Editor choice

Best Small Hatchbacks – ranked by our experts 2023-2024

Best Small Hatchbacks – The best vehicles on the road, ranked by our experts:

#1 – Honda Civic

The 2023 Honda Civic Type-R is hands-down the most amazing new vehicle to release this year! The updated exterior styling with the upgraded tech, as well as the refreshed internal components in the engine, suspension, and overall chassis rigidity all working in unison with each other makes this car feel so much more refined in comparison to other luxury sports cars. Videos and pictures do not do justice in portraying how good this car looks in person. I love this car and will continue to love it during our many adventures together moving forward! Everything’s great on this thing. Would like to have had some more creature comforts in the car but comparing other vehicle prices, you can’t beat it in our current economy. Don’t buy a used car the same price as a new car, especially if you’re gunna load it up with so many miles. I got the silver color, not sure what the correct name of the color is, with black, sporty 18” wheels makes it look sweeeeet. Just need to invest in tinting windows. It’s spacious interior is great for a small family but for road trips, I’d rather use a bigger car, not this one. You won’t regret this purchase for a daily driver.

#2 – Mazda 3

I purchased the 2021 Mazda 3 turbo hatch in November and it has never been 100%. From the first week I had it the airbag light came on and I had it looked at by three different dealerships that have told me nothing is wrong. Finally found the problem almost four months later to be the airbag sensor in the drivers seat which happens to be backordered until the summer. The diagnosis itself caused even more problems. Now the car randomly vibrates somewhere and it’s not a safety feature or road related. No idea what’s causing it. And several very loud weird rattles that are road related coming from the back of the car, the seatbelt adjuster, and even from the HUD being loose. The installation of the sensor itself is invasive and they have to take apart the seat to get to it which leads me to believe that won’t be the last of the constant stream of issues I’ve been dealing with. Very disappointing as I have been a Mazda enthusiast for years. Other than the annoying problem and possible lack of airbag function, the car drives well and is very comfortable other than the strange noises that drive me crazy. The Bose sound system is the best feature in my opinion and the updated infotainment system is great.

#3 – MINI Clubman

The 2018 Mini Cooper Clubman S is the best small car that I have every owned. I was more then happy to trade in my 2017 Subaru Impreza Premium for my fully loaded Clubman S automatic in Dynamic Red Metallic. From the first minute, the differences between these two could not be more stark. I love the acceleraton of having the turbo 2.0 litre engine, combined with the 8 speed automatic. I decieded to get a fully loaded car as I was tired to having such minimal amenties in my old Subaru. I’m so glad that I did as I just enjoy the car so much and it’s a real pleasure to drive too. Years ago, I test drove a first generation Mini Cooper S and I thought the ride was too harsh much more towards sport. My current car is much more friendly for a long drive. I’m glad that I got the larger Mini as the extra space has come in handy for daily living, commuting, and shopping then smaller 3 door model. I have found that the car is as refined as the 3 series BMW too. I am happy to recommend the Mini Cooper Clubman S as a great all around vehicle and it’s reliable too.

#4 – Subaru Impreza

Great riding, handling and comfortable car with a super stiff, solid chassis and large cargo area with the seats down. Plenty of power with a willing, smooth powertrain though it is not a Hot Hatch. First car with a CVT (other car is a WRX) and don’t even notice it, it just goes how you expect it to. We recently completed a 1,400 mile road trip, everything from L.A. traffic, desolate freeways to winding roads in the Redwoods and it performed superbly. Upgraded EyeSight/ACC almost drives itself and very confidence inspiring, efficient HVAC, great stereo and easy controls- even the voice controls. 35 MPG and drove 12 hours one day in the very comfortable seats. Misses – not much. A little more torque would be welcome and it rides a little low so you gotta watch dips and curbs. It also is missing a couple of features I would have liked: power passenger seat, memory seat/mirrors, rear vents, rear power port/tailgate light but all minor stuff especially for the price of entry. 3000 miles in so still early but so far it’s all the car I was hoping for based on my needs and research.


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