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Need help choosing a hatchback: Fit, Focus or Accent?

edited June 2011 in General Discussion
I'm getting ready to buy a new car. Here are my criteria:

- Price (under $23k)
- Fuel economy > 30 mpg combined
- Good interior features/styling
- Quiet / little road noise
- Fun to drive
- Cargo space
- Reliability

I'm choosing between the 2011 Honda Fit, the 2012 Hyundai Accent Hatchback and 2012 Ford Focus Hatchback.

They all have strengths and weaknesses.

Pros: 30/40 mileage, upmarket interior styling, quiet, reliable, best warranty, decent cargo space, lower resale value than Honda, cheapest of the 3
Cons: rear seats don't fold all the way down, less cargo space than Fit, no option for leather seats

Pros: most fun to drive of the three (for me, anyways), European feel, 28/38 mileage, upmarket interior, option for leather seats, decent cargo space
Cons: more expensive when configured with options, not enough legroom in back seat, rear seats don't fold all the way down, less cargo space than Fit, lower resale value than Honda

Pros: huge amount of cargo space, seats fold flat (and fold up for vertical space), reliable, high resale value, can do leather with aftermarket (Clazzio) option, good handling and peppy, cheaper than Focus
Cons: engine noise, not as quiet as Accent or Focus, no bluetooth, chintzy plastic interior

I've been going back and forth trying to make a decision, without much luck. I thought I'd ask for some help/insight here.

If you had to choose between these three, which would you choose?


  • Are you getting an auto or manual? The auto in the Focus has been giving some problems. Other than that they're all great cars, really up to you which to get.
  • I'd go for the Fit. I'm not a fan of leather (I don't see any real advantage, and it doesn't seem to age well), but if you must have it, the Focus would likely be a good bet. My sister and her husband both have Fits and they are neat cars. Regarding texases' post, I've never liked Ford's automatics. The Ford autos that I've driven, even those with big engines, just feel like they don't want to go.
  • If quiet and little road noise are high priority, the Focus is the one. I do a lot of highway driving, and a noisy ride is a deal breaker to me.
  • The problem with the Focus (and Fiesta) automatics are that they are automated manuals, and are apparently having issues with rough shifting.
  • I think I would prefer the Fit out of those three choices.

    I know this is not on your list, but I bought a Toyota Yaris hatchback in 2007 and it has been a great reliable car with no problems and gets up to 35 mph on the freeway. It is also cheaper than the Honda Fit.

    Consumer Reports doesn't recommend the Yaris based on it being "boring" and they don't like the center mounted gauges, which I think are absolutely great!
  • If I we going for hatchback, I'd also consider the Mazda 3 or VW Golf. The TDI Golf goes for right around 23k sticker price and gets 40+ MPG, it's probably not that fun to drive though, the gas versions are pretty peppy and can be had for less than $20k. The Mazda 3 doesn't get quite as good as mileage as the ones you listed, but it's fun to drive. The Mini might intrest you as well.
  • The Mini is not reliable. The VWs offer free maintenance for the first 36,000 or 3 years. It's basically oil and filters, but nothing to sneeze at.
  • edited June 2011
    Regardless of the technical data, check out the satisfaction ratings of the cars you are considering in CR. There are a lot of hidden issues that aren't measured but do show up over time with the owners. If the Fit, for example, has a very high satisfaction rating, at least you know how the other owners felt about their car. The new Focus may not be new enough to have one.
  • Also take extended test drives in each one, preferably on the same day. Some folks don't like the firm ride on the Fit.
  • try the Mazda 2 or 3 out. you might be surprised.
    Also, don't be too surprised if salesmen won't budge from sticker prices on these cars. You aren't the only one looking for this type of car and they know if you won't buy it, the next guy walking into the showroom will.
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