2014 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Superminis

Superminis (referred to also as B-Segment cars) were once cramped, stark, slow and noisy. Those days are gone. Levels of comfort, cabin space, performance and refinement have increased to such an extent that for many people, there is no need to move beyond this segment unless you seek more space than they provide. Desirable features such as air-conditioning, power windows, locks and mirrors are either standard or optional on all of the cars in this category, with some cars offering luxury features like leather seating, navigation systems, Keyless Go and rear-view cameras. 

Popular in the 90s, this segment went dormant when the U.S. Market, which sets the trend for what vehicles are sold in Canada, soured on hatchbacks and small cars in general. The Toyota Echo (followed by the Yaris) and the Hyundai Accent were the sole cars in the segment for many years. The introduction of the Chevrolet Aveo in 2004 marked a rebirth of the segment, which now includes the Sonic and Spark from Chevrolet, the Ford Fiesta, Fiat 500, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Veloster, Kia Rio, Mazda 2, MINI Cooper, Nissan Versa and Note, Scion iQ, Smart ForTwo and the Toyota Yaris.

The Fiat 500 did very well in its first year as early adopters scooped up every car available. Once the initial demand for the 500 was satiated, interest flagged and sales tumbled nearly 40 percent. Sales held steady for many cars in this class but Honda Fit sales increased nearly 50 percent in 2013, after a similar jump in 2012, despite poor incentives making monthly payments uncompetitive. Toyota Yaris sales ballooned nearly 50 percent following its 2012 introduction but sagged about 30 percent in 2013. Sourcing the Yaris in France for 2014 has improved sales incentives for 2014 and resulted in much lower monthly payments, which could increase sales this year. With a sales increase of 20 percent in 2013, the Kia Rio did very well but is still trailing the Hyundai Accent. The Chevrolet Sonic logged 30 percent more sales than its predecessor, the Aveo, did in 2011. Sales of the Hyundai Accent held steady despite a new design and sales of the Ford Fiesta were virtually unchanged from 2011. Extremely slow sales of the Insight and CR-Z from Honda led to their disappearance, but the CR-Z returned as a 2013 model just as the 2014 model year began. The 2013 versions of the Mitsubishi iMiEV and Nissan Cube debuted very late in the model year and the 2014 versions of the cars are nowhere to be seen. Scion's innovative iQ sunk in a sea of consumer indifference, selling at only one third the rate of the flawed and quirky Smart ForTwo.  

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note went on sale in the summer of 2014, as did the mid-cycle refresh of the Ford Fiesta. MINI returns with the Cooper Convertible, Clubman, Coupe and Roadster for 2014 but the Cooper hatchback has been discontinued, pending the release of the third-generation model in the spring of 2014. The Smart ForTwo will return for 2014 but no details are available. Sales of the second-generation Honda Fit will continue as is for now but a new, third-generation car should be on sale by the summer of 2014. 

Vital safety features like side-curtain airbags, ABS and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), once reserved for luxury cars, are standard on most of the cars in this segment.

The better cars in this class are economical to operate, very reliable, and have excellent resale value. However, unless you are a cash buyer, please pay attention to monthly payments, which are often as high as they are for more expensive cars in the next size class up. 

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2014 differ from those published by the Canada EnerGuide. Starting in  2012, the APA began using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), numbers for fuel economy as they better reflect real-world fuel economy. For more information, read APA President George Iny's article regarding the inadequacies of the Canada EnerGuide test cycle

Chevrolet Sonic  Honda CRZ  Kia Soul   Nissan Versa Note 
Chevrolet Spark  Honda Fit  Mazda 2   Nissan Versa Sedan 
Chevrolet Trax Hyundai Accent  Mitsubishi i-MiEV  Scion iQ 
Buick Encore  Hyundai Veloster  Mitsubishi Mirage   smart fortwo 
Fiat 500  Kia Rio, Rio 5  Nissan Micra  Toyota Yaris  
Ford Fiesta       

Chevrolet Sonic

Specifications


 

What’s new
Revised exterior colour choices. MyLink Sound package on LT and LTZ models includes a back-up camera. An Advanced Safety Package with Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, is optional on all but the base LS model. Heated seats and a six-speaker audio system are standard on LT models.

Performance
The refined base 1.8L four pulls strongly. The six-speed automatic transmission seeks the highest gear possible as quickly as possible but reacts willingly to downshift requests. The 1.4L turbo is strong, smooth and sonorous. The turbo is best-suited to the automatic transmission as the manual is undermined by an abrupt clutch. Precise, nicely-weighted and communicative steering. The Sonic rides with a firm resilience and handles crisply without a trace of wallow. In town, the low-profile tire-equipped Sonic LTZ allows bumps to intrude into the cabin. Large turning circle. Highly-styled and well-finished cabin. The motorcycle-type instrumentation is attractive but also gimmicky and distracting. Comfortable seats offer good support. Spacious front seating. Rear passengers enjoy a comfortable seat and abundant legroom. Excellent headroom. Spacious trunk on the sedan. Vertical storage space on the hatchback is lessened by high trunk floor concealing a large under-floor storage bin.

Comments
With nearly 10,000 units sold this year, the Sonic is selling very well in Canada. Sedan and four-door hatchback versions of the Sonic are available. Engine choices include a normally-aspirated 1.8L four and a 1.4L turbo. Both produce virtually the same horsepower but the turbo generates greater torque at a lower RPM. Power reaches the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission or manuals with five speeds (1.8L) or six speeds (turbo). The Sonic placed third in a four-car test that included the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris.

Pricing
Hatchback commands a $1000 premium on the LS and LT trims but costs only $500 on the LTZ model. LT trim upgrade priced to reflect additional content, LTZ and RS significantly overpriced. Good lease value for 2014.  

Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient data. Possible trouble points could include the turbo engine and the suspension.   


Body Style: 4HB, 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.4L-4 T (138 HP)*, 1.8L-4 (138 HP)

Transmissions: 5M, 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy: 9.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: Knee airbags for front occupants standard on LTZ and RS models and optional on LS and LT models. 
Warranty: 3/60,000, 6/110,000
Country of Origin:  United States

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Restraints: G

Sml. Front: M

NHTSA Rating: 



Chevrolet Spark

Specifications


 

What’s new
Four-speed automatic transmission replaced by a CVT. Trim package changes. 2LT trim level is now equipped with body-colour mirrors with integrated turn signals. Rear-view camera standard on all LT models. New colours.
Comments
GM lists the Smart ForTwo, Scion iQ and Fiat 500 as key competitors. At just slightly bigger overall than a Fiat 500, the Chevrolet Spark is the smallest car GM has offered in North America since the Chevette. The Spark's exterior is very vertical, dominated by an over-scaled grille and front lamps, as well as some strong accent lines over the fenders. With a motorcycle-like gauge package, some interesting shapes and a few exterior body-colour accents, the cabin is quite attractive. With 135 fewer mm (5.3 inches) between the front and rear wheels than a Toyota Yaris hatchback, rear seat legroom is in short supply, but access is pretty good. Power for Sparks destined for North America comes from a 1.2L four producing 84 horsepower. Power reaches the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission with just four gears, compared with the five or six gears common on the smallest new cars. Driven briefly, the Spark is slow, noisy and cramped. The electric version of the Spark is not offered in Canada.

Pricing
LS trim level buyers who want automatic transmission will have to pay almost $3000 extra, with little else but the transmission (priced at about $1450 on LT variants) for the extra outlay. Upgrading to the 1LT trim level is very good value but the 2LT is overpriced. A Spark 1LT is priced roughly the same as the roomier, more powerful Toyota Yaris LE Convenience which generates lower monthly finance payment than the Spark. Leasing is not offered on the Spark.
Reliability
New model, N/R. Previous GM cars from South Korea have a poor reputation. GM's previous attempts at CVT transmissions have not been successful.   


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.2L-4 (84 HP)

Transmissions: 5M, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy: 7.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional Airbags:  Standard front occupant knee airbags 
Warranty: 3/60,000, 6/110,000
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore

Specifications


 

What’s new
Trax: six airbags standard on LS and LT models. Ten airbags standard on the LTZ and optional on other trim levels. Sound and Technology package on LT trims includes a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and a name-brand audio system with satellite radio. Cargo cover standard on all Trax variants for 2014. Encore: blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings standard on Encores equipped with the Leather and Premium packages.

Comments
Marketed as micro-CUVs, the Sonic-based Trax and Encore are simply tall superminis with available all-wheel drive. Though they share the same mechanicals, exterior styling and cabin designs are unique to each model. The Trax is quite attractive and manages to neatly disguise its great height in relation to its length. The Encore's exterior design, which displays all of Buick's styling cues within a tall short form, is awkward at best. Driven briefly by the APA, the Trax garnered considerable positive attention from denizens of a chic resort town north of Montreal and proved to be an amiable companion. The Trax shares much of the Sonic's dashboard, including its instrumentation and climate control pieces. The cabin is clad with a lot of hard plastic components, which, while a bit on the shiny side, are carefully assembled and attractive enough in design. While narrow, the cabin can easily accommodate four adults and a reasonable amount of luggage as well. The Encore's cabin reflects Buick's current design themes first explored on the Buick Enclave which was Buick's first attempt to re-enter that luxury vehicle field. The dash houses big, clear gauges and a visually impressive, but excessively button-festooned centre stack. Pleasing shapes, attractive materials and a few fetching two-tone colour combinations are cabin highlights. Like the Trax, the Encore can contain a quartet of adults easily enough. The hard work of Buick's "quiet tuning" boffins have resulted in a very quiet car. Dealers report that despite their shared components and cabin volumes, buyers aren't cross shopping the two nameplates. Trax buyers are cross-shopping the Equinox-Terrain while Encore buyers are seeking it exclusively. Roughly 10 percent of Trax buyers opt for all-wheel drive but nearly half of Encore intenders go for it. With projected sales of 3000 and 8000 for the Encore and Trax respectively, GM has been richly rewarded for identifying a micro-tranche in the new vehicle market no other manufacturer has heretofore identified.       
Pricing
Trax: buyers upgrading from the LS to the 1LT trim level balances features and cost almost exactly. The 2LT package is very good value but the supplement asked for the LTZ is roughly twice what the value of its additional contents are worth. A base Trax LS is priced $1700 higher than a similarly equipped Kia Soul 1.6L. With similar equipment, the Encore Premium is priced nearly $4000 higher than a Trax LTZ. Good leasing terms. A fully-equipped all-wheel drive Encore Premium is priced just a bit higher than the bigger, roomier, faster Honda CR-V Touring.  

Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient data. Possible trouble points could include the turbo engine and the suspension.   


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.4L-4 T (138 HP)

Transmissions: 6M (Trax), 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy: 9.4L/100 km (Encore)

ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: Front occupant knee airbags and ourboard rear side airbags standard on the Trax LTZ and all Encore variants and optional on lesser Trax models
Warranty: 3/60,000, 6/110,000 (Trax), 4/80,000. 6/110,000 (Encore)
Country of Origin:  Mexico (Trax), South Korea (Encore)

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Restraints: G

Sml. Front: P

NHTSA Rating: 



Fiat 500

Specification


 

 

What’s new
Passenger seat lowered by one inch and gains an armrest and "auto reset" function.. New exterior colours and some cabin trim updates. New "Nero" road wheel option. "Beats" by Dr. Dre audio system is now available.

Performance
The normally-aspirated 1.4L engine sounds gruff and strained much of the time. The six-speed automatic transmission permits mechanically relaxed cruising and works well enough in the countryside but poorly chosen lower gears, bad programming or a combination of both result in a car that always seems to be in the wrong gear in the city. Downshifts are eager enough. The steering, which is light and quick for tight turns and parking in town, firms up at higher speeds, but lacks feedback. The ride is stiff ride regardless of speed but has a certain resilience and can't really be called harsh.. The 500's diminutive size confirms a certain agility but handling demonstrates considerable lean in curves and lacks any sense of fun. The 500 is pushed around by crosswinds. Firm, progressive brakes with a high ABS engagement threshold. The Abarth's fizzy 160 horsepower turbo engine accelerates briskly. The new 135 horsepower "Turbo" model is a balanced performer. Pronounced wind noise. The single instrument pod cleverly contains a round electronic read-out at its centre, ringed by a tachometer, which in turn is surrounded by the speedometer. It looks good and works well, but the speedometer and tachometer graphics are too cartoonish, disappointing in a car where so much effort was expended on design. Much better dashboard ergonomics than on the MINI. The very attractive cabin features a large exterior-body colour insert on the dashboard. The radio controls are diabolical and opting for the cruise control (which includes radio controls on the steering wheel) or the Sport trim to get the audio controls on the steering wheel, is virtually a necessity. Very good audio system with deep lows and crisp highs. The satellite radio signal cut out frequently. The procedure to hook up the Bluetooth phone system is bit of a mytery. Efficient heating and defrosting. The air conditioning was not as cold as desired on a 29 centigrade day. The front seats are deeply padded but some found them a bit firm, with the backrest being too firm and flat for some drivers. Low windshield header. The high roof permits easy cabin access, and while rear legroom is tight, headroom is adequate and ingress/egress is better than on a number of other small cars. The rear seat head restaints are poorly placed and very uncomfortable. The massive sunroof of the cabrio model seals tightlly and causes little wind noise. The top itself opens and closes easily and includes an interlock that precludes the top opening fully above a certain speed. Little wind buffeting with the top fully open up to around 100 km/h. When fully retracted, the roof blocks the view of the rear view mirror, but the substantial door mirrors are helpful. On the hatchback, the trunk is tall, regularly shaped and reasonably roomy for such a small car. The trunk on the carbio has a small opening but the space inside is quite decent and is not compromised by the folding top. 

Comments
The 500's look was inspired by the Nuova 500 of 1957. Fiat's new car was styled by Frank Stephenson, the same designer who penned the first BMW MINI. The 500 is beautifully detailed and extremely chic. Labelled a cabriolet, the open-top 500, which has a cloth roof that unfurls electrically between fixed roof pillars, has traditionally been referred to as a "transformable".  A normally-aspirated 1.4L four, as well as two different versions of a 1.4L turbo, are available. Two transmissions, a five-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, are offered.

Pricing
Adding cruise control and air conditioning to the Pop trim level elevate the price too close to that of the well-equipped Sport model for the Pop to be a sensible choice. Good value Lounge upgrade. The sophisticated top on the Cabrio is a wonder but charging essentially $4000 for a giant sunroof borders on cheeky. 

Reliability
All-new car distributed by a dealer network unfamiliar with the product does not inspire confidence. Not rated. Few complaints have been received about the 500 thus far.


Body Style:  2HB, 2CV
Occupants: 2/2
Engines:
1.4L‑4 (101 HP)*, 1.4L‑4T (135 HP [Turbo], 160 HP [Abarth]) 

Transmissions: 5M*, 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional Airbags: Driver's side knee airbag
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Ford Fiesta

Specifications


 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle, early 2014 Fiesta released in the winter of 2013. New Aston-Martin tribute grille and front fascia. Cabin updates include attractive gauges, revised audio controls and a MyFordTouch option. The turbocharged 1.6L ST is now on sale but the proposed 1L three-cylinder turbo four is nowhere to be seen.

Performance
The Fiesta's 1.6L engine lacks response at low revs but does perform enthusiastically at higher revs. Gearing favours fuel economy more than performance. Except for excess gear whine, the manual transmission, with a silken smooth clutch, is a delight. The dual-clutch automated manual transmission works well but shifts can be abrupt, especially in traffic. Nicely weighted, precise steering. A resilient ride and precise handling reflect careful suspension development. Strong, progressive braking. The traction control cannot be turned off to allow for some wheelspin if you are stuck in the winter. Attractive gauges in the 2014 Fiesta replace the amateurish dials in the pre-facelift version of the car. Except for confusing radio operation, controls are straightforward and work well. Tight cabin space, especially in the rear. The Honda Fit and Nissan Versa are significantly roomier, with the Accent and Rio more welcoming as well. Good cargo space on the hatchback, with the sedan having an enormous trunk for such a small car. The Fiesta finished second place in a three car test, ahead of the Mazda 2 and behind the Honda Fit. The new ST is a thrilling drive but the bolstering of its Recaro seats is too extreme for many body types.

Comments
The Fiesta is available in sedan and hatchback forms. One engine, a 1.6L four, can be hooked up to either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. The ST is equipped with a 197 horsepower 1.6L turbo four that is mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. A 1L turbocharged three-cylinder engine was announced for the Fiesta but never went on sale.
Pricing
Sedan and hatchback models are now priced the same. Upgrading from the S to SE and SE to Titanium trim levels are very good value. Leasing is not worth pursuing.

Reliability
Insufficient data on this model. Few complaints received thus far.  


Body Style: 4HB, 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6 L‑4 (120 HP)* , 1.6L-4 T (197 HP), 1L-3 T (123 HP estimate)

Transmissions: 5M*, 6M (ST), 6A (automated manual)*

Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional Airbags: Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



 

 

Honda CR-Z

Specifications

 

 

What’s new
Updates for 2013 included a lithium-ion battery pack, a power increase from 122 to 130 and a Sport Plus system that unleashes additional power for brief periods. Restyled grille and revised exterior colours. Premium package, which boasts leather seats and navigation, was new for 2013. No changes for the 2014 version of the CR-Z that went on sale in the winter of 2014. 

Performance
Adequate power from the hybrid system is delivered with uncommon smoothness. Power reaches the front wheels via a precise manual gearchange that combines with a smooth, progressive clutch to make the CR-Z a delight to drive. The well-sorted auto-stop feature works very well with the manual transmission. Firm, yet resilient ride. The precise, nicely weighted and geared steering provides plenty of feedback from the road. The CR-Z is agile and feels impressively solid. The workings of the regenerative braking system is transparent to the driver. The CR-Z's arresting looks compromise rear visibility. The chic cabin features space-age upholstery and attractive finishes. Cleverly-designed, slick-acting controls. The gauges consist of a digital speedometer ringed by a tachometer. The main gauge background colour glows green when the car is driven abstemiously, blue in normal driving and red when the Sport mode is engaged. Comfortable seats reside in a spacious two seater cabin. The two storage bins behind the front seats are jump seats in other markets. Good cargo space and versatility for such a small car. While not quick for a sporty car nor as fuel-frugal as expected of a hybrid, the CR-Z is a genuine pleasure to drive and significantly better sorted out than the mediocre Insight it is based on. 

Comments
The CR-Z is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT.

Pricing
Being a two-seater hybrid, the CR-Z is a unique product. Premium package contains roughly $4000 worth of contact for $2500. Reasonable lease terms.

Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient sales. Above average reliability predicted.  


Body Style: 2HB
Occupants: 2
Engines:
1.5 L‑4 H (130 HP combined)

Transmissions: 6M*, CVT
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 7.6L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional Airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60, 000, 5/100,000, 8/160,000 (hybrid components)

Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Honda Fit

Specifications


 

What’s new
Short model year for the late entry 2014 model which should be replaced by the summer of 2014 by the third-generation Fit. 

Performance
The short gearing of the precise manual transmission provides good performance at all speeds, but leads to high engine speeds (3000 rpm at 100 km/h), on the highway. Smooth clutch. The automatic transmission makes good use of the available power, permits lower-rev cruising than the manual but turns the engine note from sporty to harsh. The Fit is very noisy overall. Nicely weighted steering. Entertaining handling. The LX rides more smoothly than the "Sport" model. Supportive front seats and a comfortable driving position. Excellent visibility. Big, clear gauges and logical controls. Comfortable, versatile rear seat and good legroom. Impressive cargo-hauling capability. The Japanese-built Fit (built in China since 2012 model year) was rated first in a three-car comparison test ahead of the Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2. 

Comments
The Fit's 1.5L four can be hooked up to either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic.

Pricing
Good value LX trim upgrade. The Sport package is priced to reflect its extra content. Incentive are such that a Civic is much better value if you don't need the Fit's hatchback versatility. Reasonable lease value this year. Despite making no sense economically, the Fit has firm friends for its impressive versatility and durability, with sales increasing by more than 50 percent last year. 
Reliability
The Japanese-sourced Fit was rated above average. Predicted reliability of this Chinese-built Fit is also above average. The air conditioning condenser is vulnerable to damage from road debris.


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.5 L-4 (117 HP)

Transmissions: 5M, 5A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy: 8.4 L/100 km

ESC: LX and Sport only

Emissions ratings: Tier 2 Bin 5


Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  China

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 



Hyundai Accent

Specifications

 

What’s new

Late intro 2014 models feature upgraded audio systems. Bluetooth now standard on the GL trim level and both the GL and GLS models are now equipped with a telescoping steering wheel. 

Performance
The smooth, direct-injected 1.6L four delivers fairly lively acceleration but excessively tall gearing on the manual transmission leads to downshifts on even modest grades. Precise gearchange is allied to a smooth clutch. The responsive, crisp-shifting six-speed automatic transmission permits serene highway cruising. Well-suppressed wind noise but road noise and ping from road debris are intrusive. The nicely weighted and geared steering lacks the precision of the related Kia Rio. Except for excess rear suspension rebound over big bumps, the Accent has a well-judged ride-handling compromise. Matte-finished textured hard plastic and elegant fabrics make for a chic cabin for this market segment. Big, clear gauges and logical, slick-acting controls. Strong air conditioning, good heating and comforting heated seats.The small rear window wiper clears only a small part of the window. Comfortable seats combine with good cabin space for this segment. Tight toe space under the front seats. Enormous trunk on the sedan and a spacious, versatile cargo area on the hatchback model. The Accent was ranked second, behind the Kia Rio, in a four car test that included a Chevrolet Sonic and Toyota Yaris.

Comments
The fourth-generation Accent is available in sedan and hatchback forms. The hatchback accounts for the majority of sales. High-end technologies like direct fuel injection and six-speed transmissions are standard on all models. One engine, a 1.6L four with 138 horsepower, can be hooked up to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. 

Pricing
With Bluetooth, heated seats and a telescoping steering wheel, the GL trim level is particularly well equipped and very good value when compared to the basic L model. Upgrading from the GL to the GLS is priced to reflect the additional contents that are included on the GLS model. The hatchback body style commands premiums of $250, $300 and $350 for the GL, L and GLS respectively. Poor value leasing. 

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Unproven engine and transmissions.  


Body Style: 4HB*, 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6L-4 (138 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy: n/a
ESC: Standard
Additional Airbags: None
Warranty: 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: G

Side: A

Roof: G

Rear: G

Sml. P

NHTSA Rating: 



Hyundai Veloster

Specifications

 

What’s new
Signal flashers added to door mirrors on turbo model. Normally aspirated Velosters with the Technology package and all turbos are now equipped with a heated steering wheel and power adjustable lumbar support for the driver's seat. Active Cornering Control on the turbo model uses the stability control sensors to actively apply the brakes on the outside front wheel in corners to minimize wheel spin.

Performance
The normally-aspirated direct-injected 1.6L four is smooth and refined, but has little pull below 2500 rpm. Manual transmission gearing exploits the power available in the lower gears, with fifth and sixth gears for cruising only. The crisp, short-throw gearchange is allied to a smooth, progressive clutch. Quick, nicely-weighted steering is more precise than that of the Accent but still lacks in road feel. On smooth pavement, the Veloster exhibits little lean, even in brisk cornering, However, rougher road surfaces upset the rear suspension and larger bumps can deflect the car off its intended path. Firm ride on all types of bumps on our car shod with 18" wheels; the 17" wheels and higher profile tires on the base model may ride better. Strong, progressive brakes with firm brake pedal feel suffers from premature ABS interventions under hard braking. Restricted rear visibility.

Comments
Built on an 80 mm (3.15 inch) longer wheelbase than the Accent, the Veloster, at 105 mm (4.14 inches) longer, 90 mm (3.5 inches) wider and 51 mm (2 inches) lower than the Accent hatchback, is more than just a simple spin-off of Hyundai's B-segment stalwart. With a goatee-like lower air intake, cycle-type fenders, asymmetric (one door on the driver's and two-doors on the passenger side), side profiles and fully-integrated Siamesed rectangular rear exhaust outlets, the Veloster is one dramatic piece of road sculpture. The base engine is a normally-aspirated 1.6L four that can be hooked up to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual clutch automated manual transmission. The optional turbocharged engine can be linked up to a six-speed manual or a conventional six-speed automatic transmission.

Pricing
No pricing available for 2014.
Reliability
Not rated due to insufficient data. The dual-clutch automated manual transmission is unproven. Predicted reliability is above average.


Body Style: 3HB
Occupants: 2/2
Engines:
1.6L-4 (132 [auto]*, 138 HP [manual]), 1.6 L-4 T (201 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A (clutchless manual/base)*, 6A (turbo)
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 5/100,000
Country of Origin: South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

Sml. Front: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 


 

Kia Rio, Kia Rio5

Specifications

 

 

What’s new
No changes of note 

Performance
While the direct-injected four furnishes lively acceleration at higher revs, poorly chosen gear ratios (too high in the first three gears and too close in the last three), don't deliver the kind of performance expected from an engine rated at 138 horsepower. Serene cruising. The Rio's manual transmission has a smooth, progressive clutch and a precise gearchange. The nicely-weighted steering is more linear than that of the related Hyundai Accent. The Rio's suspension tames scarred urban pavement and, except for a rear suspension that gets bouncy over big undulations, the Rio feels confident in the twisties as well. Strong, progressive brakes. Thicker undercoating and other measures result in a Rio that is more refined than its Hyundai Accent platform mate. Big, crisply-marked gauges are part of a horizontal panel containing the audio controls. The climate controls are located in a shallow console hung just under the audio controls. All switches and knobs move with a cushioned precision. Some drivers find the front seats too firm and too flat. Adequate rear seat legroom but toe space is tight under the front seats and the rear backrest is too upright for comfort. Very chic two-tone cabin colour schemes available on the SX model. Roomy, versatile cargo bay on the hatchback and an enormous trunk on the sedan. Strong air conditioning and an excellent audio system.

Comments
The Rio's optional Eco's engine turns off the engine when stopped in traffic, restarting when the brake pedal is released. Kia claims improved urban fuel economy on cars with this feature. Luxury features like leather seats and Keyless Go are optional.

Pricing
The EX trim upgrade is very good value but the price charged to move up to the SX level equals the value of the contents included in the SX package. The LX+ package contains a lot of equipment for the money and includes much of the important feature upgrades of the EX for considerably less. Depending on the trim level, Rio hatchbacks are priced $200 to $300 higher than the sedan of the same trim level. Leasing is not that attractive. The LX models lack a spare wheel in the event of a flat. 
Reliability
All-new car. Insufficient data. Not rated. Predicted reliability is above average, like the previous Rio. No data on this new drivetrain.


Body Style: 4HB, 4SD*
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6L‑4 (138 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 8.7L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Additional Airbags: None
Warranty: 5/100,000
Country of Origin: South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Mod. Front  G

Side: A

Roof: G

Rear: G

Sml. Front: M

NHTSA Rating: 4


 

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