$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Overview

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Pop quiz: What size car do residents of planet Earth buy more of than any other? It's not the midsize sedan that's unique to the U.S. It's not pickup trucks either. It's compacts, of which more are sold around the world than any other segment.

In Europe they're used as family cars, but in the U.S. they tend to be less expensive entry-level vehicles that appeal to a wide range of buyers. From young college grads to empty nesters looking to downsize, these models are no longer the stripped-down economy cars of yesteryear. And with new models arriving for 2014, we figured it was time to look at the category again.

By Aaron Bragman | November 10, 2013 | Comments (11)

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results

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As with previous Challenges, the cars at the top were not too far apart, but some of the opinions of the judges were quite far apart. One sedan was the solid favorite for one of our judges, but it received the lowest score from our "real-life" judge, so opinions were clearly not unanimous. A reminder on who our judges were for this Challenge:

  • Aaron Bragman, Detroit bureau chief for Cars.com
  • Jennifer Geiger, Cars.com news editor
  • Bill Jackson, Cars.com assistant managing editor/research and production
  • James R. Healey, auto writer for USA Today
  • Fred Meier, automotive editor for USA Today
  • Brian Robinson, "MotorWeek" producer
  • Carol Gluckman, librarian from Montgomery County, Md., who is in the market for a compact car to replace her current car

Here's how the score broke down: The experts' scores accounted for 75 percent of the total score; 15 percent came from the civilian car buyer's scores; and 10 percent was based on fuel economy.

By Patrick Olsen | November 10, 2013 | Comments (22)

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Mileage

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Fuel efficiency is a must for compact-car shoppers, so it's no surprise that most of the sedans in our Challenge returned impressive numbers, but one contender definitely outshone the rest. The newest kid on the block, the redesigned-for-2014 Toyota Corolla, wowed us with its observed 38.3 mpg rating. Because the 2014 Ford Focus did not have an mpg readout, we opted to use the observed mileage based on our fill-ups at the same pump for all cars, using a one-click method. We've provided the computer readouts below for comparison.

We started our trip in suburban Baltimore, Md., on four-lane thoroughfares, took a jaunt across state lines on small-town Pennsylvania roads, made a highway trek back into Maryland, and hit some urban and suburban roads. In total, we covered just more than 200 miles.

While some of the compact sedans impressed more than others, all beat their combined EPA fuel-economy rating:

By Jennifer Geiger | November 10, 2013 | Comments (2)

2013 Subaru Impreza Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2013 Subaru Impreza

 

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Ford Focus Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2014 Ford Focus

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Hyundai Elantra Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Honda Civic Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2013 Honda Civic LX

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Kia Forte Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2014 Kia Forte LX

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Toyota Corolla Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2014 Toyota Corolla

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Nissan Sentra Photo Gallery

Click any photo for a larger version. All photos by Evan Sears.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Results
$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge: Index

2013 Nissan Sentra SV

By David Thomas | November 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

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