Consumer Reports Doesn’t Like Any of These New Subcompact Cars

Subcompact cars make up a market segment of some of the most reasonably priced vehicles you can find brand new. They are typically your basic, affordable options that give buyers the bare minimum of safety and comfort with some added bells and whistles like touches of new tech or the options for a few luxury upgrades. Overall, these vehicles are designed to keep things simple, and more importantly, offering consumers the option to buy a reasonably priced brand new vehicle that still has its new car warranty and all of the benefits of buying a brand new car. Even with so many pros, Consumer Reports didn’t recommend even a single subcompact car out of the ones tested for 2021.

How many subcompact cars has Consumer Reports tested this year?

deep orange Nissan Sentra
Nissan Sentra | Raymond Boyd, Getty Images

For 2021, Consumer Reports has only tested 6 of the available subcompact cars. That may not seem like many, but each requires an extensive amount of testing, ranging from surveying owners and running data to try and predict this model year’s reliability to active road testing on a private course. The six tested are pulled from a pool of the most popular and sought-after subcompact vehicles on the market. So, while only a handful have been tested in this time-consuming rating process, they are tested thoroughly and are chosen to focus information on what the majority of buyers are actively looking for.

How did the 6 tested subcompact cars stack up?

RELATED: The 2021 Hyundai Venue Just Beat Every Other Car for This Award

On the Consumer Reports website, vehicles with high scores are endowed with a small note next to their name and a checkmark, indicating that they are recommended by the reviewer. As an authority in the industry and in the eyes of many buyers, this note of recommendation carries with it a substantial amount of weight. Just because a vehicle doesn’t have the recommendation of the site doesn’t mean it isn’t worth buying to some owners, and according to the ratings, not a single one of the six tested subcompact cars was found worthy of being recommended — yet, many of them are still very popular.

  • 2021 Nissan Sentra — overall score: 62
  • 2021 Hyundai Accent — overall score: 58
  • 2021 Hyunda Venue — overall score: 58
  • 2021 Kia Rio — overall score: 55
  • 2021 Chevrolet Spark — overall: 45
  • 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage — overall: $32

Why do these cars rank so low?

RELATED: All Three 2021 Nissan Sentra Trims are Affordable Options

Of the six subcompact vehicles rated, the only one that received what would be considered a ‘passing’ score was the 2021 Nissan Sentra — and really, not by much. That doesn’t mean that these vehicles are a bad buy by any means. In fact, most of these subcompact cars do have a list of pros that do match the list of cons. For a buyer who is looking to keep things simple and maybe willing to compromise to get a good deal, many of these choices still have a lot to offer.

Why each vehicle ranked so low varies, but there are a few common factors that most share, which reduces their scores in some way or another. This includes issues that some buyers may be willing to overlook because of the reasonable prices. On average, complaints about these subcompact cars include:

  • They don’t usually offer the smoothest ride quality
  • The cabins aren’t typically insulated well against road noise
  • As subcompact cars, the interiors are typically small
  • Sometimes noted for having uncomfortable back seats