Updated at: 10-08-2023 - By: Lucas

You want to get what you paid for when you rent a car.

To do this, you might be looking for a small, cheap car that gets good gas mileage.

Should you get a small or a small-sized car? Are the two different in any way? Here are some important differences you should think about before choosing.

Economy cars are smaller than compact cars, so they use less gas and are easier to drive on narrow city streets. On the other hand, compact cars have more space for passengers and luggage. When deciding whether to rent a compact or an economy car, the main things to think about are how much gas they use and how much space they have for people and things.

Renting a car is rarely as cheap as you’d like, whether you’re on vacation or on a business trip.

So, if you are trying to choose between an economy car and a compact car, the main difference is the size of the car.

An economy car is almost always bigger than a compact car.

You might even choose a sub-compact, which is even smaller.

If you do, keep in mind that you won’t have much room for your luggage or other things.

Also, keep in mind that when a rental company calls a car a “compact car,” it might not mean what you think it means.

In fact, some agencies will call a regular-sized car a compact car, usually to attract customers and make more money.

If you go through a company that does this, you can rent a bigger car for less money if you go through them.

But your gas mileage might go down, so what you save on rental costs might be lost when you fill up.

Economy Car Definition

Economy Vs Compact Car (2)

An economy car, by definition, is a small car with four doors and room for up to five people.

Economy cars, which are the smallest of all types of cars, are mostly made to be cheap to run. Their main goal is to get you from A to B with as few extras as possible. They are very small and light.

It’s interesting that the term “economy car” is mostly used in the U.S., even though many cars in this class are driven all over the world.

So, if you want to rent a car in a foreign country, you might have to look twice to make sure you’re getting an economy car.

The reason why these cars are called “economy cars” is because they get great gas mileage and are cheap to rent.

If you rent an economy car, you can expect to get at least 30 miles per gallon on the road.

Economy Car Examples

If you want to rent a cheap car, you might be able to choose from the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Mitsubishi Mirage, Volkswagen Golf, or Chevrolet Spark.

Even though economy cars can have up to four doors, most of the ones we see only have two.

Also, the back seat of an economy car is very, very small, so passengers should be prepared to be a little tight during the trip.

Compact Car Definition

Economy Vs Compact Car (3)

If you want to know what a compact car is in technical terms, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that a compact car has a combined passenger and cargo volume of 100 to 109 cubic feet and is between 161 and 187 inches long.

But even though the federal government has its own definition of a compact car, getting a clear definition often depends on who you are talking to at the time.

Most car lots define a compact car as a car that is between a sub-compact car and a midsize car.

So, this could include some cars that the EPA doesn’t really consider to be compact cars.

When you want to rent a compact car, it will be helpful to know what a typical compact car looks like.

Compact Car Examples

When you’re at the counter of a rental agency and say you want to rent a small car, the clerk should offer you cars like the Mazda 3, which is usually thought to be the best small car on the market today.

Other options could be the Ford Focus or Dodge Dart, as well as the Kia Forte or Kia Soul, which we also think are both very good.

Last but not least, the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, and Chevrolet Cruze are all popular small cars that you can rent.

All of these cars also get great gas mileage, almost as good as most economy cars if not better.

A compact car has a bit more space than an economy car, so you may want one if you’re driving with others, have a lot of luggage or other cargo, or just don’t want to feel as cramped.

Five Differences between Economy and Compact Cars

There are five main ways in which economy cars and compact cars are different.

First, most economy cars have only two doors, but some can have as many as four. A compact car almost always has four doors, which gives you more space for people and things.

Second, you can usually fit two adults and two kids pretty comfortably in an economy car. However, two adults in the back seat of an economy car will be a little tight. When you rent a compact car, the inside is usually big enough for five people.

Third, a car with good gas mileage will get at least 30 mpg on the highway, and usually much more. Some compact cars will get the same mileage, but most will get between 25 and 30 mpg, so keep this in mind.

Fourth, it usually costs less to rent an economy car than a compact car. Choose an economy model if you want to spend as little as possible on your rental car.

Lastly, because economy cars are so small, many people tend to avoid renting them. Because of this, you probably won’t have any trouble renting an economy car, but you might have a harder time getting the compact car you wanted.

How to Pick between an Economy and Compact Car

When deciding whether to rent an economy or compact car, you should always think about a few things.

First, think about who will be with you in the car.

Do you just need basic transportation where you and your passengers will have to sit close to each other, or would you rather have more space inside the car?

Also, think about how much stuff you might be carrying with you.

Even if you don’t start out with a lot of luggage or other things, this could change as your trip goes on.

Think about how many miles you plan to drive in the rental car. If you want to save money on gas, you should get a car with a small engine. Choose a compact car if you only need it for a few short trips or don’t mind having to fill up more often.

Lastly, consider how much it will cost you per day to rent your car. Economy cars are cheaper to rent than other types of cars because they are smaller and less popular.

Even though economy and compact cars are very similar in a lot of ways, there are some differences that need to be taken into account when you rent one. Think carefully about what you want in an economy or compact car, whether it’s getting good gas mileage, being comfortable behind the wheel, or having enough space for people and things.