Compact cars, like many other manufacturing marvels, began in post-WWII Britain. Soldiers came home and factories changed their products back to household goods. People had money for the first time in decades.
The Mini Cooper gave options to the general public for vehicles. One could buy the freedom of travel for far less if you chose a no-frills option. Manufacturers didn’t design small vehicles as luxury rides.
You bought the basics and paid for the basics alone. Over the years, a change started to happen.
Instead of compact cars coming with compacted features, they began to offer more options. Automatic transmissions, cruise control, heated seats, and steering wheels all became more standard.
Even horsepower rose to match the larger cars. And today, buying a compact car can mean anything from buying a basic sedan to a luxury coupe.
Keep reading to learn about the best compact cars to watch out for in 2019
Best Compact Cars
This article will not rank these as best to worst or worst to best. They fall in no particular order and each has its own strong merits. If you don’t see a car here you like, this website might have other options for you.
1. Mini Cooper Clubman
It stands to reason that the car which revolutionized cars make the list. This car appears far less mini than most bearing the name. With four doors and a longer looking cab, this car appears more like a station wagon than a Mini Cooper.
As with its cousins, you have plenty of options. At its highest level, the Clubman cranks out 228 horsepower. You may look like you are driving a station wagon, but you can get up and go as fast as you want.
As with most Mini’s you are going to pay a pretty penny for a prettier car. But the luxury makes it worthwhile.
One major downside comes with the constant shift in gas prices, though. And this car might make it 25 on a gallon in the city and nine more than that on the highway.
Still, it’s a fine car to look at with a very roomy interior. And everyone will still know you are driving a mini.
2. Chevy Cruze
If Chevy tickles your fancy, Chevy Cruze might be your go-to car. As with similar cars of this make, you are buying a less expensive car.
That doesn’t make this car worse by any stretch, in fact, it may be an extra selling point. You buy an engine with lower horsepower but gain greater distance between fill-ups.
The car only climbs to 158 hp. But when you drive 28 miles in city and 38 highway, the trade-off pays off. Add that to the money you saved in your original purpose and you can strut with the confidence of a thicker wallet.
Your best friend might beat you off the blocks at a red light. But you will only fill up your tank 3 times for every 5 times he stops for gas.
As another fine point, this car has an impressive list of standard features.
3. VW Beetle
Nothing quite makes you smile like a Beetle. Admit it, Beetles are just fun cars to drive.
And who didn’t grow up wish the had a car like Herbie?
Well, 2019 may be your year for a bug, the good kind. These cars sport a surprising amount of head and leg room inside. Which might be the only kind of extra room you have in such a car.
If 2019 isn’t your year, it is unknown when you will have another chance. As of right now, they will discontinue the model at the end of the year.
So grab this sporty car with a surprising amount of engine power. It comes standard with a 170 horsepower turbocharged engine. Anyone deciding to race you off the blocks is in for a surprise.
However, this car’s gas mileage suffers from the tradeoff of increased sportiness.
4. Toyota Corolla
Dipping back down in price range, we have the Corolla. This car makes you feel safe and secure but it doesn’t come with a spark of thrills.
Built for safety and priced for efficiency, you are going to notice how far you drive on one tank. And you will see extra money in your gas budget. With up to 32 city and 42 highway miles, you will spend more time doing and less money refueling.
The Corolla does have less cargo room than some other compacts. But even standard cars come with loads of safety features like lane-assist and auto braking.
5. Kia Forte
The Forte treats your budget as kindly as the Corolla. It is priced to sell and built for comfort.
Further, the immense amount of storage space makes packing easy even with a full car. And while it may be a compact, the leg room in the back will give your passengers extra comfort.
Kia didn’t focus on power but when you hit 40 mpg on the highway, who cares? This is a new model year, so it may take time to iron out all the bugs. But have some fun along the way.
6. Ford Focus
2019 will bring a new model year for the Ford Focus. The engines are turbocharged while still eco-friendly. This increases their appeal to your more environmentally conscious friends.
Also, as the backseat leg room was an issue in the past, they increased that too.
As in the past, the Focus won’t break your bank at the time or purchase or with every fill up.
7. Hyundai Elantra
Making great leaps and bounds with every year, the Elantra continues the trend. Gas mileage on the highway can top out at 43 miles. And it does this with an engine as small as 1.4 Liters.
Your horsepower may suffer but your wallet will rejoice. And efforts have gone into equipping the car with more safety features than previous years.
And for the price, it comes with options to bathe you in luxury with every mile.
8. Kia Soul
The soul has been an attention grabber since day one. Maybe it was the unique design which looked like an SUV and a sedan had a love child. Or maybe it was the hamsters in the commercials.
This car tends toward a lower price, with a big emphasis on cargo room. It doesn’t have the fuel efficiency of many other compacts. And it also lacks power with a lower hp.
But the ride will be comfortable for everyone inside, no matter how far you have to go.
9. Mazda 3
Slim, sleek and sexy are the best words to describe this thoroughbred of cars.
Between the low end and the high end, exists a rather small price difference. And if luxury and comfort with the explosiveness of an athlete don’t get you excited, please call 911.
The gas mileage in the city may stay below 30, but on the highway, it jumps to almost 40. This car turns head as it zips past them. But it comforts the heads inside with quiet rides and excellent safety features.
This car combines luxury looks with budget-friendly costs in a way few others can. In short, it embodies everything you have come to expect from a mazda. And it still improves on the previous year.
10. Honda Civic
You have certainly been waiting for this one. And what list of compact cars can call itself complete without a Honda somewhere on the list?
Beyond their ability to last thru anything, Honda still manages to give the riders a luxury feel. And with a low price tag at the lot and fuel economy up to 42 on the highway what’s not to love?
They could have worked on the touchscreen interface a bit more, but that is a small price to pay.
And even with its great mpg’s in the city, you still have some power to get going. As soon as that light turns green, you will leave a trail of dust.
What’s more, when you have a short distance to pass, the civic won’t disappoint. As a final note, the civic comes with plenty of options for body styles and engines, so you don’t have to compromise.
A Compact Car for Every Taste
You no longer have to sacrifice performance for fuel economy. Nor do luxury costs stand in opposition to high-quality standard options.
Today’s cars are more affordable and safer than ever. And yet they still manage to feel like a car that should have cost more than it did.
The best compact cars offer everything you want and even more. And, with very few exceptions, they come at a price range you can afford.
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