Every year, The Car Guide unveils a list of Best Buys covering all the different vehicle categories in the industry.
When it comes to compact cars, the only major change for 2021 is the introduction of the completely redesigned Hyundai Elantra, which wasn’t on sale yet when we voted for the top pick.
Therefore, our Best Buy for 2021 is still the Mazda3. Available in sedan and hatchback body styles, this model stands out with class-leading driving dynamics and refinement. As a matter of fact, the Mazda3’s interior makes you feel like you’re sitting in a luxury car.
There are two engine sizes to choose from (2.0L and 2.5L), each one delivering solid performance, and optional all-wheel drive for those who want the best all-season package. The manual gearbox can’t be paired with AWD, though. For 2021, Mazda has also added a few features, none more exciting than a turbocharged 2.5-litre mill producing up to 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.
In second place, the Toyota Corolla may not be as sharp as the Mazda3, but it offers tremendous reliability and a number of different models (sedan, hatchback, hybrid). It’s an extremely safe puchase.
Finally, we put the Kia Forte in third place. This Korean compact boasts nice fit and finish, generous cargo room and plenty of features considering the price.