Inside the Small Car Renaissance

At a time when even Detroit’s most compact pickup trucks burst out of the seams of the average parking space, we’re slightly surprised to see that small cars are having a bit of a renaissance. Luxury automakers are paying increasing attention to more compact models, having realized that not everyone wants or needs to drive a rolling palace all the time. If that sounds like you, you’d be wise to consider these new little luxury cars.


The calm, minimal cabin matches the relaxed handling. Scandinavian design at its finest, it’s one of the best-looking little SUVs on the road.



We forgot how much fun small cars are to drive. This one has the best interior in its class. The ride is surprisingly comfortable, a huge improvement over the old CLA.



Don’t think of it as an SUV. It drives more like a hatchback, and we appreciate that. With 302 hp, the top-spec M35i isn’t slow, either. Certainly the boldest-looking BMW in recent memory.



Fast and frisky. Never has so much power (394 hp!) been put in such a small, practical package. It does 0–100 km/h in 4.1 seconds.