When it comes to compact and/or subcompact vehicles, the majority of consumers shop to buy with the issue of safety in mind, and they should. After all, smaller vehicles are apt to sustain more damage in an accident, and this means a higher potential for injury or fatality when it comes to the people inside the car. If buyers approach the new cars they look at from a safety-conscious angle, they are able to let go of a lot of the anxiety that comes with worrying about family and friends riding in their car. No one wants to live with the injury or death of a loved one hanging over their head or wearing on their heart for the rest of their life; it’s best that everyone stay as safe as possible.
But it can be difficult to understand the ins and outs of compact car safety, such as safety ratings, why and how a specific vehicle rated the way it did, and what those things mean to you. Well, we’ve not only decided to help you sort that information out, we thought we’d help you take a look at some of the safest compact cars out there for the 2020 model year. We’ve put them all together in a list, from #10 to #1, based on the overall score given, so that you have a better idea what’s available, and you won’t have to compromise when it comes to safety or economy. The scores focusing on safety, however, are listed first, for your convenience. The overall score covers all of the vehicles aspects, from safety to performance to price.
The list is numbered according to safety, and there is no car on the list that hasn’t been thoroughly tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or the ‘IIHS’. The IIHS has put each of the following compact vehicles through specified testing, and each one met the requirements necessary to earn their approval, and all the cars below are one of their top safety picks. Also for your convenience, we’ve also thrown in crash test ratings given to each vehicle by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We should also note that as of May, 2018 it became law that any new vehicles being sold must have cameras supplying drivers with a view of the rear, so the cars on this list all come equipped with that feature standard, unless we have specified otherwise.
All of this is very important when it comes to measuring the safety of any vehicle, and rather than having you figure out which ones passed or will keep you safe in an accident, we have done the work for you. So, once again, from ‘safe’ to the very ‘safest’, here are the safest compact cars for the 2020 model year. Now you can sit back, relax, and learn everything you need to know for that weekend you plan to take shopping the dealerships. Get comfortable and read on.
The 10 Safest Compact Cars for 2020
10. 2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan
Excellent gas mileage and a sweet, sweet price make the 2020 Hyundai Elantra look like the perfect car for most excited shoppers, but it’s the safety of the vehicle we’re talking about. The IIHS Top Safety Pick scored four stars with the NHTSA on its crash testing, with safety features that are standard on all of the available sub models they offer. Safety features provided include driver attention warning, forward collision-avoidance, and lane keeping assist, not to mention interior features such as the standard airbags and safety belts. Owners can also look forward to other extras like an infotainment center with touchscreen technology and dual zone climate control (which is standard on all trims except the GT). It also has plenty of room in the back seat, and the Sport trim provides plenty of power to anyone who just loves to drive. The 2020 Elantra has a starting MSRP of $19,150.
9. 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid
As far as compact cars go, Kia has been selling like hotcakes. But are they safe? With four stars from the NHTSA, this little wonder is also a Top Safety Pick of the IIHS, so the answer is yes. It is expected that the Niro Hybrid will sell well since it also offers the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, which have an abundance of safety features. Some of the features available are the child door locks, rear-view camera, front and rear-head curtain airbag, child seat anchors, driver and passenger airbags, pedestrian detection system, lane departure warning system, driver and passenger side airbags, stability control and traction control, and driver knee airbags. The new Niro also offers other options, and you’ll get a minimum of 139 hp and extras like lane-keeping assist and lane-following. This compact hybrid will give great fuel economy, but the price is a bit higher. A fully-loaded base version, for the hybrid, is expected to run consumers about $33,000.
8. 2020 Kia Forte
The second Kia on our list also earned four stars from the NHTSA, and the company is proud to have several of their models on the IIHS Top Safety Pick List, including this one. The Forte for 2020 offers safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Auto Emergency Braking Technology, Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Technology, and Lane Departure Warning Technology, along with all the other features you would expect to find with the standard version. It also provides great gas mileage, and there are plenty of extra options that come with the base model, so you get more for your money. Conveniences include Auto Headlamps, infotainment center with 8” touchscreen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Rear Camera with Dynamic Parking Guidance, Bluetooth connectivity, On-Steering Cruise Control, and an available automatic transmission option. So, if you’re interested in the 2020 Forte, you’re looking at paying a low price starting at around $17,890.
7. 2020 Toyota Corolla
The new Corolla earned five stars on everything except the overall NHTSA rating, which was four stars, making it not only safe, but able to withstand quite a bit, as a Top Safety Pick should. The new technological advances of this modern time makes it possible to provide car owners with many safety features that come in addition to those that are standard, like such as the airbags and safety belts. Advanced features in the Corolla are referred to as Toyota SafetySense 2.0, which also comes standard, and it includes Road Sign Assist, Lane Tracking Assist, the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Road Edge Detection, Steering Assist, and Automatic High Beams. Considering all the other optional extra’s that Toyota offers, the Corolla is comfortable, secure, and more than affordable, starting at $19,600. There are also several other levels of trim to choose from, all ranging in base extras and options. This popular Toyota model also has improved handling and a better interior design that those in the past, so it will likely be a go-to model for many Toyota fans.
6. 2020 Honda Insight
The 2020 Insight is one our first five star-rated vehicles on the list, so it has great crash ratings, and we know that the IIHS chose it for a reason. Honda offers a lot in regard to safety, including Driver Drowsiness Monitoring and rear view cameras; the standard Honda safety package includes lane keep and lane departure monitoring, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, road departure monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition. This model also happens to provide a mind-blowing fuel economy of 49/55 city/highway, and has a very attractive starting price of $22,930. With three trim levels available, drivers should easily find just what they are looking for, and they can trust that everyone inside the car is safe when their on the road. While the Insight had been briefly discontinued due to high sales of the Prius by Toyota, it is back and better than ever.
5. 2020 Volkswagen GTI
This is another Top Safety Pick which earned an overall rating of five stars from NHTSA. It comes with front, side, and overhead airbags, anti-lock brakes, anti-whiplash, lane departure and lane keeping assistance, automated emergency braking, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. In addition to safety, you get a bit of performance with great fuel economy, which is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The price is for the standard, manual transmission-equipped model is a bit higher at $28,595, but all the safety features make it well worth the money . Aside from the price, it’s all good, as it handles well and is available with plenty of nice amenities.
4. 2020 Kia Soul
This model from Kia received what was referred to as ‘stellar’ marks from the NHTSA’s crash testing, making it a proud star holder and Top Safety Pick recipient…the third Kia on our list. This model features a variety of available driver assists, including Rear-Cross-Traffic Alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning System, and Smart Cruise control. The turbocharged engine puts out around 200 hp, and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic tranny keeps that power under control. A variety of colors and entertainment options added to all of that make the Kia Soul of 2020 a great choice for anyone, earning it the number four place on our list. It’s not only fun looking and fun to drive, but affordable as well; the Kia Soul for 2020 will run you about $17,490 for starters.
3. 2020 Hyundai Kona
This Top Safety Pick also earned a five star rating from NHTSA. It is top-of-the-line, and it features a handful of advanced safety features, from pedestrian detection to rain detecting wipers; it also has automatic high-beams, which are very nice. Other safety features include optional adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and automatic high beams; standard safety includes rearview camera, driver attention monitor, forward collision monitor, and lane-keep assist. The new Kona is available in a variety of trims, and you’ll find it has many options to choose from. Besides the excellent safety features and ratings, the Kona for 2020 also has a pretty good base price, starting at $21,195.
2. 2020 Lexus UX
This five star Top Safety pick is technically considered an SUV, though some may argue that. Regardless, it is a small SUV, to say the least. It has a lot of safety features, great style, and consumers get a lot for their money when they buy it. For safety, drivers can enjoy standard safety options like driver assistance technology, blind spot monitoring, a head-up display, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors, lane departure and lane keeping assistance. The driver assist features in the Lexus UX are wonderful, and in the crash testing it rode very strong, earning every star, and when the safety benefits are coupled with the cool look and great performance, well, you’ve got a real winner. The 2020 UX has a starting price of $32,300.
1. 2020 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza makes our number one spot. Sure, it is a Top Safety Pick like all the rest, and it earned five stars from the NHTSA, like the others on this list. But it comes with many safety features STANDARD, which is a big deal to us. EyeSight Driver Assist Technology comes standard, front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, and a rear view camera with driving line display; these are great things to have, you’ll have to admit. With a starting price of $19,995 it’s just about perfect.
Sure, driving is fun, and it should be. But what is even better is being safe while driving or riding. As a matter of fact, it’s essential, and I’m sure you’ll agree. The good news is that the technology of today has provided us with incredible added measures of automobile safety that weren’t even imagined as recently as ten years ago, which is a wonderful motivation for buying new; it’s an incredible time to be alive, and an even better time to buy a brand new car. Just remember, when shopping for a car we all want the car to look good, run great, and be affordable, but if we can’t survive an accident it’s all for nothing. Be sure your new vehicle passes the necessary tests so you and your passengers make it home safe and sound every single time, and take advantage of all the options you can to keep your family safe and healthy for another day of riding. Happy shopping, enjoy the ride, and most of all, be safe.