Bottom Line: As compact cars dwindle, what are my options for something small, green, and not too basic?


Toyota Corolla 2022.The Globe and Mail

I’ve driven a Smart for the past 10 years and love it, but it’s time for a new car. My husband has a Toyota Camry and he says I should buy myself something small like a Yaris, but Toyota doesn’t anymore. I don’t want a big car and I want to be eco-friendly, but I also want something safe and comfortable and not too basic. What would you recommend? – Edwina

Richardson: Edwina looks like one of those practical people who want the convenience of their own transportation instead of taking the bus, but don’t want to clutter the roads. Good for her!

Kind: Who wants to take a bus or public transport these days? COVID-19 has changed the way we travel. People also don’t want to take the risk of taking public transport or carpooling.

Richardson: If you can afford your own transportation, many people feel more secure locked in their own vehicles. He doesn’t have to be tall. But here in Canada, the Smart car never really took off. I think the drivers just weren’t confident in their safety around bigger cars and trucks on the road.

Kind: I totally understand. When I have driven the Smart Fortwo in the past it felt like a death trap at times, especially when crossing bridges and sharing the road with transport trucks. He would shake all the time and I would hit him blank behind the wheel.

2022 Mazda CX-3.The Globe and Mail

Richardson: It is in fact a very safe vehicle. It locks its two passengers in a heavy-duty roll cage, and its small size means it’s more likely to bounce than collapse in anything other than a head-on collision.

Kind: Either way, it still made me nervous while driving. And if Edwina wants another Smart, she’s out of luck. They are no longer sold here. Unfortunately, the fleet of small cars is steadily shrinking as consumers prefer large SUVs to passenger cars.

Richardson: There could be some revival of very small vehicles in the coming years. Electra Meccanica is a Vancouver-based company that makes battery-powered three-wheelers for single-seater drivers, for example, although they are not yet sold in Canada, only US time will tell if people actually want a vehicle. like that, Edwina might, one day.

Kind: No thanks. I’m going to jump the three-wheeler. Right now, consumers are buying SUVs, not cars, and many manufacturers are responding. Many have already given up on their small cars – cars I really liked like the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Sonic and Toyota Yaris, which were on Edwina’s short list of small cars.

Richardson: So what would you recommend, considering that she is happy with her Smart but now wants something a little more basic than that?

Kind: First of all, she could take the route used if she wants a small car like a Yaris or a Fit. But if it wants something new, I’d start with a Corolla, which is now Toyota’s smallest car in the lineup. It is fuel efficient, safe and reliable.

Richardson: It’s also well equipped if she goes up a few trim levels, or she could consider the hatchback for $ 2,000 more and get more loading convenience. No more winding windows!

Kind: The 2022 Toyota Corolla also comes with a hybrid powertrain, starting at $ 25,190. It costs more than the gasoline version, which starts at $ 19,450. But Edwina wants something eco-friendly and not too basic, so that might do the trick.

Honda Civic 2022.The Globe and Mail

Richardson: For what she describes, she would probably do well with an all-electric car. He would be small and would never use gas. I doubt she’ll drive far in a day because she’s happy with her Smart car, but we’re not sure if she can easily plug it in to charge it. She could live in a condo or only have on-street parking. Because she didn’t ask for it, it’s best to stick with conventional or hybrid engines.

Kind: If we are considering a Corolla, we have to look to its closest competitor: the Honda Civic. It is manufactured in Alliston, Ontario and has a proven track record of safety, reliability and reliability. After all, it has been the best-selling compact car in Canada for over two decades.

Richardson: I wonder if Edwina would really want a sedan, given that her husband already has a slightly larger sedan. The Civic hatchback starts at $ 28,000, but is probably sportier than it looks. Or how about getting back in size and price to the responsive Mazda CX-3?

Kind: The CX-3 is a great idea. It’s stylish, comfortable, fuel efficient, and affordable, starting at $ 21,600. My only complaint is the rear seats – they’re very cramped. But it doesn’t look like Edwina needs it anyway.

Richardson: She’s used to a car with no rear seats, but now she’ll have convenient cargo space with the CX-3 without going overboard.

Kind: Of course, it’s not as small as his Smart car – few cars are. But the CX-3 is compact in size, it has a tight turning radius, and it’s easy to drive and park in crowded areas. Looks like we both agree. Edwina, opts for the CX-3.

Which car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at globedrive@globeandmail.com and use “Which car” in your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.

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