For too long, SUVs have been the default cars for large families or heavy packers. With their abundance of seating and cargo space, many consumers have been led to believe that these vehicles are the only option to meet the needs of growing households. This year’s lineup of compact cars seeks to rewrite that narrative. Offering a much better fuel economy and sleeker style than their SUV counterparts, these small sedans seek to prove that you can have compact and comfort at the same time, according to Consumer Reports.
This is Hyundai’s best Elantra yet, according to Consumer Reports
“Elantra” is the second-oldest name in Hyundai’s offering of motor vehicles. The first 1990 edition was boxy and, according to Motor1, designed to compete with the fan-favorites of the time, like the Ford Sierra or Opel Vectra. With each subsequent generation, the car has kept up with modern styles and the latest tech, making 2021’s Elantra debut — the first of the seventh generation — especially impressive.
It’s truly no wonder that the 2021 Hyundai Elantra made Consumer Report’s list of roomy and comfortable compact cars. Hyundai clearly heard drivers’ previous complaints as they increased legroom and upgraded to a more intuitive and high-tech infotainment system. And while some have still taken fault with the less-than-plush seats, it’s hard to beat this car’s fuel economy: offering a hybrid powertrain with an EPA-rated 54 mpg combined.
The 2021 Mazda3 trades sporty for suave
Historically, the Mazda3 has been the compact car for those not looking to completely abandon their sports car ambitions. This latest release, however, has shown that the brand is evolving. No longer dedicated to getting drivers “in the game,” the previous sporty ride is now committed to luxury — providing the best seat in the house.
Its interior is decked out to feel elegant and offer a quiet driving experience. The newfangled entertainment system did receive some pushback from Consumer Reports reviewers, who felt that its sleek knob operating system sacrificed function for fanciness.
Still, this renewed commitment to luxury experience is moving the Mazda up in the compact car space and allowing it to compete with much more expensive vehicles. Car and Driver even went as far to say that — at a glance — the car could be mistaken for an Audi or BMW.
Consumer Reports says the Subaru Impreza brings a luxury interior experience
The Mazda3 isn’t the only car vying for the top spot in luxury compacts. The Subaru Impreza matches the quality of their award-winning hatchback and sedans. Like the Mazda 3, this vehicle prioritizes roominess and comfort, despite its compact body.
Car and Driver called out its “cabin benefits from soft-touch plastics, cushy armrests, and impressive fit and finish.” They even asserted that taller owners could easily operate the vehicle, enjoying plenty of legroom even in the driver’s seat.
Although the Impreza fails to achieve as strong of fuel economy as comparable cars, its ease of handling and steady power is nothing to discount. The Impreza goes above and beyond to prove that it’s not just about looks too. It earned admirable scores in NHTSA and IIHS safety and crash tests.
Many models of the Impreza also come standard with Subaru’s classic driver’s assistance software for safety. If only they could create an assistance program that would help consumers choose between all of 2021’s competitive and strong compact car choices. The Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla, and Honda Civic also topped Consumer Reports’ list. There has never been a better time to go tiny.