3 Best compact cars in 2014

Mazda 3


Mazda's all-new 3 sedan and hatchback prove that economical, fuel-efficient cars don't have to be dull to look at or to drive. To acknowledge this achievement, we gave it a 10Best award for 2014. A 2.0-liter four cylinder is standard, and a more-powerful 2.5 liter is optional. As with most Mazdas, the 3's driving dynamics are peppy and engaging, although road noise can be bothersome. Regardless, we love this car, especially when in the hatchback form.

Volkswagen Golf


The eagerly awaited, seventh-generation Golf arrives. It is slightly longer, an inch lower, a bit lighter, and roomier inside. Choose from two engines: a 1.8-liter direct-injected turbo four or a 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel. The three-door hatch returns; the range of models includes two limited editions Launch Edition and Golf Sport a cheaper TDI, and varied trim levels for both gas and diesel fueled models. With a supple chassis and responsive steering, the new Golf is a pleasure to drive.rs.

Ford Focus


Ford's stylish Focus has been a frequent 10Best winner, available as a sedan or great-looking hatchback. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder is standard; green-minded SFE and electric versions are available, too. The EV offers an estimated range of 76 miles and drives almost as well as the gas version. The Focus's ride and handling balance comfort and grip, and steering is responsive. The interior is highly functional; however, the optional MyFord Touch can be frustrating to decipher and use.