2014 Honda Fit
Model-year 2014 marks the end of this Fit design generation and the all-new 2015 Fit will have a tough act to follow. The 2014 Fit remains car to beat in this segment for its blend of fun-to-drive character, value, and passenger and cargo accommodations. The last is courtesy of a rear seat that folds to create a van-like load floor and an SUV-rivaling 57 cubic foot cargo hold. Engine noise and a stiff ride wear on long highway trips, most rivals have transmissions with more gears, and gas mileage lags. Fuel-economy ratings span 29-30 mpg combined. Base-price range is $16,215-$20,580. See the CarPreview.com 2014 Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide for a review of the 2014 Fit EV pure-electric model.
2014 Hyundai Accent
These four-door sedans and hatchbacks shine for roomy cabins with upscale decor. And exterior styling is modern and attractive. The engine and the manual and automatic transmissions are small-car state-of-the-art, but steering feel and suspension sophistication trail class leaders like the Fiesta and Mazda 2. Feature availability more than covers the basics despite absence of such amenities as a navigation system and leather upholstery. Adding to the value equation is this South Korean brand’s generous warranty coverage. Fuel economy is rated 31 mpg combined for all configurations. Base-price range is $15,445-$18,205.
2014 Kia Rio
Kia is Hyundai’s sibling brand and Rio is its version of the Accent. Rio’s styling is different, following Kia’s push for more youthful looks. But dimensions, powertrain, warranty coverage, and availability of four-door sedan and hatchback body types are shared. Kia retunes the steering and suspension, but the former is still too imprecise and the latter even less forgiving over bumps. Entry-level Rios cost less than Accent counterparts but Rio has a broader model range, including top-line SX sedans and hatchbacks with optional navigation and leather. Fuel economy is rated 31 mpg combined for all configurations. Base-price range is $14,600-$18,790.