Top-Rated 2012 Hatchbacks: Performance & Design
Each year, J.D. Power surveys tens of thousands of people who have purchased a new vehicle and who have owned it for at least 90 days, asking questions about their satisfaction with the vehicle's performance, comfort, exterior styling, interior layout, standard and optional features, and more. The resulting data is presented in the annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL).
Based on J.D. Power research, the hatchbacks listed below, in alphabetical order, are among the most appealing vehicles in their respective classes, according to the 2012 APEAL Study.
A subcompact car offering 5-door hatchback versatility, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is a new model that replaces the Aveo as the entry-level option in Chevy's lineup. It is sold in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels, with a choice between a turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder and a normally aspirated 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine.
Both engines produce 138 horsepower, but the turbocharged power plant generates more torque, delivers its motive force at lower rpm, and gets better gas mileage. Fuel-economy estimates range between 25 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, depending on engine selection and whether the buyer chooses the 6-speed manual gearbox or the 6-speed automatic transmission.
Chevrolet says the Sonic 5-door holds 19 cubic feet of cargo behind its rear seat and a maximum of 30.7 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seat folded. In terms of crashworthiness, the Sonic receives a highest-possible 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and was named a "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).