As gas prices rise, you might expect the sales of subcompacts to begin to outshine their near cousins the compact car, especially for students. That is nowhere near truth. The answer can be found in the vital statistics like price and mpg.
The Ford Fiesta and the Honda Fit are the two best known subcompacts. Fiesta sales are less than half of Ford’s compact Focus. The Fit sells at about a third of the clip that the compact Civic does. The reasons can be found in fuel efficiency ratings that are very similar and base sticker prices that are less than $1,000 apart. Given a choice, most American buyers, even students, opt for the bigger option. And with only a $1K difference in price spread out over the course of a student car loan, the per-month payments are virtually the same.
These statistics seem to only hold true in America. The Fiesta is the top selling Ford offering in the U.K and the Fit is the best selling model in Japan. Perhaps roller-coaster highs in gas prices will drive more buyers to the subcompact models in the months to come.