Yonkers, New York : Consumer Reports has named the 2006 Honda Civic its top-rated small sedan, following tests of the Civic, Volkswagen Jetta and Subaru Impreza for its February 2006 issue. It also received more points than all of the other small sedans tested by the magazine, including the Mazda3 and Ford Focus. Previously, the top-rated small sedan was the Mazda3.

The Civic EX, with both manual and automatic transmissions, and the Civic Hybrid rated “Very Good” overall, as did the Jetta TDI, Jetta 2.5 and Impreza 2.5i; the Impreza WRX was rated “Excellent”. Full tests and ratings of the small sedans appear in the February issue of Consumer Reports.

Of the cars in the test group, Consumer Reports recommends the Civic and Impreza models; the Jetta is too new for the magazine to have reliability data and so cannot be recommended at this time. Consumer Reports only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on a survey of subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

The magazine found that “the redesigned Civic looks futuristic, but sacrifices ease of access”. The redesigned Jetta is larger and more expensive than its predecessor and approaches the family-sedan category in both price and interior room; the magazine says “power and handling have been improved, but the ride is a bit stiffer.” The Impreza “delivers agile handling and a compliant ride but the interior is cramped and Spartan (and) the drag and weight from its all-wheel-drive system take a toll on acceleration and fuel economy.”

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