For those who enjoy driving, the Mazda3 remains at the top of the small-car class—thanks most to its great steering and suspension tuning, but also now to its new fuel-efficient yet responsive powertrains.
We find that the Ford Focus is closest to the Mazda3 in providing driving enjoyment, although the steering in the Focus isn't quite as nicely tuned and weighted.
The Honda Civic has been refreshed quite extensively for 2013, but the 2012 version was a step behind in refinement and features.
At the opposite end of the compact-car market is the Chevrolet Cruze, and it feels more like a large sedan than a nimble small car.
And for those who want a good, full-featured small car without the driving excitement, the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra fit the bill--with the Elantra offering a stronger value for those who factor style and design into their priorities.
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|2013 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings||2013 Chevrolet CruzeBrowse Used Listings||2013 Ford FocusBrowse Used Listings||2013 Honda CivicBrowse Used Listings||2013 Hyundai ElantraBrowse Used Listings||2013 Toyota CorollaBrowse Used Listings|
|18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy||23 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy||28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||26 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4|
|Compact||Midsize Cars||Compact||Compact Cars||Midsize cars||Compact|
|4-Door Sedan Manual i SV||4-Door Sedan Manual LS||4-Door Sedan S||4-Door Manual LX||4-Door Sedan Manual GLS (Alabama Plant) *Ltd Avail*||4-Door Sedan Manual L (Natl)|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Sedan||Sedan||Sedan||Sedan||Sedan||4 Door Sedan|