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Types of Subcompact Cars Explained In 2022

Types of Subcompact Cars Explained In 2022

If you are looking for a car type that offers a fun and thrilling driving experience with remarkable fuel efficiency in a small size, even smaller than the compact car category, then subcompact cars are the ones you need.

A car type that combines fuel economy, convenience, and affordability is going to become your favorite. These days, a wide variety of these types of cars is available in the market due to manufacturing both domestic and import models by different car manufacturers.

If you wish to know about subcompact cars and their various types, continue reading this article, where we discuss this exciting car category.

4 Types of Subcompact Cars

The cars whose length falls between 4’6″ and 5’7″ are categorized as ‘Subcompact Cars’ by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The car type is defined and distinguished from other car types based on its trunk space and the passengers it can carry.

They are commonly known as ‘city cars’, perfect for moving into a city.

They are your go-to car type, as they meet your requirements of taking up less parking space and quickly moving around.

The major types of Subcompact Cars available in the market these days are:

  1. Mini SUV Subcompact Cars
  2. City Subcompact Cars
  3. Economy Subcompact Cars
  4. Hybrid Subcompact Cars

These are discussed at length below:

1. Mini SUV Subcompact Cars

Mini SUV Subcompact Cars are the first type of subcompact cars that feature in our list of the different kinds of Subcompact Cars. This subcompact car has a niche market, i.e., they cater to a particular section of society.

For instance, these could be a good pick for you if you have a family with kids. However, you might not like to get them if you are single or live with your spouse.

As the very name of this car category suggests, this type of car is a smaller version of SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles). They could be a perfect choice for you if you have more cargo and passengers to carry- more than what a traditional sedan or station wagon could carry.

Still, you want something smaller, which is easier to handle and maneuver than a conventional SUV.

Thus, they are suitable for families who want more space for seating the kids and some cargo but do not desire the considerable seating space that comes with SUVs like Ford Explorer or Jeep Grand Cherokee. Hence, if you want something more significant than a traditional sedan but smaller than a conventional SUV, then Mini SUV subcompact cars could be perfect!

These Mini SUVs come in a wide range, with models varying in price and size. Therefore, if you wish to buy a Mini SUV, you should be able to differentiate between Mini SUVs and other types of power subcompact cars so that you do not get confused by the variety within the Mini SUV subcompact car category.

This type of subcompact car can deliver the driving experience you seek: a remarkable fuel economy and affordable dependability. Due to their decreased size, these Mini SUVs are less costly than full-size SUVs.

Different car manufacturers, like Honda, Toyota, Scion, Nissan, etc., have produced their models of Mini SUVs. Some significant examples of mini SUVs are Toyota Rav4, Jeep Renegade, Honda CR-V, Scion xB, and Nissan Rogue Sport. You can choose among them based on considerations like the car’s look and budget.

2. City Subcompact Cars

The next item on our list of different types of subcompact cars is City Subcompact Cars. This subcompact car category is the most sought-after and competitive segment of the car manufacturing industry. Other car manufacturing companies are trying hard to win the competition by developing their versions of city subcompact cars.

This subcompact car category refers to cars that are smaller than the vehicles in the small car category but bigger than those in the compact car category.  These cars are characterized by a seating capacity for five or six passengers, including the driver, along with four doors.

This car type would be the perfect choice if you reside in a city with heavy traffic congestion since these are city cars designed for such areas. Their drivability is enhanced due to their small size, which can fit into narrow roads and could be parked anywhere.

Because of their desirability and popularity, many car manufacturing companies, like Toyota, Ford, Honda, Nissan, etc., have entered this market with their models of city subcompact cars. This has enhanced the variety of city subcompact cars, which are available in different sizes, looks, prices, etc.

Some famous car models under this category are Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Ford Focus, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Chevrolet Sonic, etc. If you wish to get a city subcompact car, you can choose one out of these options.

Out of all these, Toyota’s Yaris has the tiniest seats at the back. Nissan’s Versa is very remarkable in terms of its gas mileage. However, it has significantly less space in the back seat. Ford’s Focus and Chevy’s Sonic have more room at the back; however, they have less truck space. Chevrolet Sonic is also distinguished from other models because of having manual transmission.

3. Economy Subcompact Cars

Another type of subcompact car is the Economy Subcompact car. As the name suggests, this type of subcompact is the most economical, and only that is its primary function.

They are modeled in such a way that they take you from one place to another at the lowest possible cost, leaving behind the considerations of style or comfort. In this way, though their manufacturers might consider comfort or style, lowering the price is its primary concern.

The Economy Subcompact Cars are available in three main varieties; Hatchback, Minicar, and Microcar.

The first, i.e., the Hatchback, is a combination of an economy sedan with a station wagon’s roof coupled with a flat load floor. The second, i.e., the Minicar, is a tiny car equipped with a remote engine.

These are stylized to use less gas than others, enhancing their efficiency. The third, i.e., the Microcar, is the smallest car available currently. It is so minute that it can even fit a parking space designed for motorcycles. However, though similar in size to them, it gives twice its mileage.

Like all their other subcompact counterparts, economy subcompacts are smaller than compacts. Their main feature, as noted above- is fuel efficiency, such that they are economical.

Being ‘economic,’ they are less costly than larger cars. If you are looking for an economical car, and you need only a small size car, then economical subcompact cars can be the best pick for you.

Amongst them as well, their new and base models are the cheapest. This is so because the base model is without any notable additions. However, a limitation is that the dealers usually sell them at their sticker price.

These cars also have a vast market, with different car manufacturing companies involved in their production. They use various techniques to reduce the price of their vehicles.

Honda and Toyota, for instance, market their models, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, as their economy models with one trim level and removing extras like leather seats or sunroof.

Other manufacturers work on developing basic models which do not involve any special features that could drive up their cost. Still, others might offer an assortment of trims, from which the buyers could choose between price or features, like in Kia’s Rio and Nissan’s Versa Note.

It is important to note here that though this car type being ‘economic’ might give you an illusion that people with low budgets prefer them; however, this is not the case at all since this car type is popular amongst car enthusiasts as well, as they keep experimenting with the drivability of different cars and are also impressed by this car type’s mileage.

Even drivers, or delivery people, who wish to transport small-sized commodities regularly, can also opt for this car to avoid paying for unwanted extra space, which is not needed.

4. Hybrid Subcompact Cars

The last type of subcompact car, which we are going to discuss in this article, is Hybrid Subcompact car. As the category name suggests, a hybrid subcompact car would be a subcompact car that runs on hybrid technology. Though hybrid cars are pretty popular these days, the first hybrid subcompact car was Toyota’s Prius, released in 1997.

This led to the entry of other automotive companies like Honda, Ford, and Nissan into the hybrid subcompact car’s manufacture.

These hybrid subcompact cars are considered green and environment-friendly, just like other hybrid vehicles.

This is because of two reasons: they are fuel efficient, and they release few pollutants in the air. Because of their fuel efficiency and high mileage, they could be a viable option even where gasoline prices are high.

The main characteristic that can help you distinguish a hybrid subcompact car from other models, apart from their hybrid technology, is the engine’s small size. Technologies like aerodynamic designs and lightweight materials are employed to create small but highly efficient car engines.

Thus, they are a good option; if you wish to have an easy-to-drive and fuel-efficient, which is small in size, but has necessary room for the passengers and also doesn’t harm the environment, then hybrid subcompact cars are the best choice for you.

Although the popularity of the first hybrid subcompact car, i.e., the Toyota Prius, hasn’t declined much since its inception, Honda’s Insight has overtaken its popularity.

Another popular company for its hybrid subcompact car is Mitsubishi, with its i-MiEV as another competitor to Prius.

With an average of 62 miles per gallon and other features like quick charge ability, fuel efficiency, and environmental efficiency, Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV is an excellent option if you consider buying a hybrid subcompact car model.

Nissan’s Leaf is another option to consider among the hybrid subcompact models. It is unique because it has a lithium-ion battery as its power source, which gives it good mileage.


This article introduced you to a distinct car category, i.e., the Subcompact Cars. These are more minor than compact cars, with fantastic drivability and fuel efficiency.

These types of cars come in a wide variety, including Hybrid Subcompact Cars, Economy Subcompact Cars, City Subcompact Cars, and Mini SUV subcompact cars. Within these broad categories, a huge variety can also be seen in terms of size and prices.

If you wish to buy a smaller than a compact car, you can choose from a wide variety available in the market based on your preferences, need, and budget.