The 2013 Volkswagen Golf has a look and feel that won't be all that surprising to anyone who's ever owned (or even test-driven) a Golf before.
And provided you skip past the base five-cylinder engine, it's an enjoyable, sophisticated small car with impressive fuel-efficiency.
The problem comes when you start to figure in price, as in either TDI or GTI guise the Golf starts near the $25k mark, or reaches $30k well-equipped.
The Ford Focus is TCC's Best Car To Buy for 2012, and the combination of crisp handling treads on VW territory, and its MyFord Touch controls set the pace for the class, though they're complex to use, but Ford's pricing stands as a much better deal.
The Mazda3 now gets 40-mpg highway gas mileage ratings, and it's kept its pert, friendly handling even through its weight-cutting crash diet.
The Kia Forte and Soul share underpinnings, and whether it's the five-door hatchback or tall wagon, either have as much interior space as the Golf, with marked improvement in quality from last-gen Kias.
The Subaru Impreza includes all-wheel drive and has a lower price, although its interior just isn't up to the same standards as those of the Golf.
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|2013 Volkswagen GolfBrowse Used Listings||2013 Ford FocusBrowse Used Listings||2013 Kia SoulBrowse Used Listings||2013 Kia ForteBrowse Used Listings||2013 Mazda MAZDA3Browse Used Listings||2013 Subaru ImprezaBrowse Used Listings|
|23 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy||23 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||23 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy||25 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I5||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas Flat 4|
|Compact||Compact||Small Station Wagon||Compact Cars||Compact||Compact Cars|
|2-Door HB Manual PZEV||4-Door Sedan S||5-Door Wagon Manual Base||4-Door Sedan Manual LX||4-Door Sedan Manual i SV||4-Door Manual 2.0i|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive|
|2 Door HB||Sedan||5 Door Wagon||4 Door Sedan||Sedan||Sedan|