By Cars.com EditorsJune 3, 2011
About the video
Cars.com compared five of the most popular sedans for 2011. We were joined by USAToday and used input from a real family.
<v Narrator>Cars.com auto review. (upbeat invigorating music) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for Cars.com. Gas prices are edging near $4 a gallon for regular unleaded as of early May, 2011.
So it's no wonder that car shoppers are snapping up fuel efficient small cars. We've got five of the most recently redesigned or introduced players here. The 2011 Kia Forte, 2011 Hyundai Elantra, 2011 Chevy Cruze, and 2012 Ford Focus, and Honda Civic. All five of these cars get better than 35 miles per gallon in EPA highway ratings. And as tested, they all cost under $20,000. For that, you'd be surprised at how much room and features you can get. All of our test cars have automatic transmissions and the usual power accessories. By and large, you don't really find crank or windows and manual door locks in this segment anymore. Our Civic and Focus test cars have colored dashboard displays that show everything from vehicle settings to media information. All five cars connect to iPods. The Civic displays album art while Ford SYNC system allows you to call out a song or artist through voice recognition. The system picks it up most of the time. All five cars also have steering wheel audio controls and all of that the Civic have Bluetooth wireless technology. In some cases, that's able to stream Pandora and other apps from your smartphone. If you thought a commuter car meant having a backseat that no one wanted to sit in, that's not always the case. The Forte, the Elantra, and the Cruze are all actually technically categorized as midsize vehicles by the EPA. I'm in the backseat of the Elantra here and it shows. This is where I'd sit to drive, and there's plenty of room back here for adults like me. All three cars also have about 15 cubic feet of trunk volume that's as big as many midsize family sedans. We asked a family to help us with the testing, tell us what they looked for in a small car, and what they thought of the features in these. Here's what they had to say. When I was looking for a new car previously, I wasn't looking for anything. I wasn't paying attention to any detail. I didn't care. I said car was a car as a car. I changed my mind today. The exterior and the lines are definitely important to me and the display of the dash. Two with the five, I found the quality was surprising to me that they exceeded my expectations. I think the Hyundai people would be shocked, they'd think it's cool car. So if you're in the market for a commuter sedan, it's no longer something to be really unexcited about. With all the roominess, technology, and efficiency that this class has to offer, it's becoming obvious that the econobox sedan is neither boxy nor economy class anymore. <v Narrator>For more car-related news, go to cars.com or our blog kickingtires.net.