The best compact sedans in the UK 2023

Very comfortable in urban and rural areas, the compact sedan focuses mainly on driver comfort and habitability. This small car can comfortably accommodate 4 to 5 people and is also an excellent compromise between a city car and a wagon. Here's an overview of the most popular compact sedans of the moment.

Toyota Corolla GR Sport

Best value for your money

Toyota Corolla GR Sport

The best compact sedan in 2021

Customizable as you wish, this Toyota hybrid is both sporty and comfortable to drive, responsive and quiet. Its all-electric mode will allow you to drive 68% of the time in the city.

Starting at €26,750

The Toyota Corolla GR Sport has bold lines. Its personality is enhanced by its attractive bodywork. The sharpened body arm is perfectly aligned with the 18-inch Typhoon alloy wheels. As for the engine, you can choose between two hybrids with 122 hp and 184 hp. One, a 1.8L, is capable of delivering the smoothest driving experience. The 2.0L hybrid engine gives you the dynamic acceleration you love in a sports car.

It comes equipped with the latest active safety technologies from Toyota Safety Sense such as lane assist, auto high beam management, pre-collision safety system, pedestrian detector... In addition, it also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity system, so you have full control over your smartphone data immediately.

Peugeot 308

Best value for your money

Peugeot 308

The best entry-level compact sedan

You can choose between the Peugeot 308 plug-in hybrid, petrol or diesel mode. Comfort is tangible and the Peugeot i-Cockpit technologies enhance your driving experience.

Starting at €24,123

Despite a clearly lower roofline, the Peugeot 308 stands out with its rather aggressive style and athletic lines. The i-cockpit interior includes everything you need to make driving a comfortable experience, such as a compact heated steering wheel, a digital handset, an intuitive multimedia screen and a center console. The front headlights are very bright and feature LED technology with a DRL extension in a fang-like format. At the rear, you'll find ultra-compact full LED lights.

When it comes to interior space, this compact sedan has all the makings of a great car. In addition to the driving aids, it comes in 3 engine options. The plug-in hybrid model guarantees a range of 60 km in all-electric mode. The gasoline module comes with a 3-cylinder 1.2L engine, while the diesel uses a 4-cylinder 1.5L engine.

Mercedes Classe A

Best value for your money

Mercedes A Class

The best premium compact sedan

One of the best-selling compact sedans and the flagship of the Mercedes brand, the A-Class promises incredible performance and ultra modern configurations.

Starting at €28,900

Enjoy your youth to the fullest in this compact sedan from Mercedes. Its 100% dynamic exterior design is already a success, but you'll be even more impressed when you discover its interior. Its enveloping effect will make you feel like in a real cosy cocoon. The digital instrumentation with its fully programmable double digital panel and touchpad will increase the level of comfort.

And if you want more convenience, the Mercedes A-Class has 64 colors of ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof and a multifunction sport steering wheel. In addition, it consists of a comprehensive Mercedes Benz Intelligent Drive system including a rearview camera, panoramic cameras, mirrors, driver assistance and anti-theft protection. As for the engine, choose between gasoline (109 hp, 136 or 163 hp), diesel (116, 150 and 190 hp) or plug-in hybrid.

Renault Mégane

Excellent selection

Renault Mégane

Sober, elegant and powerful

This updated version differs from the first one that appeared more than 20 years ago. It is now more ergonomic, with a pleasant driving experience and efficient engines.

Starting at €24,700
Buying guide • November 2023

Best compact sedan

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The best compact sedan in 2021

The best entry-level compact sedan

The best premium compact sedan

Sober, elegant and powerful

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best compact sedans

Toyota Corolla GR Sport
Peugeot 308
Mercedes Classe A
Renault Mégane
Toyota Corolla GR Sport
Peugeot 308
Mercedes A Class
Renault Mégane
Customizable as you wish, this Toyota hybrid is both sporty and comfortable to drive, responsive and quiet. Its all-electric mode will allow you to drive 68% of the time in the city.
You can choose between the Peugeot 308 plug-in hybrid, petrol or diesel mode. Comfort is tangible and the Peugeot i-Cockpit technologies enhance your driving experience.
One of the best-selling compact sedans and the flagship of the Mercedes brand, the A-Class promises incredible performance and ultra modern configurations.
This updated version differs from the first one that appeared more than 20 years ago. It is now more ergonomic, with a pleasant driving experience and efficient engines.
Hybrid gasoline: 122 hp and 180 hp

Gasoline: 1.2 PureTech 110 hp, 1.2 Puretech 130 hpDiesel

: 1.5 BlueHDi 130 hp BVM and EAT8Electric: 12.4 kWh

Gasoline: 109 hp, 136 hp, 163 hpDiesel

: 116 hp, 150 hp, 190 hpPowered Hybrid: 218 hp

Gasoline: 1.3 TCe 115, 140 hp and 160 hpDiesel

: 1.5 dCi 95 and 115 hp and 1.7 dCi 150 hpRechargeable Hybrid: 1.6 160 hp
4.41 x 1.90 x 1.42 m
4.25 x 1.80 x 1.45 m
4.41 x 1.90 x 1.42 m
4.36 x 1.82 x 1.45 m
Trunk volume min/max
370 to 1,210 L
420 to 1227 L
370 to 1210 L
384 to 1247 L
5-5.2 L/100 km
6 L/100 km
1 to 9.1 L/100 km
1.2 to 8.5 L/100 km
Number of doors

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Buying guide - compact sedan

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How to choose your compact sedan

The compact sedan is proving to be the darling of today's sports car enthusiasts. You'll find the best compromise between a city car and a highway car because of its space, comfort and economy. How to find the model that best suits your needs? Here are the most important criteria to consider.
choisir berline compacte

#1 - The power

Power depends on the type of engine in your compact sedan. Expressed in horsepower, it is the maximum performance provided by the engine. Note that one horsepower corresponds to 736 W. Today's models have a power output ofabout 100 horsepower for the most modest. The athletic versions, on the other hand, have a value that is almost tripled. For their part, high-end compact sedans go up to 400 horsepower or more.

#2 - The engine

In this area, 3 choices are available: gasoline, diesel and hybrid. Those who want a compact sedan that is inexpensive both to buy and to maintain will choose a gasoline engine model. They will adapt to short distances and moderate use. On the other hand, those who make long trips will prefer a diesel engine. The cost per use is relatively low. The compact plug-in hybrid sedan is suitable for people who want to enjoy the benefits of both electric and internal combustion engines. They will be able to drive with peace of mind in the city in eco-friendly mode and use the gasoline or diesel engine on the road.

#3 - The comfort

To optimize the comfort of your compact sedan, look at key factors such as headroom (the space available between the head and the interior ceiling of the car), trunk volume, but alsolegroom. Don't be fooled by appearances, because the size or length of the vehicle will often not be in proportion with these few criteria. Of course, you can consider the driving position, the panoramic roof, the quality of the steering wheel and the upholstery...

#4 - The transmission

A compact sedan can have a manual or automatic transmission. This is a component that plays a crucial role in the operation of the engine. The first being the most known, it is mainly based on a mechanical system allowing the driver to control the gear change as well as possible and thus save on fuel. It corresponds exactly to the expectations of those who are used to driving in rural areas. Moreover, the automatic gearbox guarantees a very appreciable driving experience in the city. Once the brake pedal is released and the gas pedal is engaged, the compact sedan takes over.

#5 - The extra options

Besides the driving aids and safety systems, there are other features that can bring you more comfort in use. These are part of your compact sedan's customization options and vary from brand to brand and model to model. In this respect, you have the keyless entry system, rain sensor, LED lights, cruise control, heated seat, automatic air conditioning, height-adjustable steering wheel, adjustable backrests, windshields with noise reduction layer...

Choose a new compact sedan

The compact sedan represents a large part of the automobile market. It seduces by its aestheticism and its practicality while taking advantage of the best of the latest technologies. Easily recognizable thanks to its low-profile body, it is the most suitable for urban use. And if you want to benefit from all the advantages it offers, nothing beats a new compact sedan.

Advantages and disadvantages of a new compact sedan

Buying a new compact sedan gives you considerable advantages. Indeed, it will be equipped with all the latest generation equipment, especially in terms of safety accessories. It also comes with a factory warranty. With such a vehicle, you know exactly what you are buying. There's no need to worry about maintenance issues or hidden damage like with a used car. Plus, you have the freedom to customize your purchase: color, trim line, options and equipment. Of course, financing rates are lower than those of a used compact sedan. On the other hand, be aware that such a new car depreciates rapidly. On average, it will lose almost a third of its initial value within 2 to 3 years of purchase.

Advantages and disadvantages of a used compact sedan

A used compact sedan gives you the opportunity to save money from the moment of purchase and throughout its use. In practice, a 2-3 year old model from a lease is already depreciated. If it has been maintained in the right conditions, the little sedan can still cover more than 320,000 km. Its biggest flaw? It is no longer covered by the original factory warranty. What's more, it will wear out quickly, unlike a new sedan.

The different types of compact sedans

It is as versatile as it is aesthetically pleasing. To make an intelligent choice, learn about the types of models available. That way, you'll know which type of compact sedan will best suit your current lifestyle.

Compact sedan gasoline range

Berline compacte gamme essence

It is definitely the most popular compact sedan. This type of motorization appeared at the same time as the first automobile. The start-up of a car with a gasoline engine takes place in 4 phases: intake, compression, explosion and exhaust of burnt gases.

This type of compact sedan is the cheapest on the market, especially since it does not need a warm-up lap to reach a good power. Ideal for short daily trips, the compact sedan gasoline range is very comfortable in the city. It is notably more ecological than the diesel range and inexpensive to maintain.

Compact sedan diesel range

Berline compacte gamme diesel

The diesel engine was invented in 1892 by the German Rudolf Diesel. Embedded in some compact sedans, it is simply activated by self-ignition. It requires, like the gasoline engine, a start on 4 phases namely air intake, compression, engine time and finally exhaust. The compact sedan diesel range has many advantages. For example, the cost of fuel is slightly lower than unleaded gasoline.

Also, fuel consumption is reduced by about 15%, which means that with a full tank, you can drive a long distance of up to 500 km. The only major drawback is that the engine wears out more quickly than a gasoline engine.

Compact sedan hybrid range

Berline compacte gamme hybride

Like the Toyota Corolla, the hybrid compact sedan integrates 2 different, but complementary engines: a combustion engine and an electric motor. The 100% electric mode is perfectly suited to low-speed travel (less than 50 km/h) such as in a traffic jam or in a parking lot.

Generally, the battery is placed in the trunk area, under the bench seat or under the floor of the compact sedan. It is recharged via specific terminals. By alternating the 2 engines, you will consume less fuel. If you drive in most cases in urban areas, the hybrid compact sedan will fully satisfy you.

Compact sedan or minivan?

Compact sedan

The average size of a compact sedan is between 420 and 460 cm. It is available as a hatchback or a three-box. It is comfortable on long trips out of town, but even more so on everyday journeys. This type of car is particularly fuel efficient and quiet. It is distinguished by its low height, which gives you a good seat on the road while offering a very safe driving sensation even in turns. You can choose between a gasoline engine, a diesel engine or a plug-in hybrid.


More spacious and flexible, the minivan provides excellent road holding. This little marvel can hold up to 9 passengers in addition to various luggage such as suitcases, strollers, numerous shopping bags... It is therefore ideal if you plan to go on vacation with your small family. Its modular aspect, it owes it largely to its removable seats giving you the possibility of increasing the volume of its trunk. The view on the road seems pleasant thanks to its height and its large windshield. Its aesthetics is not left out since the most modern models are equipped with innovative technologies as well as an ultra design dashboard.


If you are looking for a small car that is easy to park, pleasant to drive and consumes less fuel, the compact sedan meets your requirements. It will also suit a couple, a couple with 2 to 3 children or a single person. Although it is designed to accommodate long distances, the minivan is much more practical if you are a large family. In fact, the latter has a capacity of up to 9 people, which is only 5 for its compact sister.

Why buy a compact sedan?

pourquoi acheter berline compacte

We particularly love the compact sedan for its ability to handle long trips, but not only that... it has many other qualities. In fact, those who have already had the opportunity to test drive it are full of praise for it.

A low height in relation to the road

The compact sedan's silhouette is more aerodynamic, although its mass is moderately lower. Its height, which is lower than that of SUVs or crossovers, gives a feeling of being closer to the road. This makes for a dynamic driving experience, especially on winding roads. Its small size is perfectly combined with its small but powerful engines.

A safe ride

The size of the cabin allows you a relatively comfortable driving position. You'll be able to dominate the road better and enjoy the curves. This compact sedan's profile offers the assurance of an easy apprehension of the environment. It includes interesting safety features such as driving aids, rearview cameras, mirrors, etc.

Maximum comfort

Choosing to drive a compact sedan means opting for a vehicle designed for long trips. It is as attractive as it is safe. The comfort on board is immediately apparent: high quality upholstery, on-board connectivity, top performance driving assistants, etc. Best of all, you have the choice of which fuel mode suits you best, including hybrid.

A beautiful and elegant car

Its reputation as the queen of the city rests primarily on its aesthetics and elegance. It is proud of its sleek lines, but it is also an ecological and economical car. However, this does not affect its athletic style, comfort and competitiveness. The interior features a complete multimedia system, the most technological on the market, if one can say so.

A very generous space

Offering a good road quality, the compact sedan is quite spacious since it has a capacity of 5 people. It's not afraid of daily commutes or weekend getaways. In the back, there's plenty of room for luggage and school bags.

The best brands of compact sedans

In our opinion, the best brands of compact sedans in 2022 are :


This Japanese car manufacturer offers many categories of vehicles: SUVs, cross-overs, station wagons or sedans. It was voted the world'sNo. 1 carmaker in 2017 ahead of its main competitors Volkswagen and Daimler. In terms of compact sedans, it is especially the Auris and the Corolla that reap the best glories because of their assertive personality, their presence, but also their refinement.

Founded in 1926, it produces different categories of vehicles ranging from utility to pleasure cars and sports cars. In the compact sedan section, the Mercedes-Benz brand is represented by a car characterized by a convincing design: the A-Class. Innovations, engine options and safety system offerings make each model unique.

French group specializing in car manufacturing, Renault has recently partnered with leaders Nissan and Mitsubishi to achieve the highest global ranking in the field. In recent years, the brand has made a place for itself in the hearts of all compact car lovers. Among its referenced models is the Renault Megane available in all versions (gasoline, diesel and hybrid).

Subsidiary of the Stellantis group, Peugeot is a French car manufacturer that was founded in 1810. It has more than 100 years of experience in the field and never ceases to amaze its customers with high-performance and powerful cars. It reaches almost all segments with its rich catalog including small city cars, low-cost compacts, compact sedans, cross-overs, SUVs and light commercial vehicles.

Honda does not only make cars. It also works in the world of motorcycles, quads, scooters, business aircraft... In terms of compact sedans, it made a name for itself with its Civic model, first launched in 1972.

What is the price for a compact sedan

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

18000 £ to 25000 £
25000 £ to 28000 £
more than 28000 £
Price range diagram


Evaluate the performance of your compact sedan

To get a clear idea of your compact sedan's performance, consider its handling, braking mechanism, acceleration system and ride quality. You can specifically consider its power, torque, 0-100 time and top speed. Don't hesitate to compare the manufacturer's data with other similar models.

Opt for the safest model

How do you recognize a safe car? Well! If you don't have the crash-test ratings, and you probably don't, check out its advanced safety features like driver assistants, impending collision alerts, automatic emergency braking...

Bet on the cheapest compact sedan in terms of maintenance costs

To find the right model, look at the routine maintenance, complex work and high-tech operations to be performed on your compact sedan. According to research conducted by L'Argus in 2019, these costs are estimated at around €77 in Dacia and Renault. They are also the cheapest in the ranking. Citroen and Peugeot, they increase by 2 € more. The bill becomes salty at other manufacturers like Ford, Suzuki or Fiat since the maintenance can go up to 100 €.

Be sure to calculate the PRK before buying a compact sedan

It is already necessary to understand what is a PRK. It is the cost price per kilometer of a car. You can do a quick calculation by taking into account a few parameters such as the purchase price of your compact sedan, its registration fee, its fuel consumption, its maintenance cost and its insurance. The PRK will decrease the longer you drive your sedan.

Buy or lease a compact sedan: the advantages

Either one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Yet, know that when you buy a compact sedan, you have a wide choice of models to choose from. There are many customizations, which allows you to get a personalized compact car. Plus, you get to use it whenever you want. With a leased sedan, on the other hand, you won't be asked to make a down payment. It is suitable for both occasional and regular needs. Offers usually include all maintenance costs.


Is a compact sedan right for me if I like to move around a lot?

Whether you're a single person or a couple (with or without children), you can choose a compact sedan for your escapades in the countryside or your stays in the country. With an average length of 440 cm, it can easily accommodate up to 5 people plus luggage. It evolves perfectly on highways as well as in the city without impacting comfort or power.

What are the best performing compact sedans?

Performing compact sedans are of course imposing as it is the case of the Renault Megane RS, the Ford Focus RS or the Volkswagen Golf GTI/R. They have a power of around 300 hp. On the other hand, premium sporty compacts are an ideal choice for those who like to combine style, refinement and comfort.

Why is the Renault Megane more interesting than the Talisman?

There's no denying that the 2 compact sedans have their own comfort options. However, the Renault Megane comes with more comprehensive standard equipment (safety, interior, driving, exterior, audio/telecom). It also excels at optional equipment (upholstery, color, pack included...).

Is a compact sedan more efficient than a crossover in terms of fuel economy?

Yes, if you consider them with the same basic engines. The compact sedan is lighter than a crossover, which can only reduce fuel consumption considerably. In particular, it will be more dynamic and efficient.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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  23. Compact hybrid sedans : All models and their prices,
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See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Toyota Corolla GR Sport
Toyota Corolla GR Sport
Peugeot 308
Peugeot 308
Mercedes Classe A
Mercedes A Class
Renault Mégane
Renault Mégane


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