Top-Rated 2020 Small Cars in Quality According to Consumers

Liz Kim | Jun 24, 2020

Whether you live in a crowded city with tight parking spaces, carry passengers infrequently, or simply need a low-cost way of getting around town, a small car provides transportation in an efficient and affordable package. But have you ever wondered which cars consumers rank the highest in quality? This list will show you.

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Small Car

J.D. Power knows which cars consumers think are highest in quality because it surveys thousands of new vehicle owners every year. Verified owners tell J.D. Power about what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong with their new vehicle during the first 90 days of ownership. The data is gathered, analyzed, and packaged in a series of benchmark automotive industry studies, including the annual Initial Quality Study (IQS).

In the IQS, J.D. Power gives each vehicle meeting a minimum number of survey responses a “problems per 100 vehicles,” or PP100, score. The lower the PP100 score, the higher the vehicle ranks in terms of quality because consumers are citing fewer problems for each 100 cars on the road.

In this post, you’ll find the 10 small cars that received the highest PP100 scores, according to the consumers who own the vehicles. They’re listed in descending order according to PP100 score, with the top-rated vehicle at the bottom.

10. 2020 Honda Fit - Find the best Honda Fit deals!

The 2020 Honda Fit, a highly practical small hatchback, is available in four trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L. A 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine making up to 130 horsepower motivates the front wheels through your choice between a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy ranges between 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. For 2020, you can no longer be able to equip the Fit with a factory-installed navigation system.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Honda Fit is 158.

9. 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage - Find the best Mitsubishi Mirage deals!

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is the second least expensive car on sale in America, and with its 78-hp 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine, it’s also one of the least powerful. It comes in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback body styles, and in ES, LE, SE, and GT trim levels. Most Mirages include a CVT, but you can get a 5-speed manual transmission in the ES trim. Fuel economy ranges between 33 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. For 2020, all Mirages come with standard automatic climate control.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is 156.

8. 2020 Nissan Sentra - Find the best Nissan Sentra deals!

Redesigned this year, the 2020 Nissan Sentra compact sedan has a more upscale look inside and out and includes lots of standard safety and infotainment features. Three trim levels are available: S, SV, and SR. They all have the same 149-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with a CVT sending power to the front wheels. You can expect fuel economy to range between 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Nissan Sentra is 148.

7. 2020 Chevrolet Spark - Find the best Chevrolet Spark deals!

If you’re wondering what the least expensive new car in America is, look no further. The 2020 Chevrolet Spark hatchback will get you to where you need to go. The lineup includes LS, 1LT, 2LT and Activ trim levels, the latter featuring a higher ground clearance and roof rails for a faux-SUV look. You can wring 98 hp from the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, which comes only with a CVT. Expect to get between 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway from this 4-seat hatch.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Chevrolet Spark is 145.

6. 2020 Volkswagen Jetta - Find the best Volkswagen Jetta deals!

The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan comes in a multitude of trim levels, most of them powered by a 147-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. Get the racy Jetta GLI and the car has a 228-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. Depending on trim and engine, the Jetta has a 6-speed manual, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings range from 25 mpg in the city to 40 mpg on the highway.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta is 144.

5. 2020 Hyundai Elantra - Find the best Hyundai Elantra deals!

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra sedan comes in SE, SEL, Value Edition, Eco, Limited, and Sport trim levels. Most have a 147-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a new-for-2020 CVT. Eco trim uses a 128-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder while Sport versions have a 201-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. Eco and Sport trim use a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Fuel economy ranges from 23 mpg in the city to 41 mpg on the highway. A completely redesigned Elantra is coming for the 2021 model year.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Hyundai Elantra is 134.

4. 2020 Kia Rio - Find the best Kia Rio deals!

Equipped with a new powertrain, the 2020 Kia Rio is less powerful but more efficient than before. Available in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback body styles, the Rio’s 1.6-liter 4-cylinder makes 120-hp and powers the front wheels through a new CVT. The payoff is fuel economy ratings of 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. Rio sedans come in LX and S trim levels, while the hatchback comes only in S specification.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Kia Rio is 131.

3. 2020 Kia Forte – J.D. Power Award Winner in Initial Quality! - Find the best Kia Forte deals!

The 2020 Kia Forte compact sedan is sold in FE, LXS, GT-Line, EX and GT trim levels. Under the hood of the first four is a 147-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The base FE offers a choice between a 6-speed manual transmission or the CVT that comes standard in all but the new-for-2020 Forte GT. That version of the car has a 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder and a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Fuel economy ranges from 25 mpg in the city to 41 mpg on the highway.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Kia Forte is 119, in a tie with the Hyundai Accent. The Forte receives an Initial Quality award in the compact car segment.

2. 2020 Hyundai Accent - Find the best Hyundai Accent deals!

The 2020 Hyundai Accent sports a new engine for 2020, a 120-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that is less powerful than before but is more fuel efficient. Official mileage estimates range from 29 mpg in the city to 41 mpg on the highway. The base Accent SE offers a choice between a 6-speed manual transmission or a new-for-2020 CVT, while the SEL and Limited come standard with the CVT.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Hyundai Accent is 119, in a tie with the Kia Forte.

1. 2020 Chevrolet Sonic – Highest Small Car in Quality According to Consumers! - Find the best Chevrolet Sonic deals!

Living on borrowed time, the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic won’t be in production much longer. That’s too bad, because it provides the highest quality of any small car in America.

Available in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback body styles, and in LS, LT and Premier trim levels, every Sonic has a 138-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Chevy says to expect between 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

The PP100 score for the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic is 103, and it receives an Initial Quality award in the small car segment.

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