November 14, 2006

Consumer Reports rates Honda Fit and Nissan Versa tops in small-car tests

2007 Nissan Versa
2007 Honda Fit
Nissan Versa (top) and Honda Fit. Click image to enlarge

Yonkers, New York – The Honda Fit and Nissan Versa have topped eleven thrifty small cars in tests conducted by Consumer Reports magazine.

Consumer Reports purchased two groups of small sedans for testing, one group equipped with automatic transmissions and the other with manuals. All vehicles were put through performance and safety tests at the magazine’s Connecticut test centre.

Among the vehicles with manual transmissions, the Fit “easily outpointed its competitors and posted a ‘Very Good’ overall score,” the magazine says. The Ford Focus, a larger hatchback that sells in the same price range, came in second place overall, also with a “Very Good” score. The manual-equipped Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa all finished in the middle of the ratings, with “Good” scores.

Among automatic transmission-equipped vehicles, the Nissan Versa achieved the best overall score, followed closely by the Fit, Rio and Accent, in respective order. All four vehicles achieved “Very Good” overall scores.

The Toyota Yaris scored mid-pack, with an overall score of “Good”, in the group of vehicles with automatic transmissions, but near the bottom with a “Fair” score in the manual transmission group.

“The Honda Fit is agile and fun to drive, with an impressive amount of interior room,” says David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “The Nissan Versa has a comfortable and quiet ride with a roomy interior that makes it feel more upscale than other entry-level cars.”

Consumer Reports recommends only the Honda Fit and Ford Focus. It does not have reliability information yet for the Nissan Versa, Kia Rio, or Hyundai Accent. The Yaris scored too low to earn a recommendation, which the magazine says is “a first in recent memory for a new model from Toyota.” Consumer Reports only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on a survey of its subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test.

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