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Best bass systems for your small car or hatchback

Get perfect bass with a small footprint to fit any budget

In this article: We present six highly recommended subwoofer systems for small vehicles, arranged according to loudness and price:

  1. MTX Magnum bass package — loud bass for under $200
  2. Rockford Fosgate amp and sub — loud bass for around $500
  3. Morel sub and Rockford Fosgate amp — loud bass for a high budget
  4. Sound Ordnance powered subwoofer — bass fill for under $200
  5. JL Audio powered subwoofer — bass fill for around $500
  6. Focal subwoofer and Morel amp — bass fill for a high budget

W

e field lots of calls from customers who want to improve the bass in their small car audio systems. Crutchfield Advisors, many of whom have ears-on experience with the products, always recommend subwoofer systems that fit customers' desires for loud or soft bass at prices they can afford.

"What subwoofer will work best in my hatchback?"

Having a small car doesn't mean that you can't have solid bass in your music. When customers come to us looking for a new subwoofer or bass system, our advisors often start the the conversation with questions like this:

We have solutions for either answer.

Below are our recommendations for putting a subwoofer in a small car or hatchback-style vehicle, for different tastes and budgets. First we'll list our suggestions for people who want loud, car-shaking bass.

Then we'll share our favorite products for people who just want to fill in that missing low-frequency sound. The goal is to complete the musical experience without rattling the windows.

Loud bass for under $200

Want big bass but you're a little short on cash? This subwoofer package offers a great way to add bottom-end punch to your vehicle without putting a strain on your wallet. It includes two 10-inch subs in a ported enclosure along with a matching power amplifier.

image of MTX Magnum

MTX Magnum Audio 250-watt bass package

Loud bass for around $500

If you have a little money and want the biggest bang for your bucks, this sub-amp combo will probably fit the bill. The 12" sub, ported enclosure, and 500-watt amplifier have been matched together for maximum performance.

Rockford Fosgate P3-1X12 ported box and 12" sub and Rockford Fosgate Prime R2-500X1 amplifier

Rockford Fosgate Prime R2-500X1 amplifier

Rockford Fosgate P3-1X12 ported box and 12" subwoofer

Loud bass for a high budget

When money's no object and you crave loud bass, go with the best. And what's better than pairing an award-winning subwoofer — cited for power-handling and sound quality — with 1,000 watts of crystal-clear amplification? The amp also features onboard distortion detection, which alerts you when the volume's gotten out of hand.

Morel Ultimio Titanium sub and Rockford Fosgate Punch amp

Morel Ultimo Titanium 104 10" subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate Punch P1000X2 amplifier — 1,000 watts RMS


Adding bass to make your music sound better

Some people don't want shake their car apart and impress (annoy) other drivers. Some people just want to turn their car into a great place for listening to music. Here are our top picks for filling your vehicle with good-sounding bass.

Bass fill for under $200

The simplest way to add bass fill to your system is with a compact powered subwoofer. Whether mounted under a car seat or in an out-of-the-way location in the cab of your truck, this little workhorse will surprise you with its impressive bass and its ability to mesh perfectly with the rest of your system.

Sound Ordinance sub

Sound Ordnance B-8PTD powered subwoofer

Bass fill for around $500

You don't need to rattle windows and set off car alarms, but you do want a subwoofer large enough to fill your truck, sedan, or SUV with bass you can feel. Here's a modestly-priced system that'll fit in a lot of different places in almost any kind of vehicle.

JL Audio powerd subwoofer

JL Audio MicroSub+™ 250-watt 8" powered subwoofer

Bass fill for a high budget

You want the bass in your car to sound like it does in your home theater, with lots of low-frequency impact that blends in well with your high-fidelity music. This package puts together top-of-the-line components that'll produce some of the cleanest and most accurate bass tones you'll ever hear.

Focal K2 Power E sub and Morel MPS amp

Focal K2 Power E 25 KX 10" subwoofer

Morel MPS 1.550 subwoofer amplifier — 550 watts RMS

Sub under a seat

Wiring and some boxes not included

Don't forget that you'll always need to add a wiring kit, speaker wire, and often a subwoofer box to house the sub. This will add to the cost of the gear listed above, so plan accordingly. You can find appropriate recommendations listed in each subwoofer's and amplifier's accessories, or just talk to our advisors and they'll fix you up.

Get yours bass system today

If adding a subwoofer to your system sounds like something you want to do, head on over to Car Subwoofers and then Subwoofer Amplifiers to shop for your new gear. Or better yet, call us, so a knowledgeable Advisor will make sure you get the right bass for your music and vehicle.

Last updated 3/16/2022
  • Pete from Seattle

    Posted on 4/29/2022

    Hatchbacks are by far the best vehicles for adding subwoofers, because the big back windows that are angled perfectly from the trunk height up to the roofline, and when subwoofers are installed in the back, the shape of the back half of the car acts as a big horn amplifying the bass as it reflects off the angled back window, typically causing even small entry level priced and powered subwoofer setups to sound much louder and more impressive than they would if they were installed in most any other type of vehicle. In high school back in the early 90's I had a hatchback 85 Mustang GT that I installed 2 kicker 15's in, and it was crazy how much louder it was in my car than the same box and amp was in 2 other vehicles I used it in.

  • Kishori dunn from oak park heights

    Posted on 12/15/2021

    Love the website. Very informative. Thanks

  • Veronika Salas from San Antonio

    Posted on 10/1/2021

    Hi Buck My friends has this set up Focal ES165KX2 6+1 component Focal PC165 coax I went on website and this set will not work with my 2012 JK Wrangler with sub (Infinity) Can you help? Want as close to this system as possible. Will be upgrade HU with a Boss, Kenwood, JVC...looking for a unit with CD , preamp, sub I ride without shell 7 months out of the year.keep Jeep covered at night Thanks

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 10/2/2021

    Veronika, With questions like these it's best to talk with someone to help sort out your options. Give us a call, so an Advisor can help you pick out the perfect gear for your system.
  • Jared Palen from Missoula MT

    Posted on 8/15/2019

    First off, thanks for all the great tools you offer to help. My guestion...do any of the low profile powered subs have RCA OUTPUTS? Have a friend that wants to add 2 in an F350. Thanks in advance.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/16/2019

    Jared, I don't think any of the compact powered subwoofers Crutchfield offers feature RCA outputs. Your friend will have to use Y-cord connectors to get two inputs for two subs.
  • MrAli

    Posted on 7/31/2018

    I always crutchfeld articles. please make available RSS feed feature for this section for more reader convenience and quick awareness of new articles. thank you.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/31/2018

    MrAli, Crutchfield doesn't have an RSS feed, but you can receive newsletters and notifications about new articles after creating an account with us. Start by clicking the "Your Account" icon at the top of the web page.

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