compare to its price. It is available in 3 trims: GLS sedan, GS hatchback and SE hatchback and 9 colors. There are nearly same features in all the models. The price of 2012 Hyundai Accent starts from $12,545.
The car comes with 1.6L Gamma 4-cylinder engine with D-VVT. The engine delivers 138hp power and 123 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be mated with 6-speed automatic transmission or manual. GLS sedan features 14-inch steel wheel with wheel covers, 6-way adjustable driver seat, comfort equipment package, Tilt steering wheel and 60/40 split folding rear seatback. GS hatchback is equipped with body color side exterior mirror; cruise control; 60/40 split folding rear seatback; rear wiper; 14-inch steel wheel with wheel covers; 6-way adjustable driver seat; power window, door and locks; Tilt steering wheel and Remote keyless entry. SE hatchback model features fog lights, sport-tuned steering, rear spoiler, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, steering wheel mounted audio controls, sport-tuned steering 60/40 split folding rear seatback as well as leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
Video of Hyundai Accent 2012 from youtube:
6. 2012 Ford Focus
2012 Ford Focus is a compact car with an all-new chassis and suspension. It includes sharp, sporty exterior style just like other Focus lineup. This car seems to be more flamboyant and stylish from inside and out. It has athletic Z body lines as well as roomy and comfortable interior. The lights also provide remarkable styling to the car. 2012 Ford Focus comes with two body styles sedan and hatchback. There are 8 fuel-efficient models such as Focus S Sedan, Focus SE Sedan, Focus SE 5-Door, Focus SEL Sedan, Focus SEL 5-Door, Focus Titanium Sedan, Focus Titanium 5-Door and Focus Electric. Price of 2012 Ford Focus begins from $16,500.
2012 Ford Focus is powered by 2.0L Ti-VCT I4 engine which churns out a power of 160 hp and torque of 146 pound feet. 2012 Ford Focus Electric BEV has a 92 kilowatt electric drive motor. 5-speed manual transmission is standard on S Sedan, SE Sedan and SE 5-Door while other models except Focus Electric have six speed manual transmission. Focus Electric is equipped with 107kW electric motor and 23 kWh liquid-cooled Lithium Ion battery. Users can recharge the battery on a 240-volt charging station. With all the standard features, Focus S Sedan has 15″ steel wheels with wheel covers and folding rear bench seat with 3 removable head restraints where as SE Sedan 16″ steel wheels with wheel covers, MyKey owner controls feature and folding rear bench seat with 3 removable head restraints.
Focus SE 5-Door has MyKey® owner controls feature, 16″ steel wheels with wheel covers and 60/40 split folding rear bench seat with 3 removable head restraints where as SEL Sedan & SEL 5-Door models sport MyFord Driver Connect Technology, 16″ painted aluminum wheels, SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system and Dual zone electronic automatic temperature control; Focus Titanium Sedan and 5-Door model feature 17″ sport aluminum wheels, HD Radio, Dual zone electronic automatic temperature control, MyFord Touch, SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system and 18″ aluminum wheels (optional). Focus Electric has unique 17″ painted aluminum wheels, 1-speed automatic transmission, Eco-friendly Seats, 240V charging station (optional) and SYNC with MyFord Touch with unique EV content.
Video of 2012 Ford Focus Review from youtube:
7. 2012 Chevrolet Cruze
This compact car is sleek and efficient compact which offers everything from fuel efficiency to safety and from impressive features to gorgeous styling. Sharp angles, taut curves beveled and hood of 2012 Chevrolet Cruze provide you the presence of a more high-priced car. It also provides safety and miles per gallon. Its spacious interior has more passenger room and cargo space. The car looks bigger due to its wide stance as well as large wheel and tire combination. The bold exterior design of the car leaves an enduring impression. It is available in 10 colors and 5 trims: LS, 1LT, 2LT, LTZ and ECO. You can get 2012 Chevrolet Cruze with a starting price of $16,800.
2012 Chevrolet Cruze comes with two engine options such as 1.8L 4-cylinder DOHC engine and 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The DOHC engine delivers power of 138 hp and a torque 125 of lb.-ft. While turbocharged engine produces 138 hp power and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. 1.8-liter 4-cylinder is standard on LS model and the other models have 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. LS and ECO trims include six-speed manual transmission. LS model has four-wheel antilock brakes, 16-inch Silver-painted wheel covers, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with three trial months, 10 standard air bags, Black outside power rearview mirrors, StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System with Traction Control and OnStar Directions & Connections for the first six months.
1LT trim is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, USB port, Bluetooth wireless technology, Steering wheel-mounted audio controls, body-color, power outside rearview mirrors Cruise control, Driver Convenience Package, all-Star Package and RS Appearance Package. 2LT model includes all the features of 1LT trim along with Sport-Tuned suspension, 17-inch split 5-spoke alloy wheels, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, heated/ power-adjustable leather appointed seats and touch-screen navigation system. LTZ model has all the features of 2LT trim plus chrome door handles, 18-inch split 5-spoke Silver-painted alloy wheels, uplevel instrument cluster, foglamps, Keyless entry/Keyless start, automatic climate control and ultrasonic rear park assist. Along with LTZ model features, Eco trim sports unique front fascia air dam, 17-inch 15-spoke polished forged-alumninum wheels with ultra-low rolling resistance tires, lower front grille air shutter and rear spoiler.
Video of 2012 Chevrolet Cruze from youtube:
8. 2012 Hyundai Elantra
2012 Hyundai Elantra is similar to 2011 Elantra with only little changes. The car has excellent styling, dynamic shapes and nice lines. Elantra is among the four cars of the company that won Vincentric’s “Best Value in America” award. 2012 Elantra is also among the 10 Best Green Cars for 2012 for the second consecutive year. The car sports “Fluidic Sculpture” design and high-end looks. It is available in 8 colors (shimmering white, silver, desert bronze, indigo night, black, red allure, blue sky metallic and gray) and two models such as GLS and Limited. The price of 2012 Hyundai Elantra starts from $15,345.
2012 Hyundai Elantra comes with 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine which delivers power of 148 hp and a torque of 131 pound-feet. The engine can be mated with 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic. GLS model features Comfort Equipment Package, 6-way adjustable driver seat, 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, Active ECO System and daytime running lights. Limited model is equipped with leather seating surfaces, heated front and rear seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth handsfree phone system, power tilt-and-slide sunroof, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Active ECO System and side mirror with turn signal indicators.
Video of 2012 Hyundai Elantra Review from youtube:
9. 2012 Kia Soul
Soul has been restyled for 2012 with a minor facelift, new drivetrains and lots of new interior features. The company has given it bigger headlights & grilles, enlarged fog lights as well as new bumper and taillights. It has unique looks and an amazing amount of interior space. It is a perfect combination of style and practicality with affordable price. 2012 Kia Soul also has improved materials and added sound deadening, which provide a higher-quality feel to the interior. Available in 3 punctuation-inspired trim: base, Soul + (Plus) and Soul! (Exclaim). You are able to buy 2012 Kia Soul at a starting price of $16,695.
2012 Kia Soul has two engine options such as 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. 1.6-liter engine delivers 138 hp power and a torque of 123 lb.-ft while 2.0-liter engine generates 164 hp and a torque of 147 lb.-ft. A 6-speed Steptronic automatic transmission is standard on Soul! model. Major features of base model are anti-lock braking system, 15″ steel wheels with full wheel covers, body colored door handles, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, dual front airbags & curtain airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, 60/40 split rear folding seats, front fog lights, anti-whiplash active front headrests, AUX and USB ports, traction control system, deep tint privacy glass, heated front seats, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, dual front side airbags, front and rear mud guards, power door locks, tilt and telescopic steering column, external temperature gauge, under floor cargo tray, vehicle stability management, heated power side mirrors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, hill assist control, trip computer and power windows with one-touch driver’s express down.
Soul + model is equipped with all the features of base model along with 16″ alloy wheels, luggage net, roof rails, “Soul” patterned seat cloth and door trim, SIRIUS satellite radio, side mirror integrated turn signal, air conditioning, remote keyless entry with panic function and front tweeter speakers. Along with all the features of Soul +, Soul! includes driver seat armrest, UVO infotainment, cruise control with steering-wheel mounted controls, Soul LED mood speakers, premium audio components and rearview back-up camera.
Video of 2012 Kia Soul review from youtube:
10. 2012 Mazda Mazda3
Mazda3 is a sleek and stylish compact car with high-end features and attractive looks. This fun and efficient car includes tidy dimensions, a sporty driving experience and a roomy cargo area. For 2012, Mazda has updated with new front grille, smoothed front bumper, a new lower air intake and new detailing on smiling grille. The majority of the changes were made to the exterior and underbody. It is available in six trims (5 sedans and one hatchback): i SV, i Sport, i Touring, i Grand Touring, s Touring and s Grand Touring. Starting price of Mazda3 is $15,200.
i SV and i Sport trims are powered by 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 5-speed manual or automatic transmission. This engine churns out a power of 148 hp and a torque of 135 lb-ft. I Touring, i Grand Touring models comes with SKYACTIV-G 2L 4-cylinder engine with SKYACTIV-MT 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. The engine delivers 155 hp power and 148 lb-ft torque. S Touring and s Grand Touring models feature MZR 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with 6-speed manual or 5-speed Sport automatic transmission. The engine produces a power of 167 hp and a torque of 168 lb-ft. i SV model includes 16-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, power side mirrors and windows, 4-wheel Anti-lock Brake System, active front headrests, front side-impact air bags, variable-intermittent wipers, advanced front air bags, Tire-Pressure Monitoring System, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, cloth-trimmed seats with 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback, front seat-belt pretensioners with force limiters, Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control System, AM/FM/CD/MP3-stereo and side-impact air curtains.
i Sport trim comes with all the features of i SV along with power door locks, air conditioning with pollen filter, remote keyless entry and ambient temperature display. i Touring model sports all the feature of i Sport trim plus 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible stereo, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, Multi Information Display, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio capability and trip computer. s Touring model features halogen fog lights, led rear combination taillights, power sliding-glass moonroof, welcome lighting system, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels , rear deck lip spoiler, dual zone automatic climate control system, dual exhaust with bright tips, Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System, power side mirrors with turn signal lamps, cloth-trimmed seats with 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback, Multi Information Display, sliding center console armrest, trip computer and Bose Centerpoint 10 Speaker Surround Sound System with AudioPilot.
In addition to i Touring features, i Grand Touring model has heated side mirrors, 8-way power driver’s seat, sliding center console armrest, power sliding-glass moonroof, welcome lighting system, Bose Centerpoint10 Speaker Surround Sound System with AudioPilot, Heated seats with 5-levels, full color compact navigation with Multi Information Display as well as leather-trimmed seats and door panel inserts. along with all the features of s Touring model, s Grand Touring model sports 8-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback, heated front seats with 5-level variable heat settings, leather-trimmed sport seats and full color compact navigation with Multi Information Display.
Video of 2012 Mazda 3 SkyActiv Drive and Review from youtube: