Introduction

When you start talking about the best cheap compact cars, cheap is one of those “relative” words. For example, to someone with $100,000 to spend on a car, $50,000 is probably cheap (which, uh, certainly isn't us). When we say cheap, we mean as far under $20,000 as you can get and still have something that can be reasonably considered a car. Which brings us to the definition of compact vs. subcompact. The best way to tackle this is to look at the Chevrolet lineup. Cruze is a compact, Sonic is a subcompact, which of course costs less—but it’s also smaller than a compact. We did make an exception to the subcompact vs. compact distinction in the form of Nissan’s Versa. We did so because in addition to being the lowest priced sedan out there, its back seat offers more legroom than many of the compacts on this list of the best cheap compact cars.