If you're interested in purchasing a new or used car, you may be curious about which style of vehicle is right for you. These days, many people select compact or economy cars. If you're not sure whether these types of vehicles are different, you'll find that our detailed quick guide gives you the information that you need. To help you learn the difference between the two, we'll compare both automobile designs.

There Are Some Differences

EPA guidelines define compact vehicles as those which feature 100 x 100 and 9 cubic feet of space. These cars will hold passengers and belongings.

However, economy vehicles are not assigned the same dimensions. Basically, economy vehicles are classified based on their specific designs. For example, they are made to be smaller and lighter in weight than comparable cars, in order to provide superior fuel economy.

Fuel Economy

Compact designs are commonly quite good on gas. However, it's possible for compact cars to have powerful engines which do guzzle fuel. So, it's not right to generalize that compact cars provide premium fuel economy across the board.

In contrast, economy cars are designed with premium fuel economy in mind. Because they don't weigh as much, and because they are fairly small, they do offer more miles to the gallon than non-economy vehicles.


Compact car prices run the scale. Because these styles may have luxury features, such as high-performance engines and high-end interiors (such as genuine leather seats with heaters), it's not possible to say that these cars are always a certain price.

Economy cars don't typically provide the same level of optional features or luxury features - therefore, it's safe to say that they are commonly more affordable than compacts or other styles of automobiles.

Now that you know the differences between compact cars and economy cars, you'll be ready to select the vehicle style that is right for your needs and budget.