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Best Commuter Cars for 2022

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8 Best Commuter Cars in 2022

If it looks like you’ll be spending more time commuting to work or school in 2022, having the right car could turn that time in traffic into a pleasant journey. Choosing the best new commuter car depends on your commute (long versus short, highway versus city miles), as well as what matters most to you. For a long commute, you may want to focus on commuter cars with the best gas mileage. Or, comfort may be a higher priority, so you’ll feel better when the ride is over. A premium audio system or smartphone connectivity can help pass the time with your favorite tunes. Here’s a look at some of  the best commuter cars for 2022 that can fit your budget and lifestyle.

8 Best commuter cars
Model Score out of 5 MSRP Best for
2022 Kia Soul 4.45 $19,190 Stylish twist on commuting
2022 Honda CR-V 4.41 $25,750 Commuting with stuff
2022 Honda Civic 4.36 $21,900 All around commuting champ
2022 Kia Forte 4.35 $19,090 Eco-friendly commuting
2022 Toyota Corolla 4.3 $20,075 Buyers on a budget
2022 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid 4.3 $23,600 MPG-conscious commuters
2021 Mazda CX-5 4.29 $25,370 A need to haul
2022 Toyota Prius 4.22 $24,525 Long-distance commuters

How we chose the best commuter cars

We looked at a variety of vehicles, including hybrids, small SUVs and sedans and narrowed the list to vehicles with the highest rating by experts and consumers on Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds. Some cars may be 2021 models, while others are 2022, depending on the manufacturers’ release schedule and the number of reviews available.

Note that the MSRP is for the base trim of each vehicle, which may include manual transmission, and doesn’t include transportation charges. Additional features that could make your commute more enjoyable or fuel-efficient may cost extra as an option or as a feature in a higher trim level.

The best commuter cars

2022 Kia Soul

31/29/35 MPG combined/city/highway

4.45 out of 5

$19,190 starting MSRP

The Kia Soul is one of the best cheap commuter cars on our list, and one of the most distinctive. The boxy body means the Soul stands out from its lozenge-shaped competitors, and the upright design means there’s a lot of room inside. The Soul blends the best of a subcompact SUV and a hatchback, so the driving position is elevated a bit and it’s easy to get stuff in and out of the rear cargo area, which grows to impressive size when the rear seats are folded. While it’s not a luxury car, the Soul offers a ride comfortable enough for commuting and thrifty fuel economy.

The base LX trim offers an 8-inch display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, cruise control, and a trip computer. If you want more pep in your commute, upgrade to the Turbo trim level with a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with a seven-speed transmission. The Soul does not offer an all-wheel-drive option. If you’re looking for an EV, the Kia Soul also comes in all-electric form for 2022, as well.

2022 Honda CR-V

30/28/24 MPG combined/city/highway

4.41 out of 5

$25,750 starting MSRP

The Honda CR-V small SUV can fill a lot of roles — a fuel-efficient commuter during the week, and a roomy hauler for family and gear. Inside, the five-passenger interior features handy storage areas for your family’s stuff. But it’s no slouch — it’s engaging to drive with peppy acceleration and nimble handling. The interior is one of the roomiest among its competition, for passengers and cargo. The LX trim comes equipped with standard driver aids like forward collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Step up to the SE version for heated front seats, remote start and smartphone integration. Edmunds recommends the EX trim which adds more comfort and tech features at a reasonable price. All-wheel drive is optional except for the Touring trim, where it’s standard. If you need an SUV for off-road fun or towing, however, the CR-V isn’t the right choice. The CR-V shines as a great commuter and family vehicle, however. It also comes in a hybrid version, if you want to save on gas.

2022 Honda Civic

36/33/42 MPG combined/city/highway

4.36 out of 5

$21,900 starting MSRP

Honda redesigned the perennial best-seller Civic for 2022, delivering an attractive all-around commuter champ once again with seats redesigned for comfort on long drives. The updated styling reflects favorite elements from previous years. The new Civic five-seat sedan is about an inch longer than previous models, adding room to the back seat. The trunk has 14.8 cubic feet of space, a bit more than the Toyota Corolla. There’s also a hatchback version for more cargo space.

Honda tuned the suspension for a sporty yet comfortable ride, forgiving over bumps in the road and responsive when it counts. Standard safety features include 10 airbags, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and road-departure mitigation. The lane-keeping assist system has been updated with a better camera. For those who want more of a sporty feel, the Sport and Touring models are available with paddle shifters to manually operate the CVT automatic-style transmission. If you want a six-speed manual, the hatchback is the one for you.

2022 Kia Forte

35/31/41 MPG combined/city/highway

4.35 out of 5

$19,090 starting MSRP

Add the Kia Forte to our list of the best cheap commuter cars. It stacks up well against the compact sedan competition like the popular Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, with good value and excellent fuel economy. The base FE trim comes with an 8-inch touchscreen display, smartphone integration and safety features including forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning. The driver attention warning can help keep you alert during your daily drive. A manual transmission is an option if you’d like to be more engaged in the driving experience. The 2021 edition was a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. If you’re depending on the Forte to get to work, the 10 year/100,000-mile warranty and Kia’s No 1. ranking for dependability from J.D. Power could be a factor in choosing the best commuter car for you. The 2022 edition features a refreshed exterior design and sporty trim levels.

2022 Toyota Corolla

35/32/41 MPG combined/city/highway

4.3 out of 5

$20,075 starting MSRP

The Corolla has been a top seller for years, and with good reason. For commuters, Toyota’s reputation for reliability and durability offers peace of mind. Toyota also has a great reputation for solid resale values when you need to sell your vehicle. The base L trim level offers a list of standard features that includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning/lane-centering assistance and hill start assistance. It’s one of the most affordable new cars in which radar-based adaptive cruise control is standard, which could take some of the stress out of commuting. The Corolla is available as a sedan, hatchback and a hybrid. If rear seating space is important, opt for the sedan that offers more legroom. For a sportier driving experience, upgrade to the SE or XSE level that offers an engine with more horsepower. The SE trim offers a manual transmission option. Toyota also offers a hybrid version of the Corolla for those who want to go easy on the gasoline.

2022 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

55/54/57 MPG combined/city/highway

4.3 out of 5

$23,600 starting MSRP

Depending on the model, the Ioniq Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient cars in the market, but it doesn’t compromise on interior room or technology. It also comes in a plug-in hybrid electric option if you’re looking for the best PHEV. If you’re looking for a fun-to-drive zippy car, the Ioniq is probably not the right choice. But if you’re concerned about fuel economy and reducing the environmental impact of commuting, take a look at the Ioniq. Hyundai’s engineers have solved the problem of touchy regenerative braking systems — it feels normal when you apply the brake pedal, even though the system is recharging the battery. On many hybrids, the brakes seem very grabby as the system captures the energy from braking to add juice to the battery. The transition between battery and engine power is smooth and seamless, and you can rely on the automatic transmission or use the paddle shifters to control the six-speed transmission. Outside, the Ioniq looks like just another small car. Inside, there’s generous room with the rear seats folded, and the front seats are accommodating for most occupants. Tech includes an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and Bluetooth integration.

2021 Mazda CX-5

28/25/31 MPG combined/city/highway

4.29 out of 5

$25,370 starting MSRP

The base trim level CX-5 Sport includes a 10.25-inch display screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration and safety features like the lane departure warning system. The 2021 CX-5 was designated an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick and was given an overall 5-Star Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Sport model is the lowest-cost level, but the experts at Edmunds recommend opting for the Touring trim which adds luxury touches like heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and keyless entry. Still, the Sport trim comes well equipped for the highway grind, with forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. The 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine delivers respectable performance and gas mileage. All-wheel drive is an option; front-wheel drive comes standard. If you want more power, move up to the Carbon Edition Turbo for a turbocharged engine that uses premium gas, which could increase the cost of your commute.

2022 Toyota Prius

56/58/53 MPG combined/city/highway

4.22 out of 5

$24,525 starting MSRP

If you’re looking for a hybrid, the Prius has years of proven technology and refinement that delivers fuel efficiency in a usable package. While some newer rivals may offer a smoother ride or a better infotainment system, the Prius didn’t get to be the car of choice for many Uber drivers by accident. The L Eco model is one of the commuter cars with the best gas mileage. As the base trim level, it doesn’t include some of the safety features and comfort upgrades of other models. Still, the list of features is long, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and a blind spot monitor. You’ll also enjoy heated mirrors, LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration and WiFi hotspot capability. If you want more luxury, Edmunds recommends upgrading to the XLE level for imitation leather upholstery and heated seats.

Ways to finance the best commuter cars

Shopping for an auto loan is just as important as shopping for the best new commuter cars. Look at banks, credit unions and online lenders to find the best APR. Save time by filling out a single form at LendingTree and receive up to five auto loan offers from lenders, depending on your creditworthiness. Then you’ll be ready to knowledgeably compare your financing with what the dealer may have to offer.


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