Every 2019 Compact Car Ranked from Best to Worst

a blue gray 2019 mazda3

Compact cars are popular with new drivers and first-time buyers because of their low sticker prices. They’ve come a long way from their “bargain basement” perception and now often include a plethora of tech and comfort features. They were also popular during the early 2000s when gasoline prices were on the rise thanks to their great fuel economy.

Lately, however, many compact cars have been put on the chopping blocks by their parent company as more and more consumers are buying subcompact and compact SUVs. Still, there are some great finds in the compact car segment. We rank 16 compact cars from best to worst depending on their driving performance, standard features, design, and value.

16. 2019 Nissan Sentra

a 2019 nissan sentra

The 2019 Nissan Sentra has a spacious interior for its size, and the trunk also has high volume measurements. Plus, the Sentra is one of the least expensive vehicles on the market. Those looking for a bargain will surely find it here. But while other competitors may be more expensive, we also think they’re simply better cars. The Sentra provides a lackluster driving experience, has an underpowered engine, and features a bland dated design inside and out.

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15. 2019 Chevrolet Cruze

a 2019 chevy cruze

This is the last call for the Chevrolet Cruze. The Bow-Tie company announced that it would be ceasing production on this compact car (while also announcing a new subcompact crossover). That’s too bad because we always appreciate Chevy’s clean and easy-to-understand infotainment designs. The Cruze also had pretty good fuel economy numbers, but competitors offer more features at better prices while retaining their value for longer.

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14. 2019 Toyota Prius

a 2019 toyota prius

The Prius is the granddaddy of hybrid vehicles, and it still has some of the most fuel-efficient ratings of any car on the market. However, the futuristic stylings have grown to leave a stale taste in our mouths. We don’t find the odd center stack to be intuitive, for instance. But the hatchback design does give plenty of room for passengers and cargo. If you’re in the market for a hybrid, there are honestly much more modern interpretations.

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13. 2019 Subaru Impreza

a 2019 subaru impreza

The roomy interior and comfy seats are a plus, but the 2019 Subaru Impreza falls to the bottom half of our list because of poor material quality. At these prices, things should feel so…cheap. The reliability ratings for the Impreza are also not on par with competitors, but there are few compacts that offer all-wheel-drive.

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12. 2019 Kia Forte

a 2019 kia forte

The 2019 Kia Forte ended up twelveth on our list because of its underpowered engine and finicky driving performance. But it did get good marks for an attractive design and a good list of standard features for the price point.

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11. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

a 2019 volkswagen jetta

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta is completely redesigned for this year, and it does feel much more upscale compared to past versions. It finishes near the middle of our pack, however, for so-so engines that leave much to be desired when you’re zooming around the city.

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10. 2019 Hyundai Elantra

a 2019 hyundai elantra

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra is starting to look boring and dated. Sure it’s a perfectly fine design, but where the fifth generation styling was fun, this sixth generation is a snooze. Like its Kia cousin, it packs a lot of features in for the price. But compared to other compacts it has poor finishing materials and a lackluster driving experience.

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9. 2019 Nissan Leaf

a 2019 nissan leaf

The 2019 Nissan Leaf has some great range thanks to a larger battery. It’s also one of the cheapest EVs on the market. Having said that, it’s pretty cramped when it comes to space, even for a compact car. The interior design is clean, if a little spartan and cheap looking.

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8. 2019 Hyundai Veloster

a 2019 hyundai veloster

The 2019 Hyundai Veloster has a funky design and a somewhat tight backseat, but it’s also peppy and fun to drive with a well-powered engine. The only thing holding it back is below-average fuel economy.

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7. 2019 Toyota Corolla

a 2019 toyota corolla

The 2019 Toyota Corolla is a little generic looking (something that Toyota fixed on the already-released 2020 Corolla), but it has outstanding fuel economy ratings for a non-hybrid vehicle. It has great reliability ratings and an array of standard safety features. The engine does leave something to be desired, however.

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6. 2019 Chevrolet Volt

a 2019 chevy volt

Chevy has already announced that the Volt is on its way out. We think that’s a shame because the middle of the country could use a great plug-in hybrid until the charging infrastructure gets built out. While it always had stellar consumer ratings from owners, it never was a best-seller. We’ll miss this great car!

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5. 2019 Hyundai Ioniq

a 2019 hyundai ioniq

The 2019 Hyundai Ioniq stands out with three versions: traditional hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure EV. The hatchback styling may not be for everyone, but it allows for a spacious interior. Inside, the Ioniq is just as standard looking, something the Prius may want to think about emulating.

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4. 2019 Honda Insight

a 2019 honda insight

If there were one hybrid car we would suggest buyers purchase, it would be the 2019 Honda Insight. The design borrows heavily from the much-celebrated Civic. Just because you’re driving a hybrid car doesn’t mean it has to be from the future. The Honda is fun to drive and comes with a long list of standard safety features.

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3. 2019 Volkswagen Golf

a 2019 volkswagen golf

VW’s Golf has sporty handling and an upscale interior. Its powerful engines make even trips to the grocery store a fun affair. And with an array of styles (regular hatchback, Sportwagen, etc.), there’s something for everyone.

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2. 2019 Honda Civic

a 2019 honda civic

The 2019 Honda Civic has a sporty exterior and nimble handling to match. The interior is intuitive, and the Civic comes with an impressive array of safety features. Package all of that at an attractive price point, and you’ve got one great car!

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1. 2019 Mazda3

a 2019 mazda3

The 2019 Mazda3 sports a brand new design for this model year, and it’s a beauty. Clean, aggressive lines wrap around the attractive vehicle. Inside, buyers would be forgiven for thinking that they wandered into the luxury compact category. The perennially sporty driving capabilities of Mazda set this small car above the competition.

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