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15 Best Small Cars in Canada for 2024 + Where to Buy Them

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Looking for the smallest cars in Canada? 

If you want to narrow down your choices, consider choosing between Toyota Carolla Hatchback, Honda Civic Hatchback, and Kia Rio. To save extra money, you may also want to look into getting a used Toyota Prius or Volkswagen Jetta. 

This article covers the 15 best small cars in Canada, including subcompact and used options.

Key Takeaways

  • The advantages of getting a small car include lower maintenance fees, easy parking, and saving money on gas as it uses less fuel. 
  • Having limited room, tiny hauling abilities, and fewer horsepower are some notable downsides of owning small cars. 
  • To choose the best small car for your needs, consider your budget, assess your lifestyle, and test drive a few cars. 

Best Small Hatchback Cars in Canada

When it comes to small hatchback cars, Canada has a lot to offer. Here are some top contenders that caught my attention:

1. Toyota Corolla Hatchback

image showing Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Credit: Toyota

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback offers impressive handling and stability and a spacious interior. Its 2.0 Litre engine delivers more than enough power to accelerate quickly and smoothly.

It’s also environmentally friendly and has a low maintenance cost. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a reliable and practical car.

2. Honda Civic Hatchback

Credit: Honda

You will love the Honda Civic hatchback when driving across diverse terrain types, including urban streets, highways, and curvy routes. The car’s 1.5-Liter engine showed remarkable balance and composure throughout our journey.

The suspension system delivered a smooth ride as well, demonstrating its capabilities as a reliable and enjoyable vehicle.

3. Kia Rio

Credit: Kia

The Kia Rio is a reliable and feature-packed hatchback with a powerful 1.6 Litre engine and a smooth-shifting manual transmission. It also comes with advanced safety features like forward collision avoidance and lane departure warning, heated front seats, and a rearview camera. 

Additionally, it has a touchscreen display audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. For me, the Kia Rio is excellent value for money, with a starting price of under $20,000.

4. Kia Forte5

Credit: Kia

Overall, I like the interior of the Kia Forte5. Despite its low price point, the car exudes a feeling of luxury. The technology is intuitive and easy to use, and the ride is comfortable due to its powerful 2.0 Litre engine.

The Forte is a worthy and affordable alternative to other compact sedans on the market.

5. Subaru Impreza

Credit: Subaru

The Subaru Impreza is an excellent option if you are looking for a reliable and capable car. Its all-wheel-drive capabilities are perfect for those living in areas with challenging weather conditions. 

Additionally, the interior is roomy and equipped with many useful features, making it a great choice for both daily drivers and families. Subaru has done a great job of creating a well-rounded and versatile vehicle that meets the needs of many drivers.

Best Used Small Cars in Canada

If you’re open to purchasing used cars, Canada boasts a range of options. Here are some reliable choices:

6. Toyota Prius

Credit: Toyota

The Toyota Prius is a fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicle with a hybrid powertrain that combines a gasoline engine with an electric motor. Estimates show it gets around 4.1 Litres/100 km in the city and 4.3 Litres/100 km on the highway. 

The Prius also has a comfortable and spacious interior with plenty of cargo space. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a reliable and eco-friendly vehicle.

7. Hyundai Elantra Essential

Credit: Hyundai

The Hyundai Elantra is a reliable and feature-rich compact sedan. I especially like its comfortable interior, smooth ride, and available heated seats, which make it a great choice for commuters. 

The Elantra’s sporty design and assertive posture also make it stand out on the road. In case you need a dependable daily driver or a stylish weekend cruiser, the Elantra delivers.

8. Volkswagen Jetta

Credit: Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Jetta is a reliable and feature-packed compact sedan that is sure to meet your everyday need. With its spacious interior, precise handling, and reputation for durability and reliability, it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular small cars in Canada. 

Plus, its sleek design and powerful 1.5 Litre turbo engine make it a head-turner on the road. If you’re in the market for a new car, the Jetta is definitely worth considering.

9. Kia Forte

Credit: Kia

Easy to maneuver and navigate is the impression I got when I checked out the Kia Forte. Its responsive steering and smooth acceleration make it a joy to drive, even in heavy traffic. 

The fuel economy is also impressive, with good mileage per gallon. Overall, the Kia Forte is a practical and efficient car that meets its intended purpose.

10. Mazda 3 Sport GX

Credit: Mazda

The Mazda 3 Sport GX is a capable compact sedan that’s perfect for urban drivers. With its powerful 2.5-litre turbocharged engine and precise handling, it’s designed to deliver a smooth and engaging driving experience. 

The interior is spacious and comfortable, with premium materials and a user-friendly infotainment system. It is a great companion for any adventure.

11. Infiniti Q50

Credit: Infiniti

The Infiniti Q50 is a remarkable vehicle that offers a unique blend of style, performance, and innovative technology. With its bold design, agile handling, and powerful V6 engine, it’s a joy to drive on both highways and city streets. 

The interior is tastefully appointed with premium materials and advanced features like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems. Whether you’re commuting to work or taking a scenic route, it is sure to impress

12. Mitsubishi Mirage

Credit: Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi Mirage is a fuel-efficient subcompact car that excels in both practicality and affordability. 

I like its ease of maneuverability and low cost of ownership, which make it an attractive option for those looking for a reliable and efficient driving companion.

13. BMW 3 Series

Credit: BMW

After doing thorough research regarding the BMW 3 Series, I was amazed. The car handles beautifully, and the engine is powerful yet smooth, making it a joy to drive. 

The interior is stylish and comfortable, with features to keep you entertained on long drives. It is available with both gasoline and hybrid engines. 

14. Honda Civic

Credit: Honda

The Honda Civic is top of the list for reliable small used cars in Canada. This sleek and sporty model also provides a smooth ride and plenty of power, making it a great choice for those who love to drive. 

With its fuel-efficient engine and comfortable interior, the Civic is a top pick for anyone looking for a reliable and fun-to-drive car.

15. Nissan Sentra

image showing nissan sentra
Credit: Nissan

The Nissan Sentra is a practical and comfortable sedan that’s perfect for daily use. Its spacious interior and generous cargo capacity make it ideal for transporting passengers and gear. 

The Sentra also has a long list of standard features, such as Bluetooth connectivity and advanced safety features, making it a great value for its price. With its fuel economy, the Sentra is perfect for daily commuting or running errands.

Where Can You Buy the Best Used Cars in Canada?

There are many ways to buy a used car in Canada, depending on your preferences and budget. Here are some popular options:

  • CarsFast: An online comparison portal that allows you access to several finance choices for your next auto loan. Check out our review here.
  • Auto Trader: A popular online marketplace for buying and selling new and used vehicles in Canada. It allows you to search for used cars based on location, make, model, and price.
  • Kijiji Autos: Another famous online marketplace in Canada where individuals can buy, sell, or trade used cars.
  • Dealerships: Visit local dealerships that sell used cars from various brands. They often have a wide selection of vehicles and may offer financing options.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Look for private sellers advertising their vehicles on this platform. But beware, they may hide details about the car’s history.
  • Auctions: Attend public auctions held by companies like Copart or A Better Bid, where you can find used cars at discounted prices. 
  • Certified Pre-Owned (CPO): Some dealerships offer CPO programs, which guarantee the quality and condition of the vehicle. It provides peace of mind, even though it may be the pricier option.
  • Leasing: Instead of buying, consider leasing a used car. With leasing, you use the car for a set period of time (two to three years), then return it for a lower purchase price.
  • Trade-ins: Bring your old car to trade it in for a newer model. Many dealerships offer trade-in values that can help offset the cost of a new purchase.

Advantages of a Small Car

There are many advantages to owning a small car, including:

  • Lower Cost of Owning: Small cars cost less and need less upkeep compared to big ones.
  • Easy Parking: Great for cramped spots like cities and towns.
  • Good Gas Mileage: Save cash on gas in the long run since they use less fuel.
  • Fun to Drive: More agile and enjoyable to drive than bigger autos.

Downsides of a Small Car

While small cars can offer several advantages, there are also some potential downsides to consider. Here are some of the disadvantages of owning a small car:

  • Limited Room: Small cars lack the space needed to move around bulky objects or carry multiple passengers.
  • Uncomfortable Ride: These compact automobiles prioritize efficiency and handling over passenger comfort.
  • Weak Handling: Small cars struggle with inclement weather due to their reduced stability and traction.
  • Tiny Hauling Abilities: Lightweight and economical, small cars typically have lower towing capacities than larger vehicles.
  • More Expensive Coverage: Some small cars might charge higher premiums because of their diminutive stature and potential accident risks.
  • Underpowered: Depending on the precise model, small cars may possess fewer horsepower and slower acceleration when compared to larger cars, making them seem slow on the freeway.
image showing photos of best small cars in canada

How to Choose the Best Small Car for You

Choosing the right small car depends on many factors, including your budget, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Here are some tips:

  • Know your spending limits: Create a budget for yourself and abide by it. Take into account the purchase price, financing fees, and recurring costs such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance.
  • Assess your way of life: Reflect on how you intend to use the car. Do you need plenty of cargo room? Will you carry many passengers? Are you searching for a car that’s easy to park?
  • Research various designs: Check out the different attributes of various tiny cars. Focus on aspects like fuel economy, security rankings, and infotainment systems.
  • Test drive a few: Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, give a few cars a try. Get behind the wheel and observe how they perform on the street.
  • Safety first: Ensure the car you select has a solid safety history. Search for characteristics like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.
  • Keep maintenance in mind: Some less expensive cars may need more maintenance, so consider that when deciding.
  • Negotiate the best offer: When you find the ideal car, bargain for the finest price and terms. Don’t hesitate to leave if the offer isn’t suitable.

Should You Buy a Small Car?

Deciding on a small car depends on you. If you drive in cities, want to save fuel, and like easy parking, a small car works. 

But if you travel a lot or need more space, a bigger car is better. Think about your life and what you like, and that will help you pick the right car.

Cars Fast

Cars Fast is a popular destination for getting a car loan regardless of your credit score. The platform has partnerships with top loan providers, including TD, Scotiabank, RBC, HSBC, and others.

Interest rate: Varies.

Loan term: 12-96 months.

Maximum loan amount: $75,000.

Eligibility: Earn at least $20,000/yr, reside in ON, BC, or AB; and be employed for 3 months+.

Loans Canada

Loans Canada is a loan comparison platform for all kinds of personal loans, car loans, debt consolidation loans, and bad credit loans. It has partnerships with some of Canada’s largest lenders and offers free access to your Equifax credit score.

Interest rate: 2.99% to 46.96%.

Loan term: 4-60 months.

Maximum loan amount: Up to $50,000.

FAQs

What is the most economical compact car in Canada?

The title of the most economical compact car can vary by year, but options like the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, and Hyundai Elantra often rank highly for their fuel efficiency.

What is the best subcompact car in Canada?

Subcompact car preferences differ, but models like the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent often receive praise for their compact yet versatile designs.

What is the easiest small car to drive?

Ease of driving can be subjective, but cars with responsive steering and good visibility, like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, are often considered user-friendly.

Which car depreciates the least in Canada?

The depreciation rate can vary, but cars known for retaining their value include Toyota and Honda models, such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

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