Consumer Reports Best and Worst in Class 2016 Apr 14, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

Best Compact Car: Subaru Impreza


The Subaru Impreza beats out the other compact cars on the market for its spacious interior, available safety features, and range of options. Drivers can choose from a sedan or hatchback, depending on their needs in terms of cargo space, and there is available all-wheel drive. The Impreza truly excels regarding safety with a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA and the status as an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2016. In addition to the standard rearview camera, drivers can get an Impreza with forward collision mitigation featuring automatic braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. One of the few disappointments about this compact car is the basic audio system, but both the sedan and hatchback models have generous cargo space, with up to 52.4 cubic feet after folding down the rear seats in the hatchback. The Subaru Impreza is one of the slower vehicles in its class, but it still provides enough power and acceleration for daily drives, and owners enjoy the ability to get up to 31 mpg combined.

Lowest-Rated Compact Car: Fiat 500L

Fiat USA

Unfortunately for drivers of the Fiat 500L, this vehicle had the lowest reliability rating from Consumer Reports for new cars. Experts and owners point out the negatives of the driving position, stiff ride, and uncomfortable seats. Despite being a hatchback, the rear seats of the Fiat 500L don’t fold flat, limiting the cargo space, and safety ratings could be better. In fact, the worst “Poor” rating for small-overlap frontal-offset impacts from the IIHS cancels out the top “Good” rating for moderate-overlap frontal-offset. However, the 500L did receive a “Good” rating in most of the other categories.

Despite the negatives, the 500L does still have some stronger elements. The passenger and cargo space are good, as is the outward visibility. There is also plenty of rear legroom and headroom, especially compared to its 2-door Fiat 500 counterpart. It is easy to slide into the front seats, which are comfortable and wide, but you will notice a lack of support during long drives. The available 6.5-inch touchscreen is also one of the faster and easier systems to use in a modern dashboard. Unfortunately, these features don’t outweigh the drawbacks.

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