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Top-Rated Small Cars in the 2018 Initial Quality Study

Top-Rated Small Cars in the 2018 Initial Quality Study

By Christian Wardlaw, June 20, 2018
For more than 30 years, the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) has served as the automotive industry’s benchmark measurement of owner satisfaction with new-vehicle quality. The study measures owner-reported problem with vehicle defects and design during the first 90 days of ownership.

From the data collected by the study, J.D. Power creates Power Circle Ratings. These ratings summarize the overall results of the study in a visual format. Consumers can use these ratings to better inform their new-vehicle research and purchase journey.

This buyer’s guide contains the top-rated 2018 Small Cars for Initial Quality. Each model earned a Power Circle Rating of 4 or 5 out of a possible 5 for initial quality during the first 90 days of ownership.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet’s affordable long-range electric car is a 5-door hatchback that supplies an estimated 238 miles of driving on a single battery charge. Available in LT and Premier trim, the Bolt EV is priced from less than $30,000 after applying the federal income tax credit. The car debuted for the 2017 model year, and for 2018 Chevrolet added sliding sun visors and an available heated steering wheel.

The 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV receives an Initial Quality Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2018 Chevrolet Cruze

Available with a choice between a turbocharged gas and a turbocharged diesel engine, the 2018 Chevrolet Cruze is offered in 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan body styles and in a range of trim levels. Manual and automatic transmission are on the menu, too. For 2018, the turbo-diesel engine became available for the Cruze Hatchback.

The 2018 Chevrolet Cruze receives an Initial Quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2018 Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai’s compact Elantra lineup includes a 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan, in trim levels ranging from a base SE to a performance-tuned Sport variant. The Elantra GT, based on the European i30, is redesigned for 2018, while the carryover Elantra sedan gains a new SEL trim level. All Hyundais now come with free Blue Link services for the first three years of ownership.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra receives an Initial Quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2018 Kia Forte

Kia offers the compact Forte in both 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan configuration. Trim levels include LX, S (sedan only), EX, and SX (hatch only). After a freshening for 2017, the 2018 Forte lineup sees minor equipment and option package changes. A redesigned Forte sedan arrives for 2019.

The 2018 Kia Forte receives an Initial Quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2018 Kia Rio

Completely redesigned for 2018, the new Rio is a subcompact car available in 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan body styles. Highlights include LX, S, and EX trim, and every Rio has a 130-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. Kia says the Rio is one of the largest vehicles in its class, and the car is offered with a touchscreen infotainment system and automatic emergency braking.

The 2018 Kia Rio receives an Initial Quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and receives a quality award in the Small Car segment.

2018 Nissan Versa

Two Versa models are available. The Versa Note is a 5-door hatchback based on the Note (a global model), while the Versa sedan is, well, a 4-door sedan. Both come in S and SV trim. The Versa Note is also offered in a sporty SR trim level. For 2018, Nissan makes minor changes to the Versa lineup, most notably adding keyless entry with push-button engine starting to the top trims.

The 2018 Nissan Versa receives an Initial Quality Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2018 Toyota Corolla

Toyota offers the Corolla in 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan body styles. The hatchback is called the Corolla iM, and is based on a European model called the Auris. The Corolla sedan sits on a different platform and offers more rear seat room. This is the last year for the Corolla lineup in current format, as redesigned versions are coming for 2019.

The 2018 Toyota Corolla receives an Initial Quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and receives a quality award in the Compact Car segment.
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