Sure, the cheapest small compact cars to insure are usually entry-level models, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy both low coverage rates and a fair amount of new-car content. The vehicles below are proof of that. They’re the mainstream compacts that have the least expensive average insurance rates according to the team at Insure.com. Actual rates, of course will vary based on customer location and a lot of other factors as well, yet this will help customers get a handle on how the different entries compare to one another for annual insurance costs. Also likely to make a difference: the added input provided by Autobytel experts about some of the other factors that can affect rates. (Note: Rates quoted below are subject to change by Insure.com at any time.)
10 Cheapest Small Compact Cars to Insure
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 Chevrolet Cruze
No. 1 among the cheapest small compact cars to insure is the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze LS, which is indeed one of the most affordable of the Cruze trim lines. However there’s an unexpected twist when you get down to specifics here: It’s less expensive to insure the Cruze when it’s configured with its optional automatic transmission than it is when it’s set up with a standard manual: The insurance cost for the former is $1,323 and for the latter, it’s $1,351. The automatically transmissioned Cruze is more efficient, too, at 35 mpg combined. In terms of MSRP, the Cruze LS thus equipped starts from $19,120, and that includes a standard mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, 4G LTE connectivity, a rearview camera and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Photo Credit: FCA Media
2016 Dodge Dart
Frankly, the 2016 Dodge Dart is the kind of vehicle most people think of when they think of the cheapest small compact cars to insure. That’s because the Dart SE—with an average annual insurance rate of $1,342 from Insure.com—is a particularly low-cost, low-content model. Its MSRP is $16,995, and while that price is some $2,000 than for the Chevy Cruze LS, the Dart SE doesn’t come with standard air conditioning, power locks, power mirrors or an automatic transmission. Which probably explains why Dodge has stopped producing that trim level. Examples are still at dealerships, but for the rest of 2016, the brand is “simplifying” the lineup and only building SXT Sport, Dart Turbo and Dart GT Sport trims.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 Buick Verano
At the more premium end of the spectrum for the cheapest small compact cars to insure is the 2016 Buick Verano. The entry Verano can be covered for $1,348, although a savvier choice may be to add the Convenience Group. This package does bump the average Insure.com insurance rate to $1,360, but it also furnishes lux upgrades to the Verano such as heated front seating and a Buick IntelliLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen, voice recognition and GM’s mobile Wi-Fi/4G LTE package. And if you’re wondering how the Verano can supply all this and keep its insurance costs so low, it helps that the car has award-winning reliability: The Verano was No. 1 in the compact segment in the 2016 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study.
Photo Credit: Honda
2016 Honda Civic
A reputation for reliability also comes into play with the 2016 Honda Civic. Rated among the “Most Reliable Cars” of the year by U.S. News and World Report, the brand-new Civic has filled its trophy case with automotive honors for 2016, additionally winning the North American Car of the Year title. That said, the Civic Sedan LX remains one of the least expensive small compact cars to insure, backed by an average rate of $1,384. Now, that price is for Civics with a standard manual transmission, but opting for an automatic only increases the car’s insurance cost by $3. Further, regardless of gearbox, the LX grade belies its entry-level status with standard cues like LED daytime running lamps, a multi-angle rearview camera, and a 160-watt audio system with color LCD screen.
Photo Credit: Ford
2016 Ford Focus
The Blue Oval’s cheapest small compacts to insure are part of the Focus family, and the least expensive of all—per Insure.com—is the 2016 Ford Focus. Just keep in mind that it’s not the entry-level Focus with that distinction, it’s the SE edition, and it’s not the standard SE edition, either. The Focus with the lineup’s low-point of $1,388 for insurance costs is the SE trim with Ford’s available 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Engineers squeezed 123 horsepower and 125 lb.-ft. of torque out of that three-cylinder unit, which returns EPA grades of 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway/35 mpg combined with a manual transmission; with the available six-speed automatic, this Focus features an EPA line of 28/40/32.
2016 Volkswagen Golf
The least expensive small compact cars to insure also include a turbocharged, European entry: the 2016 Volkswagen Golf S. With its 170-horsepower engine mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission, the S model is the fun-to-drive starting point for the Golf roster and is priced from $19,895. It’s annual insurance cost then comes in at $1,393 based on Insure.com data. Yet despite that all-around affordability, the car also serves up premium standard content ranging from heated exterior mirrors to a rearview camera to a new touchscreen infotainment system with VW Car-Net App-Connect technology. Car-Net App-Connect is a key advantage for VW customers, as it combines a variety of telematics and app-based functions along with support for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink smartphone integration.
Photo Credit: Hyundai
2017 Hyundai Elantra
Due to a quirk in timing, Insure.com has yet to release its average rate information for 2017 model-year vehicles—even though some 2017 model-year vehicles already have been released by their automakers. Further, some of the newer entries, like the 2017 Hyundai Elantra, are likely to be less-expensive small compact cars to insure than certain 2016 choices. The 2016 Elantra, after all, had an average Insure.com coverage cost as low as $1,408. Besides, if insurance rates do rise for the new Elantra, owners will be able to console themselves with all the new goodies offered by the all-new 2017 edition, including two new powertrains, cutting-edge smartphone integration and sophisticated driver-assistance measures.
Photo Credit: Mazda
2016 Mazda Mazda3
The Zoom-zoom brand reconfigured the roster for its compact-car duo for 2016, making the 2016 Mazda Mazda3 i Sport the new entry grade for both the sedan and hatchback bodystyles. Yes, that did raise pricing slightly, but it also brought more standard equipment, such as a rearview camera, push-button start and a Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen. Moreover, that i Sport trim is a low-cost insurance choice for Insure.com, backed by an average 2016 rate of $1,414 for sedan versions. Prefer the extra versatility of the Mazda3 hatch? You will have to pay an extra $700, since the MSRP of the Mazda3 five-door rises that amount, to $18,545. Yet the difference in average annual insurance costs is a mere $5.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2016 Toyota Corolla
As mentioned, durability is an important trait of the cheapest small compact cars to insure, and the 2016 Toyota Corolla is a perfect example. The Corolla was the second-ranked compact in the 2016 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, and part of the “Most Reliable Cars of 2016” honor roll from U.S. News & World Report, and the average Insure.com insurance rate for Corolla L is $1,419. Again, this is base-level trim, but Toyota also keeps up with its rivals by equipping its entry-grade Corolla with LED low-beam headlights and daytime running lights, Entune touchscreen audio, and a number of other upscale touches. Beneath the hood: a 132-horsepower four-cylinder engine that’s efficient enough to return EPA grades of 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway/31 mpg combined.
2016 Subaru Impreza
Our final selection for the cheapest small compact cars to insure is the 2016 Subaru Impreza—which was Consumer Reports’ selection as the most reliable compact in the country for the current year. The two are no doubt connected and add up to an average Insure.com price of $1,421 for auto coverage for the Impreza. Shoppers also should remember that the Impreza’s high-value package includes standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, making it the most affordable AWD car in the United States. Oh, it’s the most fuel-efficient one, too, with an EPA line that can reach 28/37/31.