Top 5 2020 Small Cars by Customer Satisfaction

Have you ever wondered what new car owners really think of their purchase? J.D. Power aims to find out with its annual survey of thousands of verified vehicle owners, in which the company requests in-depth feedback and opinions about the new cars, SUVs and trucks consumers have owned for at least 90 days. 

2020 Nissan Versa Red Front Quarter View

From this information, J.D. Power compiles several industry-standard benchmark customer satisfaction studies, including the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. In APEAL, J.D. Power shares what it has learned about owner satisfaction with a vehicle’s exterior styling, interior design, seat comfort, dynamic performance, and more. The more satisfying the vehicle according to the people who own them, the higher the model’s APEAL index number.

In the list that follows, you’ll find the five 2020 small cars that ranked highest in overall APEAL. They are listed in rank order, the highest performing vehicles topping the list. The average index score in this segment is 809.

1. Nissan Versa – Highest Small Car in Customer Satisfaction According to Consumers!

The Nissan Versa is all-new for 2020, offering improved driving characteristics, more feature content, and a grown-up and more appealing look. Nissan’s littlest sedan also gets good safety ratings from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All Versas have a 122-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with your choice between a manual or continuously variable transmission. Average fuel economy for this Nissan ranges from 30 mpg to 35 mpg in combined driving. 

The APEAL index score for the 2020 Nissan Versa is 850.

2. Chevrolet Sonic 

Chevrolet’s little Sonic comes in 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback body styles, and 2020 is its last year of production. But the 2020 Sonic goes out with a boom by earning good crash safety scores from the IIHS and NHTSA. It’s available in LS, LT and Premier trim levels, each motivated by a turbocharged 138-horsepower 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission. This Chevrolet should return about 29 mpg in combined driving. 

The APEAL index score for the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic is 831. 

3. Kia Rio

For 2020, Kia decided to put a less powerful but more efficient engine in the Rio. Available as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback, this Kia has a 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with a continuously variable transmission, and you’ll get about 36 mpg in combined driving, an improvement over the previous 32-mpg rating for the 2019 Rio. The sedan can be had in LX and S form, while S is the sole trim level for the hatchback. The IIHS gives the 2020 Kia Rio a Top Safety Pick designation.

The APEAL index score for the 2020 Kia Rio is 826.

4. Hyundai Accent 

A new engine debuts for Hyundai’s small sedan, in the form of a 120-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. Its less powerful than last year’s engine, but it’s more fuel efficient, topping out at 36 mpg in combined driving with the continuously variable transmission. A manual gearbox is also available, but it supplies just 33 mpg. The IIHS gives the 2020 Accent a Top Safety Pick rating but this Hyundai gets a 4-Star overall score from the NHTSA.

The APEAL index score for the 2020 Hyundai Accent is 807.

5. Mitsubishi Mirage

The 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage, which comes in hatchback and sedan body styles, is one of the least expensive cars for sale in America. And, it’s also one of the least powerful. Depending on trim level, you can choose between a manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission, but the only engine is a 78-horsepower 1.2-liter 3-cylinder. Fuel economy ranges from 35 mpg to 39 mpg in combined driving. Crash-test ratings for this Mitsubishi are unimpressive. 

The APEAL index score for the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is 800.