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Top 10 Sporty Compacts You Can Buy in 2014

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/3/2014 Christian Seabaugh

With fuel prices rising but the desire for fun-to-drive cars remaining, it's a good time to be looking for a small, sporty car. Over the past few years, most major automakers have introduced a new sport compact of sorts, ranging in style from the pocket-sized hot hatch, to the rally-ready rocket, to the entry-lux track monster. Without further ado, let's take a look at the Top 10 sporty compacts currently on the market or available later this year.

2014 BMW M235i

2014 BMW M235i© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 BMW M235i BMW may have lost its way recently with confusing niche models like the 5 Series Gran Turismo and 4 Series Gran Coupe, but the new 2014 BMW M235i shows us that somebody at BMW still gets it. The top-trim of the new 2014 BMW 2 Series serves as a replacement of sorts for the short-lived but well-loved 1 Series M Coupe. Available with either an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual, the M235i is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6 making 320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth

2014 Fiat 500C Abarth© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Fiat 500C Abarth The Fiat 500 Abarth may not be the best hot hatch on the market (that honor likely belongs to our next entrant), but it's certainly got the most personality. The little Italian pocket rocket only has a 160-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged I-4, but you wouldn't know it by its guttural exhaust note, which works overtime to convince you that you're actually driving the world's smallest Ferrari.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

2014 ford fiesta ST© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 ford fiesta ST The best hot hatch on the market may very well be from the Blue Oval. After wowing YouTubers at the hands of rally driver Ken Block for the last few years, the Ford Fiesta ST has finally gone on the market. The Fiesta ST has one of the best front-wheel drive chassis in history, simultaneously making it incredibly fun, and incredibly juvenile – in a good way. The Fiesta ST is powered by a 1.6-liter I-4 making 197 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque.

2014 Ford Focus ST

2014 Ford Focus ST© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Ford Focus ST The Fiesta ST isn't the only hot hatch Ford makes. The Ford Focus ST is just about as fun, but in a larger, more mature package. The Ford Focus ST is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Like the Fiesta ST, the Focus ST drives the front wheels through a slick six-speed manual transmission. The Focus ST likes to go around corners rear-wheel-drive style, with enough oversteer to bring a smile to drivers' faces.

2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2014 Mazda MX 5 Club© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mazda MX 5 Club Looking for a top-less sporty compact? The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata has your name on it. It may be the oldest vehicle on this list (the current generation Miata debuted back in 2006) but the Miata more than makes up for it in its charm. The incredibly simple Miata is powered by a sweet-revving 2.0-liter I-4 making up to 167 hp, and features some of the best handling a sports car has to offer. The Miata is best enjoyed with the standard soft top folded down (a power-folding hardtop is optional) and with the available six-speed manual transmission.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA45 The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is what happens when Mercedes hands its new front-drive compact sedan over to its tuning arm AMG. The boys and girls over at AMG take the CLA's 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making 208 hp and boost power output up to 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Then, the AMG team fits the CLA45 AMG with a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive. The "Race Start" launch control system allowing for 4.2 second 0-60 mph times is icing on the cake.

2014 MINI Cooper S

2014 Mini Cooper S© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mini Cooper S The MINI Cooper S may be larger than before but it's no less fun to drive. Despite the more mature demeanor, the 2014 Cooper S is still a crowd pleaser, with tight, communicative steering, and an unflappable chassis. The Mini Cooper S also now has more power than ever before, with a new BMW-derived 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making 192 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque found under the hood.

2014 Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ

2013 scion FR S© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 scion FR S Mechanically and mostly visually identical, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins are among the cheapest ways to put an ear-to-ear smile on your face at the track. Both rear-drive coupes are powered by a 2.0-liter F-4 boxer engine making 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. Though they may not be high on horsepower, both the FR-S and BRZ make the most of what they've got, with great limit handling characteristics, and a tail-happy attitude.

2015 Subaru WRX

MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image The Subaru WRX has long been a Snow Belt staple, and for good reasons -- it's one of the most practical ways to have a ton of fun in poor weather conditions. Equipped with standard all-wheel drive, and available with either a six-speed manual transmission, or a CVT, the 2015 Subaru WRX is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged F-4 boxer engine producing 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. With sharp handling, a capable all-wheel drive system, and amenities like heated seats, the WRX is an excellent companion in foul weather.

2015 Volkswagen GTI/GTD

2015 Volkswagen Golf© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Volkswagen Golf The Volkswagen GTI is the original hot hatch, and it gets even better for its seventh generation arriving later this year. The new GTI is safer, more efficient, and faster than ever before -- and it's got a neat party trick, a diesel-powered brother called the GTD. While the gas-swilling GTI comes with a 220-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making 258 lb-ft of torque, the diesel GTD gets a 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4 producing 181 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Choosing between the two is a matter of priority: want to go quick, carve corners and avoid filling up? Then the GTD is for you. Like going fast, carving corners, and wringing out your engine -- then opt for the GTI. It's a win either way.

What's your favorite available-in-2014 sporty compact?

Top 10 Sporty Compacts© Provided by MotorTrend Top 10 Sporty Compacts

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