Skip to main content

Whether it’s for the benefits of increased fuel economy or the joy of a spirited drive, just about everyone loves a turbocharged car. That works out great because many manufacturers are turning to turbocharger technology in an effort to increase fuel economy across the board.

What are the best turbocharged cars to buy?

With so many manufacturers turning to turbocharged engines over the past decade, it’s hard to decide which turbocharged car is the one for you. Fortunately, Truecar put together a great list of the best turbocharged cars to buy.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The 2022 Golf GTI is introduced to the media at the Chicago Auto Show on July 14, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
2022 Golf GTI Reveal | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Golf GTI is the original hot hatch. Quite simply, without the original Golf GTI of the 1980s, we wouldn’t have any of the fantastic hot hatchbacks we have today!

The original mentality of the Golf GTI still remains to this day. It’s a daily drivable and practical car with plenty of room for all of your things and passengers. Yet, its 241 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine provides grunty acceleration. Additionally, like the original Golf GTI, it has tight and responsive steering with excellent grip in corners.

2021 Karma GSe-6

This pick is a little out of the ordinary but cool nonetheless.

The Karma GSe-6 is a plug-in hybrid from Irvine, California-based luxury vehicle manufacturer Karma Automotive. Between its electric motor and turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, the GSe-6 puts down a whopping 536 horsepower. Remarkably, it still manages to deliver 70 miles per gallon combined.

Unfortunately, the limiting factor for this car is the price of entry. Its starting MSRP is $85,700.

2021 Volvo V60

V60 Cross Country, Birch Light metallic, 19" 5-Double Spoke Matt Graphite Diamond Cut alloy wheel
2021 Volvo V60 | Volvo

Building on the practicalities of a hatchback and the pinnacle of safety is the Volvo V60. This turbocharged station wagon offers either a turbocharged four-cylinder or a four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged.

The V60 is the complete package. It’s got plenty of room, plenty of luxury, plenty of power, and plenty of fuel economy with up to 34 mpg highway. Of course, Volvo’s notoriety for safety is a wonderful selling point, too.

2022 Honda Civic

Red 2022 Honda Civic sedan touring driving on city street
2022 Honda Civic | Honda

The classic staple of a basic car, the Honda Civic, has come loaded with a turbocharger for the past handful of years. 

The 2022 model sports a 180 horsepower 1.5-liter turbo engine that cranks out up to 31 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. While it isn’t the most powerful or sporty car on the list, it’s got plenty of spirit that makes for an enjoyable drive while cranking out impressive fuel economy.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen Golf R on stage as a 2022 Car of the Year Finalist at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California
2022 Volkswagen Golf R | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

If the Golf GTI just isn’t quite spicy enough for you, the Golf R should take care of it.

The variant of the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine found in the 2022 Golf R sees a bump to 315 horsepower, a substantial jump from the GTI. Furthermore, the Golf R features an all-wheel drive drivetrain, wherein the GTI is front-wheel-drive only. This combination of extra power and applying said power to all four wheels makes the Golf R a deeper cut into the performance side of things without sacrificing the Golf practicality. However, it costs well over $10,000 more than a Golf GTI.

2022 Volvo S60 Recharge

Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered Recharge in Black Stone Driving out of A tunnel
2022 Volvo S60 Recharge | Volvo

The 2022 Volvo S60 Recharge is effectively a “sleeper car” from the factory. That is a car that looks unimpressive but packs a surprising punch.

The Recharge features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with both a turbocharger and a supercharger. Furthermore, its combined plug-in electric drivetrain assists the engine in feeding 400 horsepower to all four wheels. It has remarkable acceleration that will put you back in the seat yet still manages to deliver 30 mpg combined.

Just like the V60, too, it’s loaded with a luxurious interior and safety features that only a Volvo could provide.

2022 Audi A3

Atoll Blue 2022 Audi A3 Driving on Mountain Road Front End
2022 Audi A3 | Audi

The Audi A3 offers shoppers a step into the Volkswagen Auto Group parent company with a bit more refinement than a Golf GTI. However, it still comes in substantially cheaper than a Golf R while offering an all-wheel drive drivetrain.

The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder found in the A3 is also similar to the one found in both the Golf GTI and Golf R, though less spritely than both with an output of 201 horsepower. Despite being the entry-level Audi, it still offers the signature Audi blending of a comfortable ride with planted, responsive handling.

2021 Volkswagen Jetta

Considering Volkswagen’s multiple decades of experience with mass-produced turbocharged vehicles, it’s unsurprising to see them spread all throughout this list.

The Jetta offers shoppers a budget entry into both the Volkswagen and turbocharged world. It starts at around just $20,000 and offers the choice between a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the slightly more potent 2.0-liter four-cylinder, offering 147 horsepower and 228 horsepower, respectively. Impressively, 1.4-liter equipped Jetta models are capable of up to 39 mpg highway.

There are plenty of turbocharged options to choose from

In summary, it’s a pretty safe bet to put your money into a turbocharged Volkswagen or Volvo. Both companies have decades of engineering and manufacturing experience with turbocharged vehicles and produce excellent quality vehicles at respectable prices.


Can You Put a Turbo in Any Naturally Aspirated Car?