Top-Rated 2013 Hatchbacks:Initial Quality

Jeff Youngs | Jun 22, 2013
To measure what has gone right and what has gone wrong with new vehicles, J.D. Power conducts the annual Initial Quality Study (IQS). Over the study's more than 25 years of existence, the IQS has become the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality. Tens of thousands of people who have owned their new vehicles for at least 90 days tell the market research firm about vehicle systems that are difficult to understand and hard to use, as well as about vehicle systems that have malfunctioned or broken down. Based on the results of the 2013 IQS, the following models, listed in alphabetical order, are the top-rated hatchbacks for 2013.

2013 Chevrolet Spark

In its inaugural year on the market, the 2013 Chevy Spark is among the top-rated hatchbacks in the 2013 IQS. The 4-passenger, 5-door Spark is offered in LS and LT trim levels, the latter equipped with standard Chevrolet MyLink technology with a color touch-screen radio, Bluetooth with streaming audio capability, voice-recognition technology, and Internet radio access. The car's 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine makes 83 horsepower, and the EPA says it will get as many as 34 mpg in combined driving.

2013 Honda Fit

The 2013 Fit is a 5-door sub-compact hatchback equipped with something Honda calls a "Magic Seat." The rear seat folds flat to expand cargo room, or the bottom cushion flips up to make room for tall objects loaded through the rear doors. For 2013, standard and Sport trim levels carry over, and a new Fit EV model joins the lineup, equipped with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery that provides 82 miles of driving range.

2013 Honda Insight

A 4-passenger, 5-door, aerodynamically shaped, gas-electric hybrid car, the 2013 Insight is one of the top-rated hatchbacks in overall initial quality. No changes are made to the 2013 Insight, which is offered in base, LX, and EX trim levels. Considered to be a "mild hybrid," the car's electric assist motor is unable to power the Insight purely on electricity. Combined, the powertrain makes 98 horsepower, and the EPA says the Insight returns 42 mpg in combined driving.

2013 Hyundai Accent

Redesigned for the 2012 model year, the Accent rolls into 2013 with more standard equipment and a new power sunroof option. The 5-door hatchback version is sold in GS and SE trim levels, each equipped with a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that gets up to 32 mpg in combined driving.

2013 Kia Forte

In advance of a complete redesign for the 2014 model year, the 2013 Kia Forte 5-door is among the top-rated hatchbacks in the 2013 IQS. Few changes are made to this car for 2013. The base 156-horsepower EX model adds LED running lights, power-folding side mirrors, and redesigned wheels this year, while the more powerful 173-horsepower SX model continues unchanged.

2013 Kia Rio

The Kia Rio is a sub-compact 5-door hatchback offered in LX, EX, and SX trim levels. A 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard equipment, and Kia offers automatic start/stop technology for this engine that is designed to help eke out an extra mile for each gallon of fuel while driving in the city. This year, the 2013 Rio EX gets a cargo tray and cargo net as standard equipment, while the Rio SX adds paddle shifters for the automatic transmission.

2013 Kia Soul

In the 2013 Initial Quality Study, the 2013 Soul receives an award in the Compact MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) segment. This is the final year for the Soul in advance of a complete redesign for the 2014 model year. As such, changes are limited to the addition of Bluetooth to the standard equipment list and a greater range of colors.

2013 Mazda 2

Like the Kia Soul, the 2013 Mazda 2 also receives a 2013 IQS award, in the Sub-Compact Car segment. Mazda has made no changes to the 2013 Mazda 2, which is offered in Sport and Touring trim levels. A 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine generates 100 horsepower and returns up to 32 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA.

2013 Toyota Yaris

Rare for this segment, the 2013 Yaris is sold in both 3-door and 5-door hatchback format. The Yaris is offered in L, LE, or SE trim levels. For 2013, Bluetooth with music streaming capability, satellite radio, and HD Radio are standard, and Yaris LE models add cruise control. A 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine returns up to 33 mpg in combined driving, and all Yaris buyers enjoy free scheduled maintenance for the first 2 years or 25,000 miles of ownership.

2013 Volkswagen GTI

The 2013 GTI is a performance-tuned version of the Volkswagen Golf, equipped with big wheels and tires, a sport suspension, and a turbocharged, 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Aside from a new wheel design and a couple of special-edition models, the 2013 GTI is unchanged in advance of a complete redesign arriving early in 2014 and a 2015 model-year vehicle. The GTI is equipped with a free maintenance program for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles of ownership.

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