These 2021 Compact Cars Are Wildly OK According to Consumer Reports

Some compact cars are standouts when it comes to predicted reliability. Others are downright terrible. And then some small cars fall in the middle of the spectrum.

We’ve compiled a list of the 2021 compact cars with average ratings for reliability, based on Consumer Reports data. CR determines a vehicle’s dependability through its member surveys, which capture thousands of owner experiences. Furthermore, the org has created a Reliability Chart highlighting 17 potential trouble spots, including a car’s drive system and in-car electronics. 

The 2021 Nissan Sentra is one of the safest cars you can buy 

A silver 2021 Nissan Sentra parked by the water
The 2021 Nissan Sentra on display | Photo via Nissan

Recently, the 2021 Nissan Sentra won a top safety award, partly because of its impressive driver assistance technologies. And even though its predicted reliability and owner’s satisfaction ratings are average, the Sentra shined in CR’s road-test. The Sentra got the second-highest road test grade with a score of 82. That’s only a point lower than what the flashier Volkswagen Golf received. 

CR was most impressed with the Sentra’s ride quality, handling, and easy-to-use controls. All Sentras come with a 149- hp four-cylinder and a continuously automatic transmission (CVT). What’s new for 2021 is that the Sentra now comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. 

The 2021 Subaru Impreza is sporty and luxury-like 

A blue 2021 Subaru Impreza driving down a road
The 2021 Subaru Impreza in action | Photo via Subaru

Subaru’s Impreza is a worthy choice if you want a small car with a sporty feel. Plus, it’s still one of the best cars you can get for under $20K The CR team favors this Subaru for its luxury-like ride comfort. 

The Impreza comes with a 152-hp four-cylinder. You have the choice between a five-speed manual and a CVT. Additionally, the Impreza’s standard all-wheel-drive system provides optimal traction without sacrificing fuel economy. The bummer is Subaru’s active safety features aren’t standard on each trim. 

The 2021 Honda Civic is one of the most satisfying options

A yellow 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition driving in front of mountains
2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition | Honda

The Civic’s reliability ratings took a dip after its latest redesign back in 2016. Nonetheless, this Honda still earns praise for its long-term quality and versatility. Furthermore, the 2021 Civic is the only model on this list of compact cars that got an above-average rating for predicted owner’s satisfaction. 

Unlike the Impreza, advanced safety features are standard on the Civic no matter which trim you pick. What really separates the Civic from the pack is that it features four lively engine options. Stick with the base model for the most practicality or go up to the Type R for more speed. 

Go for the 2021 Toyota Corolla Hatchback for extra flexibility 

2021 Toyota Corolla parked
2021 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

The Corolla Hatchback isn’t as reliable as the conventional sedan version, as the data shows. Yet, you might favor the hatchback model for its sporty looks and additional cargo space. The CR team says the most satisfying aspect of the Corolla Hatchback is its ability to handle twisty roads. 

Corolla Hatchbacks come with a 168-hp four-cylinder. This Toyota is available with either a six-speed manual or a CVT. Overall, it makes sense to go with the Corolla Hatchback if you value fun and practicality. 

The 2021 Toyota C-HR isn’t all bad either 

A white 2021 Toyota C-HR parked on display next to a blue wall
The 2021 Toyota C-HR on display | Photo via Toyota

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Many reviews for the C-HR aren’t very flattering. We’ve talked about the C-HR’s most notable flaws, including its pokey acceleration and poor outward visibility. Still, this Toyota has a few selling points. The 2021 C-HR is one of the best compact cars for fuel-efficiency. It also impresses with its standard safety equipment.