Top-Rated 2016 Small Cars in Quality

Christian Wardlaw | Jun 22, 2016

Over the course of the past three decades, the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) has established itself as the benchmark study of owner satisfaction with new-vehicle quality. The study measures owner-reported problems with vehicle design and defects during the first 90 days of ownership, and the 2016 U.S. IQS is based on more than 80,000 responses from new-vehicle owners.

From this research, J.D. Power calculates Power Circle Ratings (PCRs). Designed to visually reflect and summarize the IQS findings, the ratings help consumers make better choices when they shop for a new vehicle.

This buyer’s guide contains the top-rated 2016 small cars in initial quality. Each model earns a Power Circle Rating of 5 out of a possible 5 for initial quality during the first 90 days of ownership.

2016 Buick Verano Turbo photo

2016 Buick Verano

An upscale small car, the Buick Verano is available with an optional 260-horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes the car downright fast. A Sport Touring version debuts for 2016, but it will be short-lived, as Buick has announced it will phase out the Verano after a short run for the 2017 model year.

The 2016 Buick Verano receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2016 Chevrolet Spark photo

2016 Chevrolet Spark

For 2016, Chevrolet redesigns the gasoline-engine Spark models while carrying over the all-electric Spark EV, perhaps reflecting Chevy’s move to transform its smallest model into a more refined and sophisticated solution to basic transportation.

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark (gas and electric versions combined) receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and is the award recipient in the City Car segment.

2016 Hyundai Accent photo

2016 Hyundai Accent

Hyundai’s least expensive model, the Accent is available in both 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan body styles. For both, the base trim level is now known as the SE. Updated voice-recognition and infotainment systems are also new for 2016, and a power sunroof is no longer an option.

The 2016 Hyundai Accent receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and is the award recipient in the Small Car segment.

2016 Hyundai Elantra Sedan photo

2016 Hyundai Elantra

In its final year before a complete redesign, the Elantra Sedan sees minor price and equipment changes. The Elantra GT, a 5-door hatchback that is not redesigned for 2017, receives a subtle styling update combined with new infotainment technology. Taken together, these two different models represent high quality in small cars.

The 2016 Hyundai Elantra (Sedan and GT combined) receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2016 Kia Forte Sedan photo

2016 Kia Forte

Available as a 2-door coupe (Forte Koup), 4-door sedan, or a 5-door hatchback, the Kia Forte is a stylish small car with a variety of drivetrain and equipment choices. For 2016, Kia adds standard equipment, repackages certain options, and introduces a new, lower-priced LX trim level for the Forte5 hatchback version.

The 2016 Kia Forte (all body styles combined) receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2016 Kia Rio SX photo

2016 Kia Rio

Available as a 4-door sedan with a remarkably roomy trunk and as a practical 5-door hatchback, the Kia Rio blends style, value, and quality like few other entry-level cars. This year, subtle styling changes, interior refinements, and new infotainment technologies headline the changes.

The 2016 Kia Rio receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5.

2016 Kia Soul photo

2016 Kia Soul

A 5-passenger, 5-door multi-purpose vehicle that is an all-wheel-drive system short of qualifying as a compact crossover SUV, the Kia Soul is larger and more sophisticated than many people might guess. Offered with a choice between gasoline engines or an electric drivetrain, the 2016 Soul gains new collision-avoidance technologies while Kia shuffles standard and optional equipment lists.

The 2016 Kia Soul receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and is the award recipient in the Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle segment.

2016 Toyota Corolla L photo

2016 Toyota Corolla

To many people, the Toyota Corolla epitomizes what a small, high-quality car should be. For 2016, J.D. Power data demonstrates that this reputation is deserved. Toyota made no changes to the Corolla this year, aside from introducing a sporty new Special Edition version.

The 2016 Toyota Corolla receives an initial quality Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5 and is the award recipient in the Compact Car segment.

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