The 2017's will be coming at the end of the year, but the 2016 model year has seen some small cars with pep that are definitely worth your time. There are lots of different bells and whistles that are available from every manufacturer, so to try to make it easier to tell which car will fit you best, we have this base model to base model comparison of the Impreza, Focus, Civic, and Corolla. Find out which car works for you!
- All wheel drive standard
- 12.0 cubic feet cargo volume
- 148 horsepower, 145 lb-ft torque
- 34/25 miles per gallon
- 5.7 inches ground clearance
- Four-wheel independent suspension
- 6.2 HD touchscreen with USB and Bluetooth connectivity
- Brake assist
- MSRP of $18,295
The Impreza is an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and has the highest IIHS Safety Rating possible. It's part of Kelley Blue Book's 2016 Most Trusted Brand, Best Overall Brand, and Best Resale Value Brand. The Impreza is a budding part of Subaru's line up and why it's one of Consumer Reports Best Brands and 100% recommended models and ranks #2 of all manufacturers.
In part because of the standard all wheel drive, the Impreza is bested in gas mileage. While the five-door Impreza dominates the others in cargo space, the sedan version doesn't for the most standard features and the best safety rating, however, you can't beat it. You can check out each new Impreza to see if we have one you like.
- Front wheel drive
- 13.2 cubic feet cargo volume
- 160 horsepower, 146 lb-ft torque
- 36/26 miles per gallon
- 4.7 inches ground clearance
- Independent front suspension, independent control blade rear suspension
- MSRP of $17,255
The Ford focus will surprise you with a little extra space, a little extra horsepower, and some pretty good gas mileage. It does have the lowest starting MSRP of any of the vehicles, but it misses out on the touchscreen dash, the all-wheel drive, and the safety rating of other options. While it did get several good marks in testing, it was neither a Top Safety Pick nor a Top Safety Pick Plus (the rank of the Impreza and the Civic). The Focus will probably serve you well enough with the best horsepower and torque rating of the group, edging out the Impreza, but it is a full inch closer to the ground which may or may not be an issue depending on how adventurous you are.
- Front-wheel drive
- 15.1 cubic feet cargo volume
- 158 horsepower, 138 lb-ft torque
- 40/27 miles per gallon
- 4.9 inches ground clearance
- Strut front suspension and linked rear suspension
- 5 touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity
- MSRP of $18,640
The Honda Civic is has the highest MSRP cost of these vehicles, but it comes with some nice features. It has a touch screen (a bit smaller than the Impreza), great cargo space, and even better gas mileage. The Civic has an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating despite not have all-wheel drive standard.
- Front wheel drive
- 13.0 cubic feet cargo volume
- 132 horsepower, 128 lb-ft torque
- 37/28 miles per gallon
- 5.5 inches ground clearance
- Independent front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension
- 6.1 touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity
- MSRP of $17,300
The base model Corolla is a pretty good compromise across the board for features. It has a touchscreen display almost as big as the Imprezas, solid gas mileage, decent ground clearance, and a reasonable MSRP. The biggest place it misses out is the safety rating. Like the Focus, it couldn't muster an IIHS Top Safety Pick nor Top Safety Pick Plus rating despite doing well on most testing.
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Clearly, we like the Impreza. It has the most standard features of any of the models we compared, and is the only one to come with all wheel drive. When it snows as much as it does in Maine, you really come to appreciate that. If you want a nice balance of cost and capability, the Impreza takes it. We have to admit that each of these cars has their charm, and the Honda Civic does a lot that the Impreza does, too. But since it costs more and misses the all wheel drive, we'll call it a well-earned second place.
Not having that safety rating when the Civic and Impreza each have the highest safety rating the IIHS bestows isn't a dealbreaker necessarily, but it's something to think about when it comes to the Focus and Corolla. You can peruse our Imprezas or you can take a look at our used vehicles to see if we have one of our runners up in stock. You can also check out our other comparisons if you want to see more information.
All efforts have been made to assure accurate information; information was pulled from manufacturers' websites.
Safety ratings are based on IIHS data which includes accessories and features that may or may not be available to base models.