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5 Used Subcompact Hatchbacks

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
February 28, 2011
4 min. Reading Time

There are few affordable used entry-level cars that offer more practicality than subcompact hatchbacks. These tiny, fuel efficient models combine a small footprint with a substantial cargo area that can be expanded thanks to the availability of fold-forward seats. Vehicles like the used Honda Fit have also begun to expand driver expectations of how engaging to drive this class of vehicle can be, in addition to providing its own innovative take on seating and interior storage.

Let’s take a look at five used subcompact automobiles that, like the used Honda Fit, merge utility with frugality and bargain pricing.

01. Used Honda Fit

The most recent used Honda Fit model debuted in 2009, and it brought with it Honda’s improved “Magic Seat” feature that folds forward to offer a completely flat load floor as well as what Honda terms a “secret box” for safely storing valuables and other items out of sight. 57.3 cubic feet of total space are available in the revised editions of the used Honda Fit, and the brand claims that the vehicle offers four seating configurations in total – People, Utility, Long and Tall mode. Long mode offers seven feet, nine inches of hauling room from front to rear, while Tall mode makes four feet of vertical space available between the vehicle’s floor and ceiling.

The used Honda Fit can be found in both standard and Sport trim. Each features a 1.5-liter, 117 horsepower motor that also generates 106 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is included free of charge, while a five-speed automatic can be found on some editions of the Fit as an installed option. The Sport trim includes paddle shifters for the autobox, as well as a rear spoiler, side skirts, nicer wheels and the availability of a navigation system. Fuel mileage for the Fit shows as 27-mpg city and 33-mpg highway.


02. Used Scion xD

The Scion xD is a relative newcomer from the youth-focused brand, and used Scion xD models built from 2008 to 2010 provide cost-conscious commuters with a very affordable subcompact hatchback option. Smaller than the used Honda Fit, the xD offers accommodations that are more comfortable for forward occupants than for those in the rear, and interior volume maxes out at 35.7 cubic feet with the back seat folded down.

Under the hood, all used Scion xD models sport the same 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that is good for 128 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque. Combined with its light weight, this output gives the xD a sprightly feel off of the line when equipped with a five-speed manual transmission instead of its optional four-speed automatic. Fuel mileage for the Scion xD matches that of the Fit, coming in at 27-mpg in city driving and 33-mpg during highway cruising.


03. Used Suzuki SX4

The Suzuki SX4 hatchback was introduced in 2007 and has remained one of the most practical members of the SX4 lineup. used Suzuki SX4 models differ significantly from other vehicles in their class due to the presence of standard all-wheel drive, which gives the hatchback a crossover-style ride height and enhanced traction. In addition to its all-wheel drive system the used Suzuki SX4 also offers a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that develops between 143 and 150 horsepower and between 136 and 140 lb-ft of torque. Transmissions that can be found in early SX4’s include a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic, and fuel mileage for the vehicle is rated at 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway. Later models offer the availability of a six-speed automatic transmission and a continuously-variable automatic option, as well as improved fuel economy.

Straddling the line between small compact and large subcompact, a used Suzuki SX4 hatchback offers seating for five as well as the availability of 38 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear row folded down. The SX4 hatchback also provides a tall ceiling that makes it easier to load in bulky items when compared against some smaller competitors.


04. Used Toyota Matrix

Used car buyers looking for the most up-to-date edition of the Toyota Matrix should target those editions of the vehicle built from 2009 and up. This version of the used Toyota Matrix returns all-wheel drive to the list of drivetrain configurations, and also offers as much as 61.5 cubic feet of interior storage space with the rear seats folded forward – a fitting number for one of the largest compact / subcompact hatchbacks on our list.

All used Toyota Matrix models offer a pair of four-cylinder engines for buyers to choose from. The first is a 1.8-liter, 132 horsepower unit that also generates 128 lb-ft of torque. This motor is available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, and it provides fuel mileage numbers of 26-mpg city and 32-mpg highway. A 2.4-liter engine can also be found, and it brings with it the option of all-wheel drive (which dictates the use of a four-speed auto gearbox) as well as 158 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive Matrix models featuring the 2.4-liter mill are shifted through either a five-speed manual or five-speed auto transmission, and fuel mileage for the larger engine is reported as 21-mpg around town and 29-mpg during highway cruising.


05. Used Hyundai Accent

The used Hyundai Accent offers one of the most traditional takes on the subcompact hatchback concept available on the previously owned car market. Intended to offer value and fuel economy as its two primary selling points, a used Hyundai Accent is the only two-door vehicle on this list. Its small exterior is matched by an equally shrunken but still usable interior – the Accent hatchback comes with 16 cubic feet of total storage space thanks to its folding rear seat.

All editions of the used Hyundai Accent hatchback sold between 2007 and 2010 feature a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. Tuned to provide 110 horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque, when found in the Blue trim level the Accent offers fuel economy numbers of 27-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. Other editions of the Accent hatchback contribute almost identical fuel mileage when found with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.



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