Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra tie for first place in Kelley Blue Book’s compact sedans test

2011 Honda Civic - 2011 Hyundai Elantra

Kelley Blue Book has just released their recommendation list for the four top new compact cars. The contenders that made it to the list are the Chevrolet Cruze, the Ford Focus, the Honda Civic, and the Hyundai Elantra—all of which are brand new as of this year.

The cars were ranked according to their exterior, interior, performance, comfort and convenience, and value.

“At some point in time, most everyone drives a compact sedan, whether it is a commuter car, second car, empty nester car or even a rental car,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for “Because this vehicle class is an inevitable part of most American drivers’ lives, we wanted to put the top new models up against each other head-to-head to see how they would fare.”

The list goes as follows. Fourth place goes to the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ, which according to KBB’s ranking, walked away with a not great, but passing 6.7 out of 10 and was complimented for its ability to “provide big-car virtues in a smaller package.”

Third place is taken by the 2012 Ford Focus SEL for its sense of athleticism and for being the sportiest out of everything in its segment. The Ford Focus’s score was 6.9 out of 10.

Second place is non-existent because two cars tied for first. The 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited was chosen for its good looks where as the 2012 Honda Civic EX-L Navi tied with Hyundai for it being a “superb example of balance, value, and pedigree.”

“While the caliber of vehicles is better than ever in the compact sedan category across the board, each model proved to have different strengths and weaknesses that potential buyers should know about before they make their final decision,” added Nerad. “The cars are in the same segment, but they certainly aren’t the same, and we found that each meets the needs of a particular set of consumers.” 2011 / 2012 Compact Sedan Comparison Test: Sneak Peek, with Links to Read Full Content, Scoring and More

Fourth Place: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ

Overall Editors’ Rating: 6.7 out of 10

Synopsis: Best at providing big-car virtues in a smaller package.

The 2011 Chevy Cruze is a new face in this field, with many advocates pointing to it as the weather vane for the coming era in American cars. Recent sales and strong consumer interest in the Cruze, despite on-again/off-again economic forecasts, point to a healthy wind blowing in…

To read the complete scoring, editorial commentary, strengths and weaknesses of the Cruze in the comparison test, click here.

Third Place: 2012 Ford Focus SEL

Overall Editors’ Rating: 6.9 out of 10

Synopsis: The Ford Focus SEL is the athlete of the bunch.

New for 2012, the Ford Focus is a “world car” with European sensibilities trying to find a home in America. Riding on a new platform, running with new engines and staring at itself in the mirror with new sheet metal, the 2012 Focus is a more substantial small sedan than the car it replaces…

To read the complete scoring, editorial commentary, strengths and weaknesses of the Focus in the comparison test, click here.

The Winners, Part One: 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited

Overall Editors’ Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Synopsis: The 2011 Hyundai Elantra is the fashionista of this test.

The most anticipated major redesign among small-car fans and auto-show enthusiasts belongs to the 2011 Hyundai Elantra. After what seemed like permanent also-ran status, Hyundai scored back-to-back styling and value wins with its new Genesis and Sonata four-doors, but what about the small sedan that needed to be a numbers car for the Korean carmaker? If this were a beauty contest or a price war, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra would win it hands down. Instead, this story has a second act…

To read the complete scoring, editorial commentary, strengths and weaknesses of the Elantra in the comparison test, click here.

The Winners, Part Two: 2012 Honda Civic EX-L Navi

Overall Editors’ Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Synopsis: A superb example of balance, value and pedigree.

Also new this year, the 2012 Honda Civic bears a lot of responsibility as the next generation of a wildly popular car. With every player in the compact-sedan segment getting stronger overall, Honda had to decide: Does it take a risk, or does it stand firm with a proven formula? The 2012 Honda Civic stands firm…

– By: Chris Chin

Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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