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May 28, 2020, 5:05 a.m. EDT

The 10 best affordable family compact cars

Looking for something smaller? These zippy cars are all below $25,000

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By KBB Editors


Volkswagen
The Volkswagen Golf.

If you’ve looked at KBB’s  12 Best Family Cars  for 2020, you’ve seen our top picks for minivans and compact, midsize, and full-size SUVs. However, we understand that not everyone is looking for a vehicle that size, or perhaps even in that price range. Here are our choices for the shoppers who are looking for something smaller. They offer plenty of cargo space, value, and safety features, and have MSRPs lower than $25,000.

2020 Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf “ is a practical, handsome hatchback with the athletic driving manners for which European cars are known, all at a digestible price.” This VW /zigman2/quotes/204431732/composite VWAGY -1.46%   5-door hatchback boasts fuel economy as good as 37 mpg on the highway, plus nearly 53 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the front row of seats. Standard safety includes Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring (Front Assist), Blind Spot Monitor, and Rear Traffic Alert. 

2020 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback

The Mazda3 /zigman2/quotes/206326885/composite MZDAY -0.48%   is one of the most fun-to-drive compact cars out there, but that doesn’t take away from the car’s practicality or its appeal as a family car. Not only is it the only non-hybrid compact car to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, but the class-above interior comes with lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitor, driver-attention monitor, and automatic high beams. The cargo area can accommodate more than 47 cubic feet of stuff with the second row folded, which is plenty of space for diapers, strollers, and any other goodies you want to tote. 

2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback


Toyota
The 2020 Toyota Corolla

The Corolla Hatchback blends Toyota’s /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -1.76%   strong reputation for safety with the company’s recommitment to sporty cars in a model that starts at a budget-friendly $22,345 with a CVT. (Want to save more? Get the less-expensive version with a 6-speed manual.) Choosing the CVT also gets you excellent fuel economy, better than with the manual transmission. Whatever model you prefer, you’ll benefit from Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0, with a pre-collision warning system with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and assist, adaptive cruise control and auto high-beam headlights. 

2020 Nissan Rogue Sport


Nissan
The Nissan Rogue

Larger than the Nissan /zigman2/quotes/207656007/composite NSANY +5.71%   Kicks but smaller than the Rogue, the fuel-efficient Rogue Sport is a subcompact SUV that offers scaled-down Rogue styling and a bevy of standard safety features, including blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, and the Safety Shield 360 suite with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, auto high beams, rear automatic braking plus lane-departure warning and intervention. 

2020 Mazda CX-30


Mazda
The Mazda CX-30

Mazda’s newest subcompact SUV is based on the same laudable platform as the company’s Mazda3 sedan and hatchback but adds ride height and value pricing to the recipe. With the CX-30, Mazda has placed a strong emphasis on value, as for its $23,000 base MSRP, you get adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and automatic high beams standard. The CX-30 is also projected to offer strong resale value. 

2020 Subaru Crosstrek


Subaru
The Subaru Crosstrek.

Subaru offers two compelling subcompact Family Car options: the Crosstrek and the Impreza. While they’re based on the same reliable foundation and come standard with all-wheel drive, the Crosstrek is the choice for those who anticipate adventures in the backcountry, as it comes with more body cladding and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. However, if you’re a die-hard city dweller, you can choose the Impreza 5-door, which costs a little less. 

Read: These 3 EVs are the lowest cost to own over 5 years

2020 Honda HR-V

Thanks to the Honda /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -1.28%   HR-V’s smart interior design and excellent fuel efficiency, this subcompact SUV packs a lot of punch. With its flip-up Magic Seat in the back, the HR-V can hold taller items like furniture for the nursery and offers almost 60 cubic feet of cargo space. Advanced driver-assist and safety features standard in all but the base model. Excellent resale and reliability data round out this smart small family-car choice. 

2020 Hyundai Kona


Hyundai
The Hyundai Kona

With the versatility of a hatchback and ride height of an SUV, the Hyundai Kona offers an appealing mix of fuel efficiency, safety systems, and helpful features. It’s our Subcompact SUV Best Buy of 2020. It combines practicality, efficiency, value, fun nature, and an excellent warranty. Better yet, every Hyundai /zigman2/quotes/204364212/composite HYMTF +0.26%   Kona comes standard with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a driver attention monitor. Blind-spot monitoring doesn’t cost much more. 

2020 Kia Soul


Kia
The Kia Soul

For the best bang-for-your-buck cargo volume, check out the Kia Soul. New for 2020, the 5-passenger Soul’s boxy hatchback layout provides a whopping 62 cubic feet of space behind the first row. A range of advanced driver-assist and safety features are offered. This IIHS Top Safety Pick boasts excellent 5-Year Cost to Own numbers. 

Also see: 8 affordable new cars priced well below $20k

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback


Honda
The 2020 Honda Civic.

The 5-passenger hatchback version of the Civic provides 26 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up, and more than 46 cubic feet with the second row down. That’s plenty of space for diapers and supplies from the local membership warehouse. This Best Resale Value, 5-Year Cost to Own, and Best Buy champ boasts highway fuel economy as high as 40 mpg. The range is more than 420 miles on a single tank. Available safety features include Honda’s excellent duo of the LaneWatch blind-spot camera and the Honda Sensing suite of safety features.

This story originally ran on KBB.com .

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$96.91 billion
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$ 3.16
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$4.01 billion
Rev. per Employee
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$ 141.31
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$198.51 billion
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$ 10.36
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Market Cap
$18.81 billion
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$ 29.35
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Market Cap
$50.45 billion
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$628,000
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US : U.S.: OTC
$ 38.50
+0.10 +0.26%
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Nov. 25, 2020 12:12p
P/E Ratio
20.69
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N/A
Market Cap
$37.28 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.30M
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