KBB repudiates Consumer Reports giving Honda Civic top marks

(August 26, 2011) IRVINE, Calif. (PRNewswire) The editors from Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com have relassed the results of their all-new 2011 / 2012 Compact Sedan Comparison Test.

The four new compact sedans in this test — Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Hyundai Elantra — each represent a fresh-foot forward for their manufacturers and represent some of the most popular vehicles in this important segment.

The all-new Civic tied for the top spot with the Elantra in the competition. Consumer Reports in its September issue was far less kind to the Civic. It shocked the industry by scoring the Civic "too low to be recommended." The Civic tradtitionally has been one of the consumer magazine's top rated cars. “While other models like the Hyundai Elantra have gotten better after being redesigned, the Civic has dropped so much that now it ranks near the bottom of its category,” said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center.

Kelley Blue Book's editors saw things very differently in their testing reported this week.

During the comprehensive testing of these vehicles, the kbb.com editors gave each model an overall rating as well as specific ratings based on interior, exterior, performance, comfort/convenience and value. In their story, kbb.com's editors provide deep insight into each of the four vehicles and how they compare to one another to help consumers choose the right car for their needs.

When the editors ultimately tallied the score sheets, the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra tied for first place, each scoring 7.5 out of 10 possible points in the overall ratings. Though their overall scores were the same, the two winners captured the top spot with dramatically different strong and weak points.

The Elantra outshined the others in the style and design ratings, while the Civic cleaned up in the performance and value categories. Rounding out the comparison, the Ford Focus finished third, and the Chevrolet Cruze finished fourth, but the strength of each model demonstrated the strong advances being made in the compact car segment.

"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 Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.

"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. 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.

"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."
    Fourth Place:  2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ   
    Overall Kbb.com 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...   
    Third Place: 2012 Ford Focus SEL   
    Overall Kbb.com 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...   
    The Winners, Part One: 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited   
    Overall Kbb.com 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...   
    The Winners, Part Two: 2012 Honda Civic EX-L Navi   
    Overall Kbb.com 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...   
To read the complete scoring and editorial commentary on the comparison test, click here.