2019 Compact Cars

If you’re looking for style, fuel economy, and technology at an easy-to-swallow price tag, then the compact car segment is the place to be. Compact cars are no longer the ugly, too-cheap-to-be-seen-in vehicles that they used to be and offer a ton of value for buyers. Although compact cars are becoming less popular as people move towards crossovers, there’s still a market for these economical offerings.

Ford and Chevrolet will discontinue some of their compact cars like the Ford Fiesta and Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze.

Pros and Cons of Compact Cars

Pros: Price is the main driving factor behind why many people end up choosing compact cars. Perfect for city living, they’re affordable, cheap to run, often don’t require premium gas, are cheaper to insure, have better fuel economy, and easy to park and maneuver around tight spaces. Because they’re typically not as mechanically complicated as larger or more expensive cars, they also tend to be more reliable and easier to maintain. These days, compact cars aren’t the penalty boxes they used to be — they don’t punish you for having a budget. A lot of the technology and features that used to only be found in larger luxury cars have trickled down to the compact car segment. Stuff like leather, heated seats, wireless charging, adaptive cruise control and more can now be found in compact cars.

ALSO SEE: CVT Transmission Pros and Cons

Cons: If you want all-wheel drive, you’ll have to look elsewhere, as most compact cars don’t offer this unless you go up to the luxury brands. Some compact car drivers also don’t love being overshadowed or intimidated on the roads by larger cars. Performance-wise, compact cars will easily get you from place to place, but if you want speed and sporty driving dynamics, you’ll have to pony up more money for turbo models or dedicated performance variants, as base model compact cars tend to be a bit slow. These upgraded models are likely more expensive to run and maintain as well.

What’s New in Compact Cars for 2019?

The 2019 Mazda3 sedan and hatchback have been completely overhauled and besides getting an all-new style, it will also be available with a turbo engine and all-wheel drive. Its upmarket style and interior help set it apart. The sedan and hatchback models also have distinctively different styling, with the hatch intended to be the sportier offering.

The Kia Forte was completely redone for 2019 with a Stinger-inspired new style. upmarket trimmings and tech inside, and a new CVT. The Forte also gets a new GT model, which comes standard with a 1.6L turbo and either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT, a great addition since the base engine and the CVT in the Forte makes it quite slow. A hatchback model will likely join the lineup soon.

A new generation Kia Soul debuted for 2019 bringing a funky new style and more technology. Although it didn't get all-wheel drive as many people hoped it would, it retains its boxy looks and utility, comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and two engine options. The EV model also debuted, though official range will be announced soon.

The Kia Rio is also new and offers drivers driving dynamics and build quality that makes it feel more expensive than it is.

ALSO SEE: Kia Rio vs Honda Fit Comparison

The Rio competes with cars like the Honda Fit, which got a small refresh. I’ve always liked the Fit for its excellent visibility, smart cargo solution like its Magic Seats and decent driving dynamics. The ever-popular Honda Civic also got a small refresh for 2019, but one of the most useful updates is the addition of a physical volume knob. The Honda Insight also returned for 2019 as a Civic-sized hybrid rated to get about 50 mpg.

Speaking of hybrids, the popular Toyota Prius got an important refresh for the 2019 model year that toned down some of the controversial design to make it more mainstream. The bigger news, however, is that the Prius is now available with all-wheel drive. A great feature for hybrid drivers who have snowy winters to deal with, the system is unique in that it only drives the rear axle (which is powered by an electric motor) at launch from 0-6 mph and only when needed at speeds of up to 43 mph. Of course, the plug-in Prius Prime is still available, and the Mirai, a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle, is available to drivers in certain states. 

The 12th-generation 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan is a huge seller for the brand and it was overhauled with an all-new platform, an aggressive new look, more power, and more technology than ever before. It’s now also available with a Hybrid variant and finally with Apple CarPlay compatibility. The Corolla Hatchback is also a great choice and is surprisingly fun to drive.

The Hyundai Accent sedan was recently refreshed, offering a great budget car with a lot of value, while the Elantra, Elantra GT, and Elantra Sport are also great picks. The bigger news in Hyundai world is the all-new Veloster. This unique three-door hatchback was overhauled for 2019, bringing much-improved driving dynamics, more features, and the debut of the new N performance line with the Veloster N hot hatch. The Veloster N is priced more affordably than the Honda Civic Type R and Volkswagen GTI, but might actually be more fun than either of them. The N has a lot of personality and really shows that Hyundai is serious about performance.

The MINI Cooper got a refresh for 2019 that brings some cute additions like Union Jack tail lights. The Chevrolet Bolt EV got small updates all around for 2019 as well, while the Nissan Leaf got an overhaul.

Following the refreshed Golf that got updated looks, more power, a better infotainment system, and more features, Volkswagen came out with a new Jetta for 2019, and although it’s not the most exciting, it offers German driving dynamics and build quality for a very affordable price. The GLI will be coming soon as well. 2019 marks the year, however, we will say goodbye to the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, as it will be discontinued.

The Mercedes A-Class debuted, setting a new bar for luxury compact cars. It comes with a high-tech new infotainment system and personal assistant you can control by saying "Hey Mercedes" and giving it a command.

What’s Coming in Compact Cars?

The Honda Fit is said to get an EV model in 2020. Toyota is also rumored to be making a performance-oriented TRD variant of the Corolla and might even add all-wheel drive to the lineup as well. We can expect more compact cars to get electric and hybrid versions, and all-wheel drive availability should increase in this segment as well.
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26 vehicles found

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Make / Model MSRP Fuel User Rating
2019 Nissan Versa Sedan
2019 Nissan Versa Sedan
view 3 trims
$12,360 - $15,990 27/36 mpg
2019 Kia Rio 5-door
2019 Kia Rio 5-door
view 1 trims
$16,490 28/37 mpg
2019 Hyundai Elantra
2019 Hyundai Elantra
view 12 trims
$17,100 - $23,500 22/30 mpg
2019 Nissan Sentra
2019 Nissan Sentra
view 8 trims
$17,790 - $25,840 25/30 mpg
2019 Kia Forte
2019 Kia Forte
view 5 trims
$17,790 - $21,990 27/37 mpg
2019 Chevrolet Cruze
2019 Chevrolet Cruze
view 9 trims
$17,995 - $26,120 28/37 mpg
2019 Subaru Impreza
2019 Subaru Impreza
view 12 trims
$18,595 - $25,690 22/30 mpg
2019 Toyota Corolla
2019 Toyota Corolla
view 8 trims
$18,700 - $22,880 27/35 mpg
2019 Volkswagen Jetta
2019 Volkswagen Jetta
view 13 trims
$18,745 - $27,695 30/40 mpg
2019 Honda Civic Sedan
2019 Honda Civic Sedan
view 7 trims
$19,450 - $27,300 25/36 mpg
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
view 4 trims
$19,990 - $24,090 28/37 mpg
2019 Honda Civic Hatchback
2019 Honda Civic Hatchback
view 6 trims
$21,450 - $28,750 29/36 mpg
2019 Volkswagen Golf
2019 Volkswagen Golf
view 4 trims
$21,845 - $25,245 29/37 mpg
2019 Toyota Prius
2019 Toyota Prius
view 6 trims
$23,770 - $32,200 54/50 mpg
2019 Honda Civic Si Sedan
2019 Honda Civic Si Sedan
view 1 trims
$24,300 28/38 mpg
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