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Best 2011 Affordable Small Sedans: Part Two


In part one of this two-part series, we covered the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Fiesta, Honda Civic, and Hyundai Elantra. Here we pick up on the rest of the best 2011 affordable small sedans. 

2010 Kia Forte

2010 Kia Forte

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Kia Forte
With its 10 year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty (one of the best in the industry), and a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for the 2010 model, the Forte from Korean automaker Kia is a safe, affordable (under $14,000 base price) sedan with a lot of appeal for consumers. While prices and a release date haven’t been released yet on the 2011 sedan model, Kia Forte does include many standard features such as Bluetooth and USB ports. Plusses include excellent handling and plenty of cargo room.

2010 Mazda3

2010 Mazda3

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Mazda MAZDA3
A Car and Driver “10Best” award winner for 2010, the Mazda MAZDA3 4-door sedan for 2011 just keeps getting better--according to reviewers. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) that starts at $15,450, the MAZDA3 is a fun-to-drive five-passenger sedan offering good performance (although it’s no sports car), solid brakes, and up to 33 mpg highway fuel economy (2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, manual or automatic transmission). MAZDA3, say reviewers, is for consumers who want a little zip in their daily driver, but one with a high-quality feel and that’s easy on the budget. The small sedan ranks right up there with other dynamic-driving sedans like Honda Fit, MINI Countryman, and Ford Fiesta.

2010 Nissan Versa

2010 Nissan Versa

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Nissan Versa
Available in four models and two engines, the 2011 Nissan Versa sedan is attractively priced (with starting MSRPs ranging from $9,990 for 1.6 Base to $16,470 for 1.8 SL), offers six standard airbags, air conditioning with in-cabin microfilter, and CD audio system with auxiliary audio input jack. Base engine is the 107-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder paired with five-speed manual transmission that achieves an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway fuel economy. Electronic stability and traction control are standard on 1.8 SL and not available on other models. Anti-lock brakes are standard on 1.6 Sedan, but not 1.6 Base. Highlight features include comfortable rear seats and excellent cargo space--in addition to Versa’s bargain-basement pricing.

Subaru Impreza
Standard all-wheel drive, impressive safety features (the 2010 model was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick and the 2011 model isn’t much different), plenty of room, comfortable interior, and zippy performance--all are standout features of the 2011 Subaru Impreza. Starting MSRPs for Impreza are higher than the competition, at $17,495 (2.5i) to $19,995 (Outback Sport), but there is the attraction of the standard all-wheel drive. For many consumers, that may seal the deal. Powered by the 170-hp 2.5-liter Subaru Boxer four-cylinder engine, the best fuel economy comes from the 2.5i, and it’s only 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway--among the worst in the class.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

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Volkswagen Jetta

 

All-new for 2011, the Volkswagen Jetta is available in three models: S, SE, and SEL, with starting MSRPs ranging from $15,995 to $21,395. Best fuel economy comes from the 115-hp four-cylinder engine in S with five-speed manual transmission: an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city/34 mpg highway. In SE and SEL, with the 170-hp 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, the numbers are 23/33. What’s interesting about the new Jetta sedan is its low base starting price--a fact played up in the automaker’s TV commercials. Other draws for consumers are Jetta’s roomy back seat, six standard airbags and standard electronic stability control.

Missed part one? Check out Best 2011 Affordable Small Sedans: Part One.

[Kia, IIHS, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Volkswagen]

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