Subcompact cars are the smallest of the bunch and have lately become a somewhat lost art. Nonetheless, this class of small cars retains popularity with first-time car buyers and drivers because of their compelling mix of affordability, quality, and fuel-efficiency.
With a glut of options that have littered today’s market, selecting a model that’ll give you value for your money can be an uphill battle. After all, to the unfamiliar eye, they all look the same. So, buckle up as we explore the best subcompact cars to buy that’ll spark a smile.
1. Mini Cooper Clubman
With less than average fuel economy and the highest starting price, the Mini Cooper Clubman 2020 model isn’t off to a great start when it comes to value. While it’s pricier than other models on the market, this subcompact car is a solid option if you’re on the quest for a barrage of features and a high-reliability ranking.
The Mini Cooper Clubman comprises three robust power-train options that deliver sufficient power and speed. It’s not only exhilarating to drive, but its unique cabin is also accented with topnotch soft materials.
All models have a Mini Connected infotainment system coupled with a 6.5-inch touch screen. Moreover, they have the standard parking sensors and a rearview camera.
2. Fiat 500
Its starting fuel efficiency and asking price rank as average compared to the vast assortment of subcompact cars. But, if you’re on the quest for a great commuter to move around the city, then your search ends here with the Fiat 500.
Granted, this 2019 model doesn’t rank to the speed of a Ferrari. But, it’ll conveniently get you from one place to another. While its cabin constitutes unique styling, the low-quality plastics and other materials cheapen the look.
All models include the user-friendly U-Connect infotainment system along with a 5-inch touch screen. The Fiat scores safety points. But, keep in mind that they’re limited to optional rear parking sensors and a generic rearview camera.
3. Volkswagen Beetle
As a result of its subpar fuel efficiency, users will shell out extra bucks at their local gas stations. The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle has an average reliability rating, which implies that you may cough out more cash than you anticipate on maintenance.
Nostalgic car buyers will gravitate towards the Volkswagen Beetle’s exceptional retro design. Moreover, the car provides a smooth and composed ride and handles well. Its cabin is alluring and perfectly accommodates four people. However, its sturdy plastic takes away from its appeal.
The Volkswagen Beetle is armed with a relatively outdated but impressively user-friendly infotainment system and a 5-inch touch screen in tow. Generic safety features entail blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, and red-cross traffic alert.
4. Chevrolet Spark
With the lowest base price in its class, the 2020 Chevrolet Spark has a predicted reliability ranking that’s above average and decent gas mileage. With its lower power-train compared to other options in the market, this subcompact car is ideal for driving around town.
So, if you prefer long drives, then it’s best to explore other options. The Chevrolet Spark’s tight turning radius, coupled with a small footprint, makes it a breeze to navigate busy streets and park in cramped areas. While the car’s design has lower-quality materials and seats lacking support, it makes up for this setback with an array of innovative features.
They range from Android Auto, a 7-inch touch screen, and Apple Car Pay to a WiFi hotspot. The Chevrolet Spark also has the standard forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and rear parking sensors.
5. Mitsubishi Mirage
It’s one of the best subcompact cars that boast unrivaled fuel efficiency and an impressively low starting cost. Nonetheless, it struggles to hold its own against its competitors. The car’s ride has an unpleasant feeling, the engine feels relatively low, and the low-quality plastic material gives it a cheap look.
The silver lining is that the Mitsubishi Mirage is impressively roomy. It also shines through with its 7-inch touch screen, excellent safety features that include a rearview camera, and a straightforward infotainment system.
6. 2019 Mini Cooper
When it comes to the total price of ownership, this subcompact car is among the top, costing more than most of its rivals in the segment. The 2019 Mini Cooper unarguably handles well, is exhilarating to drive around, and feels fast.
Featuring topnotch materials and faux leather, the car’s opulent features make it aesthetically pleasing. The seating offers great support and is plush. Furthermore, it has amazing features that set it apart from the pack.
They include rear parking sensors, a touch screen measuring 8.8 inches, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, and wireless charging for a vast assortment of devices. It, therefore, comes as no surprise then that the 2019 Mini Cooper got an accolade of ‘Top Safety Pick’ in 2019.
7. Chevrolet Sonic
It has a superior base compared to its competitors in the segment. The Chevrolet Sonic also trails the best subcompact cars regarding the total cost of ownership and fuel efficiency. So, you’ll shell out extra bucks to be the proud owner of this car than other models.
The Chevrolet Sonic feels swift and peppy. And, its roomy interior allows up to 5 people to sit comfortably. While the cabin is alluring, the extensive use of hard plastic materials gives it a slightly cheap look.
All models have an easy-to-use Chevrolet infotainment system, a rearview camera, and a 7-inch touch screen that sits between the driver’s seat and front passenger seat.
8. Hyundai Accent
It constitutes one of the lowest starting costs in its class. It’s one of the most affordable subcompact cars you can own for five years. The Hyundai Accent’s decent fuel economy lures in buyers. While it can feel a tad bit choppy on rough terrain, it delivers a comfortable ride, overall. The cabin is well-appointed irrespective of its broad implementation of hard plastic materials. The Hyundai Accent has a spacious interior that can comfortably seat a maximum of 5 people. All models come with a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, rearview camera, and a USB port.
9. 2020 Nissan Versa
It has an average cost of ownership compared to its rivals in the subcompact class of cars. And, the fuel economy of the 2020 Nissan Versa ushers in less frequent visits to the local gas stations. If you’re angling at saving extra bucks, then this car is right up your alley because its stellar reliability ranking implies you’ll cut down on repair costs.
The Versa has a newly redesigned cabin layered with soft cloth upholstery along with excellent quality plastic. While the car’s acceleration and power fall short, all models come to have generic safety features that entail a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection. It also has a 7-inch touch screen.
10. 2020 Toyota Yaris
With an above-average reliability rating, and a less than average starting price that appeals to potential buyers on a budget, the Toyota Yaris is a worthwhile investment. When it comes to the total ownership price, the car is right in the middle of the barrage of subcompact cars.
It handles well and is sporty. However, it can feel underpowered on the road because it’s slow to accelerate. The Yaris has a chic interior and is armed with an array of useful features ranging from a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and Android Auto, to Apple Car Play. Moreover, the rearview camera proves that the subcompact car doesn’t compromise on safety which gives users the much-needed peace of mind when they’re in it.
11. 2020 Kia Rio
It has a comparable starting cost to other subcompact cars. With an excellent gas mileage, the 2020 Kia Rio possesses a reliability ranking that’s above-average reliability rating. Available as a hatchback or sedan, the Rio handles well and provides smooth rides to keep the driver and passengers comfortable. Adults in the back may feel slightly cramped.
Despite the use of hard plastics, the car’s cabin is more appealing compared to its competitors’ interiors. All models come with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, a rearview camera for enhanced safety, and Apple Car Play.
12. 2020 Honda Fit
If you’re seeking a subcompact car that delivers top value with affordability in mind, then the 2020 Honda Fit ends your search. And, it’s remarkable fuel economy contributes to its low price of ownership. The Fit’s spacious cargo section and interior, excellent quality materials, and comfortable seats, puts it steps ahead of its competitors.
While it provides sufficient power, its acceleration can, at times, be sluggish. It has Android Auto, a 7-inch touch screen, and Apple Car Pay. All models come with a rearview camera installed and the state-of-the-art Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance features.
What’s The Difference between Compact and Subcompact Cars?
If you’re shopping for a new car, chances are subcompact, and compact are terms you’ve stumbled upon. The latter, regardless of the name, are larger than the subcompact counterparts.
For classification in the compact car segment, a car must have a combined cargo and passenger volume that falls anywhere between 100 and 109 cubic feet. Contrarily, for subcompact cars, it ranges from 85-99 cubic feet.
Moreover, compact cars, as a result of their lighter weight and compact size, deliver enhanced fuel economy and superior maneuverability.