If you’re looking for an alternative to public transportation, a commuter car, truck, or SUV can meet your travel needs. Its main function is to get you to work and back again. However, it may also serve other purposes. Since you’ll be using a commuter car nearly every day, it’s important to consider the following qualities:


For most people, a car used for commuting doesn’t have to be large. However, that depends on your needs. If you haul heavy equipment to work each day, a larger vehicle such as a pickup truck may be more suitable.

Fuel Efficiency

A car you drive routinely will burn through a lot of gas. Think about whether you have a short or long commute and the miles driven. But don’t dwell on city vs. highway driving. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) fuel-economy estimates won’t be that accurate if you often sit in traffic. A car’s listed miles per gallon isn’t a promise but a guideline to help you compare vehicles.

Engine Power

While you probably don’t need a muscle car, don’t sell yourself short on horsepower. An underpowered car may be less reliable and safe when merging at high speeds or navigating hills. It won’t be helpful in wintry weather either. The stronger the engine, the safer it is and the lower its fuel consumption tends to be.


For some people, work commutes add up to several hours a day. Therefore, it’s important to find a commuter car known for comfortable seating. The seat should be well-cushioned with proper back support, the headrest should suit your needs, and the steering wheel should be adjustable. Low noise and vibration are good qualities, while the suspension should yield a comfortable ride during a long commute.

Safety Features

The latest safety technologies can avoid or mitigate injuries, or even avoid a collision, during all the hours you’ll be driving. Look for features like blind spot monitoring, forward-collision warning systems, and hands-free, voice-activated controls for the car’s entertainment system and your mobile device.

Maintenance Costs

A used car intended for commuting shouldn’t require constant care. It could add substantially to the cost of ownership, given the number of miles you drive. You also risk having the car out of commission on workdays. Consumer Reports and other guides can be used to find reliable makes and models, but also invest in your used car dealership’s service plan. It can save you money over time and guarantee prompt service when needed.

Electric/Hybrid Cars

An electric car is a good investment since we’re in California, especially if you drive less than 50 miles per day. It’s also convenient if there’s a charging station near your workplace. Hybrid vehicles are energy-efficient as well. Depending on the model, it may be electric-only or recharge the battery when the engine is running. Some hybrids alternate between electricity and gasoline power to provide a fair fuel economy.

Browse Our Inventory of High-Quality Used Cars

If you need a commuter car, apply now for instant pre-approval on a used car loan from Hawthorne Auto Square. We have a wide range of makes and models on our lot and each vehicle has been thoroughly evaluated. Service and maintenance are included in our 6-month warranty, while competitive financing options can meet any budget. To learn more, visit us in person or call 866-707-7664 today.