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2019 Compact Car of the Year: Civic, Golf or Corolla Hatchback?

Auto123.com will be crowning winners of the 2019 Auto123.com Awards for best vehicles of the year on November 21 in Toronto. We’ve already unveiled the three finalists in each of the 19 categories; today we look in more detail at the Compact Car of the Year finalists.

Honda Civic
Reviewspecificationsphoto gallery - details and pricing for the 2019 Civic

The current generation of the Civic dating to 2016 is by general agreement the best ever produced. Some elements of its styling are a bit controversial, but the driving experience it offers is on a different level than seen before in this segment. The interior is quite exceptionally comfortable, its road handling is superb, and as a bonus it sips fuel as if it were a hybrid car.

Inside, the layout still needs some refining in terms of ergonomics and functionality, and the quality of construction has shown some weaknesses over the past few months. Still, the product is overall really solid and its sales performance in Canada continues to show that consumers love this car. A lot.

The Top 10 Honda Civic generations over the decades

Honda Civic
Photo: Honda
Honda Civic

Volkswagen Golf
Reviewphoto gallery

Like the Civic, Volkswagen’s Golf is a model that’s arrived at maturity, to the point where it’s difficult to find much fault in it. What’s truly amazing with this model is that there’s not a dud to be found in all the versions it comes in, from the base model with its attractive price point to the R performance version, winter-ready thanks to its four-wheel drive system.

Inside, Volkswagen delish recipe is followed to the letter, with simplicity and quality of construction the main ingredients. And of course, how not to mention that superb driving experience the Golf is so renowned for delivering, and justly so?

Volkswagen Golf
Photo: D.Boshouwers
Volkswagen Golf

Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Review – specifications – photo gallery

Solid but stolid no more
Toyota seems to have had enough of hearing how solid but stolid its cars are. With the Corolla Hatchback, the manufacturer delivers a small car with a really sporty streak, built on the company’s new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform.

The interior environment is a positive one, although the cargo space doesn’t match up to what you get with the Civic’s hatchback version, the model’s main rival.

At the wheel, you enjoy impressive driving dynamics, especially if you choose one of the manual-transmission versions Toyota is proud to still make available. Take note, in fact, that all of our finalists in this category this year can be had with manual gearboxes.

The 12 Corolla Hatchback models we’ve seen over the decades

 

Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Photo: D.Rufiange
Toyota Corolla Hatchback