Chevrolet Sonic  Honda Fit  Kia Soul  Nissan Versa Note 
Chevrolet Spark  Hyundai Accent  Mitsubishi i-MiEV  Smart ForTwo 
Fiat 500  Hyundai Veloster  2017 Mitsubishi Mirage  Toyota Yaris Sedan 
Ford Fiesta  Kia Rio, Rio 5  Nissan Micra  Toyota Yaris 
Honda CRZ       

2016 Kia Soul


 

 

What’s new
Soul: Forward collision and lane departure warnings are optional on the SX range topper for 2016. Small packaging changes. Soul Electric: New panoramic sunroof option. 

Comments
The cabin on the current Soul, with quality mouldings, matte finishes, convincing faux alloy and piano black trim, is actually more attractive than some entry-level luxury cars. Cabin space is impressive. Cargo room is greater than before and more easily accessed via a wider tailgate opening.
Driven briefly by the APA in 2L SX trim, the Soul's strong 2L four was quick, smooth, and well-matched to its slick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. Shod with big, low-profile 235/45R/18 tires, our test SX handled crisply but the ride was choppy. Two direct-injection fours, a 130 horsepower 1.6L powers LX models, with a 2L with 164 horsepower found under the hood of all other trims. The six-speed manual and automatic transmissions return for 2015. Kia has revised the suspension to improve ride comfort, which was poor on its predecessor. Kia states that various noise abatement measures have led to a significantly quieter cabin than the very noisy first-generation Soul. 

Pricing
With automatic transmission and air-conditioning, the $19,895 LX Automatic is essentially the base Soul for most buyers. If the bigger 2L engine is accounted for, the EX model is priced to justify its supplement over the LX Automatic. The EX+ upgrade is priced to reflect its additional features compared with the EX. The extra features of the SX and SX+ range toppers make them impressive bargains. Soul EV: overpriced EV Luxury trim package. The EV is eligible for a rebate of up to $8000 from the province of Quebec and $8500 from Ontario.  

Reliability
Good reliability is predicted as the powertrains have proven reliable in other Hyundai/Kia products. All-new electric model is an unknown quantity.

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6 L‑4 (130 HP), 2 L‑4 (164 HP) *, electric motor (109 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:   9.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  7.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Available forward collision and lane departure warnings
Additional airbags: None
Warranty: 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin:  South Korea

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating:


2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV


 

What’s new
The i-MiEV returns after sitting out the 2015 model year. Alloy wheels and leather wraps for the steering wheel and shift lever are standard for 2016. A new black-brown cabin colour combo is featured for 2016. Revised navigation system. 
Comments
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV (innovative Electric Vehicle), is based on the conventionally-powered Kei class "i" released in 2006. Changes for sale here include left-hand drive, an extra 280 mm (11 inches) in length and 110 mm (4.3 inches) in width to incorporate larger bumpers. The cabin features a redesigned dashboard and more sober trim suited to conservative North American tastes. These dimensions bestow the i-MiEV with a surprisingly spacious cabin for such a small car. Comfortable seats, front and rear and easy access to all seating positions due to the four-door layout. Reasonable trunk space. The North American spec. i-MiEV drives remarkably normally. An acceptably absorbent ride combines with stable handling to render the i-MiEV a pleasant town companion. Sprightly acceleration from the 66 horsepower electric motor. Very quiet. Range anxiety is real as available kilometres until the batteries are depleted plummets if the car is driven hard and in colder weather, when the electric heater is on. The i-MiEV is best suited to those with short commutes and predictable daily routines. Denizens of commuter belts surrounding major cities will find range (155 kilometres under IDEAL conditions), insufficient to allow for anxiety-free travel. 

Pricing

At $29,700, the iMiEV is the cheapest electric car on the market. The navigation option group includes navigation, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and an upgraded audio system, for just $2000. The iMiEV is eligible for an $8000 rebate from the province of Quebec, Ontario offers up to $8500 and B.C. $5000. The more generous rebate offered by B.C. has increased sales there. The Nissan Leaf is a better overall performer than the iMiEV, which is really an electric version of a Japanese Kei-class car that debuted in 2006. No leasing is available.  

Reliability
Not rated. Insufficient data due to limited sales.

Specifications


Body Style: 4HB
Occupants: 2/2
Engine:
AC electric (66 HP/49 kW)

Transmission: None 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  1.9L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  2.4L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional Airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 10/160,000, 8/160,000 (battery pack)

Current Generation Debut:  2012
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: N/R

Mod. Front: N/R

Side: N/R

Roof: N/R

Rear: N/R

NHTSA Rating: 


2017 Mitsubishi Mirage


 

What's new
Mid-cycle remake includes a new grille, hood, fenders, fascia and lights up front and a new bumper and spoiler at the rear of the car. Cabin updates comprise revised fabrics, gauges and the addition of Apple CarPlay-Android Auto. According to Mitsubishi, revised suspension results in a better ride and crisper handling and bigger front and rear brakes and improved materials are said to improve braking performance. Horsepower increases from 74 to 78 for 2017. New sedan body style, called the G4 was released in te spring or 2016. 

Comments
Unintentionally retro styling outside with a straightforward, functional cabin. Power stems from a 1.2L inline triple churning out 74 horsepower. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and a CVT. Driven briefly by the APA, the Mirage, with a good heater and volcanic seat heaters, shrugs off winter conditions. The Mirage rides pretty well for such a small, light car, especially in town. The Mirage's steering is relatively precise but lightly weighted and lacks any sensation of the road rolling underneath its wheels. The CVT ekes out every bit of performance available from the 1.2L triple and allows for surprisingly serene cruising, but performance is lacklustre and unless at a steady speed, the engine sounds like a diesel with an exhaust leak. Noise from grit pinging off the bottom or the car and wind noise over the roof (not the windows) betray a lack of sound proofing. Comfortable front seats for those in front but the rear seat is small, hard and flat. Cabin space is quite good considering the Mirage's tight dimensions and two adults can wedge themselves into the back seat for cross-town hops easily enough. Good cabin fit and finish on the SE model tested. The trunk is regularly shaped and deep below the window line. Fuel mileage was unimpressive considering the performance disadvantage the Mirage represents compared with its competitors. The G4 sedan, with 100 mm between the front and rear wheels, is a full 505 mm longer than the hatchback.  Except for the front doors, which are common to both body styles, the G4 s exterior panels are unique to it. Even more so than the hatchback, the design of the sedan can be charitably described as "interesting" rather  than attractive.

Pricing 
The base $12,898 Mirage ES with manual transmission lacks air conditioning and a full power group, but is available with automatic transmission. With a full power group, automatic transmission, Bluetooth and air conditioning, but lacking cruise control, the $15,198 ES Plus is the model most buyers will chose and represents good value compared with the ES model. The great value $17,398 SE upgrade features luxuries like heated seats, fog lights, automatic temperature control and the cruise control many buyers seek, but is priced similarly to vastly superior cars like the Hyundal Accent GL. The range-topping SEL boasts xenon headlamps, Auto-CarPlay, rearview camera and bigger alloy wheels, but is priced beyond the natural market segment of the car. The G4 sedan is offered in only ES and SEL trim levels, versus the four variants offered with the hatchback body style. The ES sedan is equipped like the ES Plus hatchback and the SEL hatchback and G4 sedan share the same equipment and pricing. Poor value leasing.

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. The oil pan of the hard-working 1L triple contains only 3L of oil so it is important to check the oil regularly, change the oil according to Mitsubishi service instructions and keep your service receipts in the event of a problem. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4HB, 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.2L‑3 (78 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  6.4L 100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  5.5L 100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: Driver's side knee airbag
Warranty: 3/100,000, 10/160,000
Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin: Thailand

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: NOT RATED


2016 Nissan Micra 


 

 

What’s new
Delayed 2016 model did not go on sale until April 2016.

Comments
The Micra's styling is decidedly retro but continues the cute-and-cuddly vein that has marked the last few generations of the Micra. The cabin design is simple and straightforward, sharing many of the components as the Versa Note model. While cabin fabrics are attractive, much of the interior is fashioned from hard and shiny plastics. A shorter wheelbase results in less rear legroom than in the Versa Note but enough for a cross-town hop for a movie or a night out. Reasonable trunk space.
The Micra is powered by the same 109 horsepower 1.6L four found under the hood of the Versa Note. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual as well as an old-school, but cheap-to-make four-speed automatic.
The Micra for Canada will be sourced in Mexico and won’t be sold in the United States. See Recently Driven road test (link)

Pricing
The base Micra is priced at a headline-creating $9998; not much money for a pretty competent vehicle, however, the price is a mirage as that price is packaged with mandatory, high-interest financing which significantly inflates the true cost of the car. The new Chevrolet Spark, available for the true price it is advertised at, may make life hard for the Micra in 2016. The Micra SV generates similar monthly lease and finance figures as a Chevrolet Spark 1LT with automatic transmission. The Micra SV trim model is nicely equipped but not really that great a deal compared to something like a Hyundai Accent GL, which is a larger, roomier, faster, smoother vehicle for about $1300 more. The cost to upgrade from the base S to the mainstream SV is significantly higher than the value of the equipment that comes with the upgrade. Compared with the SV, the SR trim level is priced to reflect the value of the upgrades quite precisely. Leasing is not worth investigating.

Reliability
Predicted reliability is average at best. Problems encountered by owners of the previous-generation Versa, premature exhaust failure, short brake life, premature suspension wear and door lock failures, may show up in the Micra. 

Specifications


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3
Engines:
1.6L-4 (109 HP)

Transmissions: 5M, 4A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
Highway Fuel Economy:  n/a
Active Safety Features: None
Additional airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2015
Country of Origin: Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Nissan (Versa) Note


 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for 2016.

Performance
Early production models driven by the APA in Toronto and Montreal were somewhat unpleasant to drive but an example driven in the spring of 2015 was a much improved machine. The Note's throttle is now easy to modulate, but pushing the pedal hard generates more noise than actual progress. Despite the racket when accelerating, the car is a relaxed highway cruiser. Except for excessive ping from debris kicked up from the road, road noise is well-suppressed, as is wind noise. While the steering is accurate and nicely weighted, it is essentially lifeless. The suspension copes well with single bumps but tends to skip over a series of bumps rather than absorbing them. The Note is agile due to its size and handles predictably enough, but it lacks any sense of fun and fails to engage drivers. Braking is much improved over the early examples driven by the APA and is now satisfactory, with much better pedal feel. 
The Note uses most of the same cabin components as the discontinued Versa sedan and the new Micra. The dashboard is stocked with large, clear gauges and simple, logical, climate controls. Except for attractive seat upholstery and carpets, most cabin trim is fashioned from shiny, unyielding hard plastic. Though small, the front seats are deeply padded and supportive. Most drivers of the Note complained that the steering wheel, which does not have a telescoping feature, was too far a reach for them. The comfortable rear seat allies with astounding legroom and good headroom to create a welcoming environment for two, and width-challenged space for three rear passengers. Though visually grim, the Note's cabin seems is more solidly constructed than that of the previous Versa but dash rattles were already starting on our newish test vehicle. The Note's heater was slow to warm but had good output once aroused. Good trunk space. The SL model tested was equipped with high-end features such as Keyless Go, navigation and a multi-view rearview camera.

Comments
Built on Nissan's global "B" platform that also underpins Micra. The introduction of the Micra resulted in the Note moving upscale to prevent any overlap of the two models. Power stems from a 1.6L four that produces 109 horsepower, one of the lowest power ratings in the Note's class. Power reaches the front wheels via either a five-speed manual transmission or a second-generation version of Nissan's CVT.

Pricing 

The supplements demanded to move from S to SV to SR and to the range-topping SL, reflect the value of the contents included in the upgrade. Poor value leasing. 

Reliability

Predicted reliability is average at best. Problems encountered by owners of the previous-generation Versa generated expensive repairs for premature exhaust failure, short brake life, premature suspension wear and door lock failures, may show up in the Note as well.

Specifications


Body Style: 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6 L‑4  (109 HP)

Transmissions: 5M, CVT*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive
City Fuel Economy:  n.a
Highway Fuel Economy: n.a
Active Safety Features: None
Additional Airbags: None

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2014
Country of Origin:  Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating: 


2016 Smart ForTwo

NEW

 

 

What’s new
The third-generation Smart ForTwo hatchback, a spin off of the new rear-engined Renault Twingo, is already on sale. The convertible was introduced at the Frankfurt motor show in September and should be on sale by the spring of 2016. The previous-generation electric Smart continues will continue to be sold as a new car during the 2016 model year. 

Performance
The ForTwo Electric, based on the previous-generation platform, eliminates the miserable transmission that has hobbled the Smart since introduced. The electric version is smooth and quiet, making city driving, which is the Smart's natural habitat, a joy.
Comments
About the same length as before but much wider, the new Smart is powered by a 900 cc, turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces 89 horsepower, 19 more than last year. A manual transmission, a five-speed in this case, is offered for the first time in a ForTwo. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is available. All models feature a Crosswind assist that will help keep this small rear-engined car on the straight and narrow when conditions get blustery. A forward collision alert system is optional.
The new Smart’s styling has a similar silhouette as its two predecessors but its overall look comes off a bit blobby compared with the lithe shapes of the last two Smarts. The interior looks very Smart overall but more thought has been put into the controls this time, which are more logical than before. Interior materials are more attractive and the Smart once again offers astounding cabin space for two occupants.
Driven briefly by the APA, the new Smart ForTwo is a significant improvement over its predecessor. The turbocharged triple exhibits flexible power deliver and surprising energy for an engine of its size. While not the quietest engine in the world the triple emits am enthusiastic  three-cylinder thrum when extended, is acceptably quiet in normat driving and fades into the distance when cruising. For those who experienced the miserable transmission in the previous two Smarts, the new dual clutch automated manual, with smooth shifts and a good spread of gears, is a revelation. Ride and handling are impressive for a very tall car built on such a short wheelbase. Steering is nicely direct and pleasantly weighted. Braking is strong but there is a slight feeling of instability when braking hard from speed. In Smart tradition, the driving position is still a bit odd, but is certainly better than before. Considering the exterior dimensions of the car, cabin space is impressive. Luggage capacity is adequate. Once again, the ForTwo boasts a very chic cabin, with component appearance improved compared with the last car.
Pricing
Even the base Pure model is equipped with air conditioning, cruise control and Bluetooth. Automatic transmission, previously standard, is now a $1400 option. The Passion upgrade is expensive for what you get compared with the base Passion trim level. The range-topping Prime model, with heated leather seats along with a fixed-glass roof panel, is very good value. The previous-generation Smart Electric, still offered as a new car, is priced roughly $9000 more than its equivalent 1L triple; however, an $8500 rebate from Ontario brings its net price close to that of the conventional model for those with a short commute.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. Unique mechanical components of the Smart precludes servicing at independent mechanics; with parts and service at Mercedes-Benz dealers, which distributes the Smart in Canada, being very expensive. No powertrain warranty beyond the four year/80,000 km basic warranty.   

Specifications


Body Style: 2HB, 2CV 
Occupants: 2
Engine:
900cc 3 T (89 HP) , Electric (55 kW)

Transmissions: 5M, 6A (dual clutch)
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  6.9L/100 km.
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.0L/100 km.
Active Safety Features: Available forward collision alert. 
Additional Airbags: Knee airgags for both front occupants.

Warranty: 4/80,000, no additional powertrain warranty
Current Generation Debut:  2016
Country of Origin:  France

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: NR

Mod. Front: NR

Side: NR

Roof: NR

Rear: NR

NHTSA Rating:


2016 Toyota Yaris


 

 

What’s new
No changes of note for 2016. 

Performance
Tested before the recent update, the 1.5L four was loud and coarse most of the time. Low final gearing and big gaps between gears on the four-speed automatic transmission keeps it spinning noisily, especially when kick down, needed to maintain progress, is engaged. The Yaris feels sprightly in town but is about the slowest cars in its class on the open road. Nicely weighted, accurate, modestly communicative steering. The Yaris copes well over big bumps taken at speed on secondary roads, but rides abruptly over most other types of road imperfections, especially when laden. Good body control in corners, especially on the SE model. Directional stability could be better. Very good outward visibility. The single front windshield wiper is the source of major wind noise when it is not sweeping. Modern cabin design with good finish at this price point. Clear gauges and simple controls. Insufficient oddments space in the cabin. Supportive front seats on the SE model tested, but limited seat travel cramps taller drivers. Flawed driving position exacerbated by the non-telescoping steering wheel. Comfortable rear seat and reasonable space for a car of this size. Limited cargo space. The Yaris snagged last place in a four car test that included the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Sonic.

Comments
The long-serving 1.5L four can be hooked up the either a four-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual.

Pricing

Compared with the 2-door CE, the version LE includes four doors, keyless entry, tachometer, cruise control as well as air conditioning, is a spectacular bargain and is equipped the way most buyers want. Automatic transmission is a $1000 option. Good value leasing. In late January 2016, finance payments (60 months) for the Yaris LE were about $50 less per month than they were for a Corolla LE, reflecting the price gap between the two cars. However, if leasing for 48 months, opting for a Corolla LE instead of a Yaris LE will only cost about $20 more per month, or around $1000 of the $3000 price gap between the two cars.

Reliability
Above average reliability. The previous Yaris was one of the most reliable and durable cars available.

Specifications


Body Style: 2HB, 4HB*
Occupants: 2/3
Engine:
1.5L‑4 (106 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, 4A*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  7.8L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy:  6.5L/100 km
Active Safety Features: Standard
Additional Airbags: Driver's side knee airbag

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut:  2012
Country of Origin:  France

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: M

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 4 Star


2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan

NEW

 

 

What’s new
Sedan version of the Mexican-built Mazda 2 marketed as a Toyota Yaris sedan. 

Comments
Toyota returns the Yaris sedan to our market for 2016, but unlike its Japanese-sourced predecessor, the new Yaris sedan is actually a sedan version of the aborted Mazda 2. Built in Mexico, the Yaris sedan should be cheaper to build than the current Yaris hatchback sourced in France. An edgy, rectangular front styling clip fights visually with the very oval forms of the Mazda 2. Inside, space is reasonable up front but rear legroom is a bit tight. With an attractive dashboard and nice materials, the cabin of the Yaris sedan is as attractive as that of the no-show Mazda 2 it is based on. Turning a hatchback into a sedan by extending the overhang behind the rear wheels usually results in a substantial trunk, and the Yaris sedan certainly delivers in this regard.
The powertrain features a 1.5L four with 106 horsepower sending power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The Yaris has earned a reputation for being Toyota's most reliable conventional gasoline car; it remains to be sees whether this badge-engineered Mazda 2 will be as durable and drama-free.
Price is important to buyers in this segment, but monthly payments are even more critical. Toyota will have to support the new Yaris sedan with generous finance and lease incentives to ensure low monthly payments, if it wants this car to be a volume player in the entry-level small car market that is dominated by Hyundai and Kia in Canada.

Pricing
Despite being sourced in Mexico, the Yaris sedan turned out to be more expensive than some observers expected. Though the base model (with automatic) is equipped with air-conditioning and a power group, its $18,200 MSRP is a bit on the pricy side, and the $20,200 Premium model is too close to that of the Corolla to make much sense. In addition, lacklustre incentives render monthly payments too close to those of the Corolla to make anyone give the Yaris sedan a second look. 

Reliability
New car, not rated. The previous Mazda 2 generated few complaints. 

Specifications


Body Style: 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engine:
1.5L‑4 (106 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, 4A
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy: 7.1L/100 km
Highway Fuel Economy: 5.6L/100 km
Active Safety Features: None
Additional Airbags:
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Current Generation Debut: 2016
Country of Origin: Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Sml. Front: G

Mod. Front: G

Side: G

Roof: G

Rear: G

NHTSA Rating: 


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