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3 Underappreciated Commuter Cars No One Talks About

Not everyone is looking for the next great, classic car, and that’s OK. Some of us just want a reliable commuter car to take on our daily tasks. Many people are familiar with economy cars like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. However, there are many other underrated options out there that you should consider during your next car-buying experience.

The first thing to remember is that there isn’t just one type of commuter car. Compact cars are usually the first type of vehicle that shoppers consider. However, there are plenty of affordable SUVs and even hybrids that fit the mold.

With this in mind, we’ll identify three hidden gems, each of a different segment, to help drivers find a perfect commuter car for their needs. These aren’t necessarily the best models on the market. Instead, these three vehicles excel in the aspects that are important to everyone’s daily drive.

Nissan Rogue Sport: Starting MSRP of $23,430

A white 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport driving down a city street, displaying its versatility as a commuter car
The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport in action | Photo via Nissan

The 2020 Nissan Rogue Sport’s name is a bit of a misnomer. It isn’t very sporty, but it gets the job done, just as a commuter car should. This subcompact SUV may have an underpowered four-cylinder engine, but it’s relatively fuel-efficient. The EPA estimates that the Rogue Sport gets 28 MPG city/highway combined with its front-wheel-drive setup. All-wheel-drive models get one MPG fewer.

This SUV offers more than just fuel-efficiency, as the Rogue Sport is a well-rounded vehicle. Do you need ample cargo space for your commute? Then, the 2020 Nissan Rogue may be the perfect fit, as it has more storage space than most of its competitors. Meanwhile, the front seats are quite spacious so that you can enjoy a comfortable ride to and from work.

The most significant selling point of the 2020 Rogue Sport is its standard suite of safety systems. These include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and more. However, it’s important to note that many of these driver-assistance technologies only became standard for the 2020 model year, and they were available at an added cost on previous models.

Hyundai Ioniq: Starting MSRP of $23,200

A red 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid shows off its commuter car capability while stopped at an intersection
The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq driving in a city | Photo via Hyundai

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Is the 2020 Hyundai Ioniq the first model that comes to mind when you think of hybrid cars? Probably not. However, it is an excellent alternative to the Toyota Prius. In fact, the Ioniq’s 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor combine to achieve better gas mileage than the Prius. Overall, you can expect to get an EPA-estimated 55 MPG city/highway combined.

The 2020 Hyundai Ioniq has a roomy interior, and its available wireless device charging system will help you keep your phone at full battery. Meanwhile, this hybrid offers long-term peace of mind with its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. 

Kia Forte: Starting MSRP of $17,890

A blue 2021 Kia Forte displays its commuter car prowess while driving on the highway
A 2021 Kia Forte driving on the highway | Photo via Kia

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The 2021 Kia Forte is more of a traditional commuter car, but many haven’t caught on to its greatness yet. Like the Hyundai Ioniq, it boasts one of the best powertrain limited warranties in the business, at 10 years/100,000 miles.

Although small, this compact car is mighty. Its GT trim comes with a sporty 1.6-liter turbo engine that delivers 201 hp. However, those looking for the best fuel economy may want to stick with the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This powerplant, when paired with the available continuously variable automatic transmission, returns an EPA-estimated 35 MPG city/highway combined.

Meanwhile, its cabin makes for a serene setting for your daily commute. The 2021 Kia Forte is rich with features and upscale materials, such as available heated and ventilated seats. Plus, it comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and more.

These commuter cars are smarter choices

Sometimes it pays to be smart instead of bold. Save money and stay comfortable by choosing a fantastic Point A to Point B vehicle such as the Nissan Rogue Sport subcompact SUV, Hyundai Ioniq hybrid, or the Kia Forte compact car.