U.S. SALES OF SUBCOMPACT CARS – MAY 2010


Think of three reasons people buy subcompact cars when there are larger, more powerful, better-equipped available. The first thing that probably came to mind was price. That led your mind towards value. Thinking of value brought further thoughts of cost. 

Yep. Price, value, and cost – come to think of it, the same thing. How much money do you have to spend, how little can you spend? Typical buyers would choose a Hyundai Elantra instead of a Hyundai Accent…. if the Elantra didn’t require spending more money. In other words, people buy a subcompact car because that’s what they can afford. As an added bonus, small cars require very little fuel and don’t depreciate nearly as much as a very expensive large car. 
Thus, the fact that the most popular car on this list is also the second-cheapest, only $20 more than the cheapest, won’t surprise you at all. You like the Honda Fit best? You’ll be forced to pay the highest price. Outside of incentives, the domestic alternative from Chevrolet costs a couple grand more; even the Korean Kia Rio is priced above the Nissan Versa. The Hyundai Accent actually has the lowest U.S. base price ($9,970) so it won’t shock you to discover it’s one of Canada’s most popular cars. The hype regarding the introduction of the 2011 Ford Fiesta is well-deserved: the Fiesta is a really nice car. But keep in mind, the Fiesta’s base price is $13,320.

  • justintw

    Only car I like less than the Versa on this list is the Aveo. Versa wins anyway. I guess it doesn't matter what I think.

  • lavery

    They're all ugly. Except the new Fiesta. Except when the Fiesta is a hatchback i should say.

  • Steffani

    Too bad so many people are into buying very ugly cars.

  • Anonymous

    When buying brand-new, I can see how a sub-compact makes some sense. But when buying used, I don’t see it.

    If a person can scrape up a few hundred more- maybe up to 1500 – you can usually get a roughly comparable compact instead of sub-compact – and loads more room, power and comfort. Maybe you want a Fit or (grossly overrated) Yaris? They are trendy right now, and going to command a stiff price. Maybe go for a one-model-year older Corolla or Civic instead.

    My friend and I both bought 5-year old cars with somewhat comparable mileage, and her Toyota Echo was actually more expensive than my Hyundai Elantra. And mine has automatic transmission, too.