If you're shopping for a subcompact ride -- and based on yesterday's news, many of you are -- pay close attention to the 2012 Kia Rio EX and the 2012 Honda Fit. After a recent round of tests, those two models sit at the top of Consumer Reports' rankings for subcompact cars.
Consumer Reports divided its subcompact test subjects into hatchback and sedan variants. The sedan group contained the Chevrolet Sonic LT, the Hyundai Accent GLS, the Kia Rio EX, and the Nissan Versa SV.
When all was said and done, the Rio EX landed at the top of the heap, receiving praise for its handling, transmission, braking, fuel economy, and feature set. The Rio's cousin, the Hyundai Accent, came in a close second, but its suspension seemed a little rough around the edges.
The Chevy Sonic LT sedan also fared well, scoring high marks for handling and braking, but taking a hit for its 28 mpg fuel economy, which doesn't compare favorably to others in the class. Despite earning 32 mpg, the Nissan Versa SV landed at the bottom of Consumer Reports' list due to excessive cabin noise and its "rudimentary" interior.
Consumer Reports' hatchback group included the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ, the Hyundai Accent SE, the Kia Rio EX, and the Toyota Yaris LE.
The Rio's hatchback variant scored well, but its rear window was criticized for reducing visibility. In the end, it ranked below the 2012 Honda Fit and the Nissan Versa SL (both of which had been previously tested). The Hyundai Accent SE hatchback was also well received, thanks to its impressive fuel economy and smooth, six-speed manual transmission.
The Chevy Sonic LTZ and the Toyota Yaris LE hatchbacks, however, didn't make the cut. Reviewers liked the Sonic's acceleration but had problems maintaining speed, especially on inclines. And they had almost nothing positive to say about the Yaris, panning its sparse, bargain-basement interior, noisy ride, poor handling, and the awkward placement of the pedals and steering wheel.
For a complete review of these rides, check the April issue of Consumer Reports, and be sure to read our own write-ups on each of these models linked below: