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2016 Vehicle Dependability Study: Small Cars

2016 Vehicle Dependability Study: Small Cars

By Christian Wardlaw, February 26, 2016
Conducted annually, the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS) measures design- and defect-related problems that original owners experience with their cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans during the third year of ownership. The sample of original owners tells J.D. Power what has gone right and what has gone wrong with their vehicles. The company analyzes the collected data and publishes its conclusions in the VDS.

From this information, J.D. Power calculates Power Circle Ratings, an easily understood visual representation of a model’s performance relative to its competitors. These ratings are designed to help consumers make smart decisions about the vehicles they buy.

This buyer’s guide highlights the top-rated 2013 small cars that receive a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of a possible 5 for vehicle dependability after 3 years of ownership.


2013 Buick Verano
Buick positioned the Verano as a premium model, so this small sedan is typically quieter and more refined than other compact cars. In 2013, a powerful turbocharged engine became available, and Buick made a touch-screen infotainment system and a rear cross-traffic alert system standard equipment.

The 2013 Buick Verano receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and earns a dependability award in the Compact Car segment.


2013 Fiat 500
Designed and built in Italy, the Fiat 500 is a tiny city car supplying style at a low price. A turbocharged engine became available in 2013, installed in the 500 Turbo and helping to resolve sluggish acceleration. Fiat also began offering a new Beats Audio premium sound system and available premium leather seating for some versions of the 500.

The 2013 Fiat 500 receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and earns a dependability award in the City Car segment.


2013 Honda Fit
Blending space, utility, and value like few other small cars, the Honda Fit went electric in 2013. The new Fit EV model was sold in limited numbers and in a handful of states. Aside from a new paint color, no other changes were made to this 5-door hatchback in 2013.

The 2013 Honda Fit receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and earns a dependability award in the Small Car segment.


2013 Hyundai Accent
Offered as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, the Accent is an unexpectedly stylish, roomy, and practical car. It is powerful for its size, too, thanks to a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. Hyundai made only minor changes to the Accent for the 2013 model year.

The 2013 Hyundai Accent receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.


2013 Kia Soul
In its final year before a complete redesign, the expressive Soul added standard Bluetooth connectivity and a few new paint color choices. The more powerful of two available engines produced 164 horsepower, plenty to give the diminutive Soul dynamic zest.

The 2013 Kia Soul receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.


2013 Mini Cooper
Infused with personality, the 2013 Mini Cooper lineup included a 3-door hardtop, 2-door convertible, and a rather unconventional Clubman model that added a smidgeon of extra interior space. Bluetooth connectivity became standard in 2013, and Mini made minor changes to option packages.

The 2013 Mini Cooper receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and earns a dependability award in the Compact Sporty Car segment.


2013 Nissan Versa
One year after a complete redesign, the Versa sedan received added standard equipment, and the basic versions of the car came with a choice between an optional automatic and a more fuel-efficient optional continuously variable transmission. Versas are quite roomy inside, but safety ratings fail to impress.

The 2013 Nissan Versa receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.


2013 Toyota Corolla
In its final year before a complete redesign, the Corolla gained additional chrome trim and a standard touch-screen audio system for the LE and S trim levels. A limited-production special-edition version of the Corolla added extra pizzazz right before production switched to the redesigned 2014 model.

The 2013 Toyota Corolla receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.


2013 Volkswagen GTI
Long considered the standard bearer among small, affordable, and entertaining automobiles, the Volkswagen GTI is a sport-tuned version of the Volkswagen Golf.
Aside from a new wheel design, no changes were made to the car for the 2013 model year.

The 2013 Volkswagen GTI receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

Additional Research:

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