While many drivers have traded in their sedans for crossovers, small cars have never been more attractive, efficient or reliable. Indeed, it seems modern automakers have perfected the compact car with more frugal powertrains and surprising technology. In a segment chock-full of stellar options, how do you choose the one that's right for you?
Both the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta and the 2016 Honda Civic are purposed to offer a blend of performance and efficiency that will outlast competitors. Both have long pedigrees as solid choices for drivers seeking a small sedan with a bit of personality and verve. For 2016, the Jetta sports a newly standard turbocharged engine that's more efficient than the Honda's base powertrain, which, in turn, is fully redesigned for model year 2016.
After a less-than-thrilling outgoing Civic generation, the redesigned 2016 Honda Civic is determined to be the class-leader it used to be. The new Civic is decidedly sporty, with sleek headlamps that bend around the pronounced front end. Powering the 2016 Civic is a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder capable of making 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, fuel efficiency comes in at 31 mpg average – that number jumps to an impressive 35 mpg average with the optional continuously variable transmission (which only Honda has managed to master). Other standard features include 16-inch wheels, automatic headlamps, LED running lights and taillights, full power accessories, cruise control, automatic climate control, a 5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, four speakers, a USB port and Pandora.
The roomy VW Jetta rivals the popular Civic in terms of passenger and cargo space – all while providing a super-efficient and responsive powertrain. With the model's tech updates this year, you'll also find the Jetta meets your connectivity needs. Under the Jetta's hood, you'll find a 1.4-liter turbocharged power mill with 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The Jetta's 1.8-liter turbo upgrade is among the fastest in the compact sedan class, with 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Standard 2016 Jetta features include: 15-inch wheels, A/C, full power accessories, heated side mirrors, cruise control, 60/40-split rear seats, Bluetooth, four speakers, a 5-inch touchscreen, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The S Technology package effortlessly adds a larger screen, a rearview camera, satellite radio and the latest from VW Car-Net smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
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