A decade ago, the benchmark in this segment was the Toyota Corolla, but today’s Corolla is outclassed.
The Chevrolet Cruze—from Ford’s crosstown rivals at Chevy—is to some the top rival to the Focus.
Compared to the Focus, the Cruze feels a little roomier yet with a rather soft ride and bland styling inside and out, it’s not nearly as exciting.
For those who want a sporty driving feel, the Mazda3 is still one of the best bets; trouble is, the 3 just has too much harshness and road noise inside.
The Hyundai Elantra is the new leader in this segment, with a stylish interior and exterior, good ride comfort, and an excellent 40-mpg highway rating for all versions.
The Volkswagen Jetta became a step blander last year—with a lackluster base four-cylinder engine and unimpressive fuel economy—but otherwise it’s a decent value.
Honda’s Civic has also been refreshed this year, with an upgraded interior and a somewhat new look.
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|2012 Ford FocusBrowse Used Listings||2012 Chevrolet CruzeBrowse Used Listings||2012 Honda CivicBrowse Used Listings||2012 Hyundai ElantraBrowse Used Listings||2012 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings||2012 Volkswagen Jetta SedanBrowse Used Listings|
|26 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||25 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy||28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||23 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4|
|Compact||Midsize Car||Compact Cars||Midsize cars||Compact||Compact Cars|
|4-Door Sedan S||4-Door Sedan LS||4-Door Manual DX||4-Door Sedan Manual GLS (Ulsan Plant)||4-Door Sedan Manual i SV||4-Door Manual Base|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Sedan||Sedan||Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan|