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Best Compact or Subcompact Car in 2023: We Hand Out Our Auto123 Award!

Auto123 Award Winner, Toyota Corolla | Photo: Toyota
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Khatir Soltani
All three finalists constitute purchases we can recommend in 2023

•    Auto123 presents its annual awards in 22 different categories.

•    For the Best Compact or Subcompact Car of 2023, here are our finalists and winner!

•    In the running are the Mazda3, the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic.  

•    The three finalists are all purchases that are recommended by the Auto123 team.

Every year, you our readers are kind enough to await with interest Auto123's verdicts in declaring the winners across various vehicle categories. This year, the battles were once again ferocious, with many of the votes very close. There were arguments and maybe a couple of tears.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, 22 vehicles were declared winners in their category. If you want to know what are recommended buys in the Compact or Subcompact Car segment, here’s what happened this year in this category.

There was a time, not so long ago, when there were enough cars on the market to award winners in each of the subcompact car and compact car segments. However, things have changed pretty drastically, which is obvious to anyone who looks at all the SUVs out in traffic on any given day. For the past few years, thus, we have been combining the two categories into one. In the subcompact category, counting the number of models left on the market takes only the fingers on one hand... 

Still, all of that doesn't change the way we evaluate vehicles. Meaning that a subcompact car can constitute a better buy than a compact car. We don't just take into account a model’s interior space or power, for example. We also rate its practicality, its drivability and of course, its value. Bang for buck, never a insignificant consideration. 

That said, as it happened this year, three compact cars were left standing as our three finalists this year: the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3. We agree, there are no bad choices here. 

2023 Toyota Corolla XSE white
2023 Toyota Corolla XSE white | Photo: Toyota

With the Corolla, you get a model that comes in many flavors, including a hybrid configuration and all-wheel drive this year, a great addition to the class as a convenience. With reliability and resale value always at the top of the list, many have put the Corolla very high on their list. 

2022 Honda Civic Sedan sport red
2022 Honda Civic Sedan sport red | Photo: Honda

The same goes for the Honda Civic, which continues to be a complete and well put together car. The current model is already in its second full year and it continues to impress. Its price has risen substantially, however, which still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many. 

2023 Mazda 3 red
2023 Mazda 3 red | Photo: D.Boshouwers

Finally, with the Mazda3, you get a sure thing in terms of reliability and driving pleasure. Whether it's in its base configuration or with its turbocharged engine, it always offers the same incisive and reassuring handling. The only downside is the poor visibility on board the hatchback. 

With three models of this quality, it’s no surprise if we tell you the vote was very close, a winner tough to choose. This year, it was the Toyota Corolla that came out on top, mainly because of the additions that were made to the model this year, including the all-wheel-drive option.

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada