The challenge seemed simple enough for the people at Cars.com
. They were looking for vehicles that provided the average car-buyer with important features like practicality and fuel efficiency without sacrificing comfort and value. Once the parameters were in place, the stage was set for the $16,000 Subcompact Shootout
"As gas prices and used-car prices continue to rise, a shootout like this acts as a guide for consumers looking to purchase a new subcompact as an alternative to a used vehicle,” says Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief of Cars.com, adding that the term “econobox” is no longer a buzz word in automotive circles. “Today's subcompacts are better built, more efficient and safer.”
The $16,000 Subcompact Shootout looked at seven 2012 cars: the Chevrolet Sonic
, the Ford Fiesta
, the Honda Fit
, the Hyundai Accent
, the Kia Rio
, the Nissan Versa
and the Toyota Yaris
. The participants would all have to have four doors and seat four people, have an automatic transmission and get at least 35 miles per gallon, according to EPA ratings for highway driving, and have a US manufacturers suggested retail price under $16,000.
When the results
were tabulated, one car drove to the front of the pack. “In addition to confident handling, a solid transmission, great visibility and unmatched practicality, the Honda Fit is just fun to drive and emerged as our clear winner," Olsen says.
Members of Cars.com, USA Today and MotorWeek were joined by a guest couple, representing the average consumer, put the seven cars through a variety of tests that included driving each vehicle to gauge each vehicle’s styling and overall features, gas mileage, ride quality and comfort. The Honda impressed testers features like the flat load floor to “the second-row seats that actually fold up” to allow for cargo loading and the car’s overall demeanor.
"The Fit is a triumph of cargo volume, versatility and execution, and its powertrain is a winner,” says Cars.com’s Joe Wiesenfelder. “From the first moment, the Fit begged to be driven hard."