I'm going to stick my neck out here and ask if anyone has any recent experience in cross shopping more plebeian small cars. The wife and I are looking to replace her '99 Nissan Sentra with something a little less stone-age. While getting our Santa Fe serviced we sat in a '13 Elantra Limited and I was thoroughly impressed. Had just about every bell and whistle imaginable this side of cooled seats. The last time I shopped for a small car was in '05 right out of college so there's been quite a bit of turn over since then. Without doing a ton of research I think we'll start looking at the Focus, Elantra, Cruze, and Sentra. The Corolla and Civic are out on principal alone and the Mazda 3 is pretty obnoxious looking, so that's out too. I am having a hard time separating my needs (power & comfort) with the needs of my wife (mpg & comfort) so if anyone has a suggestion I'm all ears.
I should also note that I don't want to spend more than $22k, but I'd go higher if I was absolutely blown away by something.
1) New 2013 Civic is much better than the prior version
2) Elantra is nice
3) Focus depreciates like hell though recent models have been holding up due to fuel savings
4) Altima is significantly nicer than the Sentra
5) Honda Fit Sport (?)
I personally drive a Toyota Yaris sedan around NYC and wished that I spent the extra coin for Fit though my car has already taken a beating in 2 years (cracked grill, door dings, multiple scrapes on front and rear bumper). You cannot drive a car in the five boroughs for more than 5 yrs without it turning into shit.