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Buyer’s Guide: Every Mainstream Compact Car for 2022

When it comes to new cars, Canadians still love their compacts. Here’s your guide to every new mainstream model on sale today.

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Compact cars offer the same comfortable interiors as larger options but lower prices and better fuel economy. Some compact hatchbacks provide the same amount of practicality as their SUV counterparts. Some sportier models offer the driving pleasure that can cost tens of thousands of dollars more than larger cars, and their smaller dimensions also make them an excellent choice for those who frequent congested city streets. This is why, contrary to popular opinion, Canadians are still buying small cars.

Alphabetically, we’ve listed every new mainstream brand compact passenger car available in Canada for 2022. If you’re looking for more details or ready to buy, click on the model name link to find the relevant Kelley Blue Book Value.

 

Honda Civic

Base MSRP: $25,370 CAD

Canada’s perennial best-selling new car strides into 2022 all-new. Four-door sedan and hatchback Civic body styles continue, as do the sporty Si trims (that can be had with a manual transmission). A new track-ready Type R returns later in 2022. The highly-refined 2022 Honda compact looks well prepared to carry on this Honda’s impressive sales legacy with its updated looks, improved structure, and a thoroughly modern set of safety and convenience items.

 

Hyundai Elantra

Base MSRP: $18,099 CAD

The 2022 Elantra shakes up the compact sedan class with bold styling, generous equipment, and affordable pricing. And it’s only in the second year of its current generation. With models ranging from pleasantly capable to the corner-carving Elantra N, and a hybrid drivetrain in between, this newest Elantra has an appeal that’s broad and deep. Yet, there’s a classiness and presence that transcends the usual mainstream fare for all its good sense.

 

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Base MSRP: $27,500 CAD

Not to be confused with the new Ioniq 5 battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the original Ioniq has been on sale since 2017. The Hyundai hatchback can be had as a conventional gas-electric hybrid or a plug-in that can drive up to 47 kilometres before the gas engine takes over from the battery. If it weren’t for the possibility of drivers forgetting what happens at gas stations because they don’t visit them as much as they used to, the 2022 Ioniq Hybrid could be mistaken for a typical little runabout. 

 

Kia Forte

Base MSRP: $18,295 CAD

Available as a sedan or hatchback, the Forte gets some updates for 2022, with an aesthetic facelift, some newly-available driver assistance features, and a new 10.25-inch infotainment system. Sharing a platform with the Elantra, the Kia looks like a more premium, expensive car than it is, especially in the sportier GT and GT Line trims. The two 4-cylinder gas engines available are a humble 2.0-litre and an excellent turbocharged 1.6L in the GT.

 

Kia Niro

Base MSRP: $26,995 CAD

An all-new Niro is coming for 2023, but the 2022 version is still an excellent value for drivers looking for good interior space and fuel economy. The hatchback can be a conventional gas-electric hybrid, a plugin hybrid electric vehicle (with a 42-km range) or a battery-electric vehicle with a 385-km range. This all adds to one of the most practical and value-conscious vehicles that money can buy.

 

Mazda Mazda3

Base MSRP: $21,200 CAD

This generation of Mazda3 is the most refined yet. That’s saying something because its predecessor was already good. The range includes sedan and hatchback body styles, with all-wheel drive available when matched to the larger turbocharged 4-cylinder. Drivers will find it’s easy to get wrapped up in how the Mazda’s suspension manages to be completely composed yet remain perpetually comfortable. Tight turns, open highways, and anything in between are all in a day’s work for the 2022 Mazda3.

 

Mazda MX-5

Base MSRP: $33,750 CAD

The 2022 MX-5 continues to follow its thrilling path through the automotive world. Its compact, two-seater convertible configuration frees it from the practical considerations that families or the less flexible demand of their vehicles and allow it to highlight the joy of driving. There’s only one engine; a sweet-revving 4-cylinder, but buyers can choose between a soft-top or retractable hardtop roof and manual or automatic gearboxes.

 

Nissan Leaf

Base MSRP: $33,300CAD

The 2022 Leaf is a known quantity, as the battery-electric hatchback is in its second generation that debuted for the 2018 model year. A trio of trim levels offers driving ranges of 240-, 349-, and 363-km. A good push off the line and silent operation typify the BEV driving experience, and the Nissan precisely delivers that. The ride is comfortable on freeways, yet the Leaf is still nicely responsive in town.

 

Nissan Sentra

Base MSRP: $19,598 CAD

Taken on its own merits, the 2022 Sentra is a fine compact sedan. Every trim gets front-wheel drive and a 2.0L 4-cylinder gas engine. A manual is standard, and an automatic transmission is available. The Sentra has several standard driver assistance features, drives with composure, rides comfortably, and offers reasonable prices. With no significant upsides or downsides, perhaps the Sentra can appeal to those with a soft spot for Nissan cars and a dealership within easy reach.

 

Subaru BRZ

Base MSRP: $29,495 CAD

Sharing a platform with the Toyota GR86, the rear-drive 2022 BRZ 2+2 sports car has been redesigned for the first time since its launch in the 2013 model year. Under the Subaru’s long hood sits a new 2.4L horizontally opposed “Boxer” 4-cylinder that develops 228 hp. Buyers can choose to shift gears with a manual or an automatic with paddle shifters. The BRZ’s primary mission is to deliver a rewarding, fast-paced drive on a twisty road. And a lot of work has gone into improving the new chassis.

 

Subaru Impreza

Base MSRP: $21,995 CAD

Every 2022 Impreza gets traction at all four wheels, making the Subaru the most affordable AWD new vehicle in Canada. A manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission is available, and both are mated to a Boxer 4-cylinder gas engine. The Subaru compact is sturdy and spacious, has several safety features, and holds its value well. Even with the benefit of AWD, its fuel economy doesn’t suffer noticeably, and Impreza prices still compare well with FWD rivals.

 

Toyota Corolla

Base MSRP: $19,450 CAD

The 2022 Corolla represents a safe buy in more ways than one. It’s safe from an occupant protection point of view, yet also in terms of running costs, resale values, and reliability. You might still get lost occasionally, but you’ll always know where you are with a Corolla. The broader 2022 Corolla range goes beyond this sedan. There’s the gas-electric hybrid sedan version and the more fun-to-drive hatchback variant.

 

Toyota GR86

Base MSRP: $31,490 CAD

Like its BRZ platform-mate, the Toyota 86 took the 2021 model year off. It has returned in significantly updated form as a 2022 model with a new name: the GR86. That “GR” designation comes from Gazoo Racing, the internationally known racing team that did much development work on this rear-drive Toyota sports car. All trims get a digital instrument panel with three display modes (Normal, Sport, Track) and an 8-inch multimedia touchscreen.

 

Toyota Prius

Base MSRP: $29,350

The Prius has become a name synonymous with efficiency. It’s been a popular gas-electric hybrid car for decades, and it isn’t hard to see why. While its design aesthetic isn’t for everyone, the Prius is a compact hatchback with outstanding fuel economy and the safety and reliability you expect from a Toyota. You can even get one with AWD or the Prime plug-in electric hybrid that can travel up to 40 km on electricity alone.

 

Volkswagen Golf

Base MSRP: $31,495 CAD

The Golf is all-new for 2022, arriving as a four-door hatchback in either base GTI form or the more powerful R trim. Manual and automatic gearboxes are available in both trims. For drivers who enjoy their time behind the wheel and need a daily driver, the 241-hp front-drive GTI is almost perfect. The R pushes that envelope and amps up the driving thrills with 315 hp, and comes with AWD as standard euipment.

 

Volkswagen Jetta

Base MSRP: $22,595

For 2022, the Jetta sedan has gone through a significant midcycle refresh. The design has been updated inside and out, and the base Jetta gets upgraded from a 1.4L 4-cylinder engine to a 1.5 unit, with either a manual transmission or an automatic. VW’s digital driver gauges have been made standard, as has automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic assist. The GLI sports sedan continues to be powered by VW’s turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder, an engine that produces a robust 228 hp.
 

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