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Best Commuter Cars


PUBLISHED WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2021

Discover comfort in your daily drive.

Best Commuter Cars: Hero | CarMax

If you log many miles commuting each day, you know how important it is to have a vehicle that's not only comfortable but lets you go longer between fuel stops, too. Whether you spend a lot of time on the highway or just have to navigate the city, you need a car built for the job.

To help you on your search, we've compiled a list of the best commuter cars for 2021 shoppers, based on CarMax vehicle and sales data from October 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. The vehicles on this list have an average sales price under $30K, a city mpg of 30 or higher, and seating for four or more passengers, making them great options for daily travel.

  1. 2019 Kia Forte (2WD 2.0L)

  2. 2017 Honda Civic (2WD 1.5L)

  3. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta (2WD 1.4L)

  4. 2018 Honda Accord (2WD 1.5L)

  5. 2019 Honda Civic (2WD 2.0L)

  6. 2017 Chevrolet Volt (2WD 1.5L)

  7. 2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid (2WD 2.0L)

  8. 2017 Chevrolet Cruze (2WD 1.4L)

  9. 2018 Honda Civic (2WD 2.0L)

  10. 2017 Honda Civic (2WD 2.0L)

10.

2019 Kia Forte (2WD 2.0L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2019 Kia Forte | CarMax

Fully redesigned in 2019, the Kia Forte is a sporty sedan with a gas-sipping powertrain. Available in FE, LXS, S, and EX trims, all 2019 models include a 2.0L four-cylinder that earns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway with the continuously variable transmission.1 Thanks to the sedan's fastback design, the 2019 Forte also provides generous passenger space with 35.7 inches of rear-seat legroom and 38.8 inches of front-seat headroom. With 15.3 cu ft of cargo volume, you'll have plenty of trunk space for business trips. Other standard features on the base 2019 Forte include:

  • 15-inch steel wheels

  • Dual-zone automatic temperature control

  • Forward collision warning

  • Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto capabilities

9.

2017 Honda Civic (2WD 1.5L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2017 Honda Civic 1.5L | CarMax

Looking for a small car with many options? The 2017 Honda Civic delivers the power of choice. Available as a sedan, coupe, or hatchback, the 2017 model offers two peppy powertrains, including a 174 hp, 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder (EX-T and higher trims) and an automatic transmission that returns an EPA-estimated 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.1 Whether commuting in the city or carpooling with coworkers, the 2017 Civic matches its fuel-sipping performance with a well-balanced ride that can glide over rough roads. Standard features in the 2017 Civic EX-T sedan include:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels

  • Fog lights

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control system

  • Heated front seats

8.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta (2WD 1.4L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta | CarMax

If you’re shopping for a compact sedan for commuting or running to meetings, look for a used 2019 Volkswagen Jetta for sale–a fuel-sipping option that’s also fun to drive. Redesigned in 2019, all models are powered by a turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder, which returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway with the eight-speed automatic transmission.1 Quick around turns, the 2019 Jetta feels stable when navigating twisty roads. The front seats are also very comfortable with good bolstering for added support on longer drives. Standard features on the 2019 Jetta S include:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels

  • LED headlights and taillights

  • Six-way manually adjustable driver seat

  • Rearview monitor

7.

2018 Honda Accord (2WD 1.5L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2018 Honda Accord | CarMax

The 2018 Honda Accord is a midsize sedan with a roomy interior that caters to a range of lifestyles. With seating for five passengers and 16.7 cu ft of cargo volume, the 2018 Accord works well for families, couples, or young professionals. Under the hood, a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway with the continuously variable transmission.1 The sophisticated cabin also boasts a modern design with soft-touch materials and an intuitive touchscreen display. Standard features on the base 2018 Accord LX include:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels

  • Cloth upholstery

  • Bluetooth® audio streaming capabilities

  • Multi-angle rearview monitor

6.

2019 Honda Civic (2WD 2.0L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2019 Honda Civic | CarMax

Available as a sedan or sporty coupe, the Honda Civic blends comfort and performance with gas mileage. 2019 base models start with a 158 hp, 2.0L four-cylinder that gets an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 38 mpg highway with the continuously variable transmission.1 When carpooling with coworkers, you'll also love the sedan's spacious interior, which provides 15.1 cu ft of trunk volume and 37.4 inches of rear-seat legroom. Other standard features on the 2019 Civic sedan LX include:

  • 16-inch steel wheels with covers

  • Fold-down rear seatback

  • Multi-angle rearview monitor

  • Lane departure warning system

5.

2017 Chevrolet Volt (2WD 1.5L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2017 Chevrolet Volt | CarMax

The 2017 Chevrolet Volt is a five-passenger plug-in hybrid sedan with around-town maneuverability that's great for city living. Using two electric motors and an 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery, the 2017 Volt's 1.5L gasoline engine earns an EPA-estimated 43 mpg city and 42 mpg highway.1 This fuel-sipping performance is matched with smooth handling that feels sporty around turns. The 2017 Volt's powertrain also delivers seamless acceleration when switching from electric and gasoline modes. Standard features on the 2017 Volt LT include:

  • 17-inch aluminum wheels

  • Cloth upholstery

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities

  • Equipped with OnStar® functionality (activation required)2

4.

2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid (2WD 2.0L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid | CarMax

If you're looking for a midsize sedan with frugal performance, the Ford Fusion Hybrid will minimize stops at the pumps. Equipped with a 2.0L four-cylinder and an electric motor, the 2019 model returns an EPA-estimated 43 mpg city and 41 mpg highway with the continuously variable transmission.1 The 2019 Fusion Hybrid also includes an eco-guide in the instrument cluster to show you how your driving style impacts gas mileage. Other standard features in the 2019 Fusion Hybrid SE include:

  • 17-inch aluminum wheels

  • Cloth upholstery

  • 10-way power-adjustable driver seat

  • SYNC® 3 infotainment system

3.

2017 Chevrolet Cruze (2WD 1.4L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2017 Chevrolet Cruze | CarMax

Offered as a sedan or a hatchback, the Chevrolet Cruze is a practical compact car with an easy-going personality. 2017 models use a 153 hp, turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder that gets an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway with the six-speed automatic transmission.1 With 36.1 inches of rear-seat legroom, the 2017 Cruze has plenty of stretch-out space for taller passengers. There is also generous cargo space for luggage with 14.8 cu ft of volume in the sedan or 22.7 cu ft in the hatchback. Standard features in the 2017 Cruze L include:

  • 15-inch steel wheels with covers

  • Power windows with express-down

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • Rearview monitor

2.

2018 Honda Civic (2WD 2.0L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2018 Honda Civic | CarMax

Craving a compact car that's chock-full of the latest tech? The Honda Civic has what you're after. One step above the base trim, the 2018 Civic EX is overflowing with connectivity features and driving aids, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. A Honda LaneWatch system is also standard, which uses a camera located below the passenger-side mirror to provide a clear view of the roadway. Equipped with a 2.0L four-cylinder, the 2018 Civic achieves an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.1 Other standard features in the 2018 EX model include:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels

  • Heated side mirrors

  • One-touch power moonroof with tilt feature

  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback

1.

2017 Honda Civic (2WD 2.0L)

Best Commuter Cars: 2017 Honda Civic 2.0L | CarMax

Topping our list of the best commuter cars is the 2017 Honda Civic—a compact sedan or coupe with thrifty performance. Anchored by a 2.0L four-cylinder and a continuously variable transmission, the 2017 Civic takes the checkered flag with an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.1 Straddling the lines between comfortable and sporty, this compact car provides controlled handling without quelling any driving fun. The base 2017 Civic LX includes these standard features:

  • 16-inch alloy wheels

  • Taillights with integrated LED light bars

  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback

  • Multi-angle rearview monitor

Whether you want satisfying performance, high EPA estimates, or a comfortable cabin to feel pampered on your commute, there's an affordable option on this list with the specs and features you need.

Looking to do more research? Check out these related articles:

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.
2OnStar features require activation and most require a paid OnStar plan to use. Wi-Fi hotspot functionality may also require an additional data plan. Limitations and restrictions apply. See onstar.com for more information.



* Price excludes taxes, title, registration, and fees. Applicable transfer fees are due in advance of vehicle delivery and are separate from sales transactions.

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