Best 2012 Compact Cars

Compact cars are now out selling midsize cars, which is a big shift for the U.S. market. As car prices rise and middle class incomes stagnate, buyers are looking to stay within their budgets and purchase more affordable, fuel-miserly cars. Unlike midsize models, most compact models are also offered in hatchback form, which offers buyers more choices and utility.

In 2010, there was a combined total of nearly 700,000 Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Ford Focus sold in the U.S. This is an impressive figure and the numbers look to be up even more for compact cars in 2011. But with all the competition out there are these three models really the best compact cars?

Competition is fierce and the push to get new models to market is swift. You can already purchase new generation 2012 Ford Focus and the new generation 2012 Honda Civic at your local dealer. The 2012 Mazda3 will offer a more fuel-efficient and more powerful base engine.

Toyota is not debuting an all-new Corolla until 2013 and the pressure is on for them to take a big step forward with the model. The model’s engine has changed little since 2003. Production delays from the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami have hampered Honda, Toyota and other Japanese automakers.

At the wheel
Creative Commons License photo credit: brownpau
Creative Commons License photo credit: irrezolut

Our votes for the three best 2012 compact cars are:

1. Hyundai Elantra – The Elantra has a stylish modern design and sophistication with great features and luxurious interior. For less than $21,000, the Elantra Limited offers heated front and rear leather seats, a navigation system, and backup camera. There are very few cars under $40,000 that offer this feature making the car a great value. The Elantra is also lauded for its comfortable ride and offers fuel economy of 29-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.

2. Honda Civic – The 2012 Civic is lighter, quieter, roomier, and more-fuel efficient than the 2011 Civic. Despite not increasing its power, Honda has made the existing 1.8-liter, 140 horsepower several miles per gallon more efficient. The model’s five-speed automatic transmission is now antiquated in this class.

3. Mazda Mazda3 – The Mazda3 has perennially been ranked near the top of the compact class since it debuted in 2004. The 2012 Mazda3 features new SkyActiv engine technology, which boosts power while increasing fuel-economy. The 2012 model also has improvements in suspension and steering for better ride quality and greater aerodynamics.

While deciding the best 2012 compact cars is subjective, the Elantra, Civic, and Mazda3 are three great choices in this class. The Elantra is also offered in station wagon form as the Elantra Touring. The Civic is only offered in coupe and sedan forms. Honda buyers will have to opt for the Fit for a hatchback. The Mazda 3 is offered in four-door sedan and hatchback forms.

For fuel-efficient minded drivers, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a best compact car choice. It offers fuel economy of 30-mpg city and 42-mph highway, which is better than many hybrid models, for an MSRP of $22,995. Its turbo-charged diesel engine generates a lot of torque for spirited acceleration. According to Motor Trend, the Jetta TDI has a 0-60 time of 8 seconds, which is faster than most of its compact competitors. The Jetta also has the largest cargo volume of any compact sedan model.

What Do You Think is the Best 2012 Compact Car?

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Originally posted 2011-06-06 13:34:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


  1. Richard says:

    I’ve been researching many new compact cars for overall value and it came down to two. the 2012 Civic LX and the Elantra. My Ford five Hundred has one foot in the grave ( Thank God )and I need to replace it real soon. While my Ford was in the garage for the 4th time this month, I rented a new Elantra from Budget car rental for 24 hrs. This car felt real cheap. The drivers seat was super uncomfortable, it did not handle cracked and bumpy roads well and felt like a real econo-box.

    I rove this to a local Honda dealer in Montreal and took the 2012 Civic for a test run. I purchased the Civic on-the-spot.

  2. […] Best 2012 Compact Cars | Best 2012 Compact Car | Cheapest New …While deciding the best 2012 compact cars is subjective, the Elantra, Civic, and Mazda3 are three great choices in this class. Best Selling Small Car; Fiat 500 Abarth; 2011 Ford Fiesta; 2012 Mazda3; Categories … Access This Document […]

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