Difference Between Economy Car and Compact Car


Main Difference

The main difference between economy and compact cars is that economy cars are generally smaller in size as compared to the compact cars.

Comparison Chart

Economy CarCompact Car
A car that is designed for both low-cost purchase and operationCompact car that is also called as medium size car is larger than subcompact and economy car
Seating Capacity
Up to 4 occupantsUp to 5 occupants
Comfortable for 1-2 adults and kidsComfortable for 1-5 adults and kids
Number of Doors
2 doors. Small sedans may have four doors4 doors.
Luggage Capacity
Several small bags or a medium suitcaseRoom for large, medium and small suitcases. Space for small carry-on bags as well
Fuel Economy
Normally 30-35 mpg or even betterNormally 25-30 mpg or even better
Rental Cost
Affordable. Comparatively lowRelatively high
LighterComparatively high

Economy Car

Economy cars are those cars that are designed for the low-cost purchases and operation. There are small in size, lightweight and have a low cost to purchase. The definition of economy cars can vary from region to region, but overall it must encounter the income of buyers, fuel prices, and cultural mores. Better fuel efficiency and best mileage are the two basic factors that make these cars the rental car choices. These appeal to the fuel budget conscious and do not hold as much seating capacity and luggage space. These generally accommodate up to four adults and one large suitcase and one small and large bag. The major aim of economy cars manufacturers is to make them available for fewer prices and low repair and maintenance cost on the pocket of the owner. As per prevailing industry standards, these cars have interior space of 100-109 cubic feet. These are generally small in size and lighter in weight as compared to the compact cars.


Compact Car

Compact cars that are also called as small family cars are those types of family cars that are normally shorter in length as compared to a mid-size car but larger than a subcompact car. As per the definition set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “the dimensions of a compact car are normally 4,100 mm and 4,450 mm long for hatchbacks, or 4,400 mm and 4,750 mm for convertibles, sedans (saloon) or station wagons (estate car). It worths to mention here that multi-purpose vehicles and sport utility vehicles based on small family cars that are also termed as compact MPVs and compact SUVs have similar sizes, ranging from 4,200 mm to 4,500 mm in the U.S., and from 4,400 mm to 4,700 mm in international-based models.” Other countries may have different dimensions, but the special considerations are absolute. These cars are also small but packed with advanced features. One of the major advantages of compact cars is that these can be customized. The user can upgrade it by adding extra accessories. Although these are higher in price but offer the decent mileage and have good legroom inside with seating capacity of up to five adults.

Key Differences

  • Both economy and compact cars have size limitations, but this ratio is high in compact
  • Most of the compact cars have hatchback as in the case of the wagon but this facility is not available in economy cars.
  • Economy cars focus more on saving money and maintenance cost while compact cars have little high cost as compared to the economy cars, but these deliver the best performance also.
  • Economy cars are more popular and widely used as compared to the compact cars.
  • Economy cars offer better mileage as compared to the compact
  • Economy cars are easier to maintain because of low operating and repair & maintenance costs as compared to the compact
  • Although economy cars are often bigger as compared to the compact cars, these offer less seating capacity as compared to the compact
  • Compact cars offer less fuel efficiency when compared to the economy cars.
  • It is easy to customize compact cars introducing additional features like color, wheel rims, TV, etc. While economy cars are difficult to be customized.
  • Economy cars have limited features, and these are lighter as compared to the compact cars.
  • A compact car is designed for the wealthy people who need to showoff and who have a small On the other hand, an economy car is designed for the people who want everything in the small budget.
  • Interior volume index of a compact car is 100–109.9 cu ft while interior volume index of economy cars is 85–99.9 cu ft.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson