What does it take besides being small to qualify for Autobytel's 2012 Compact Car of the Year? Looking at the top three finalists, it takes innovation and attention to details, surpassing the long-gone days of the cheap, economically-driven compact cars; bringing refinement, design and technology to the more discerning tastes of today's economically conscious driver.
A few years ago, when fuel prices were spiking at all-time highs, used compact cars were being sought and selling at three and four times their normal market prices but none of those cars would have qualified by any means as a Compact Car of the Year since most were bare bones basic, puttered about with an under-powered 4-cylinders and offered very little in comfort or technology. With the average age of the compact buyer reaching into the 40-somethings, expectations have risen.
All three finalists for the Autobytel 2012 Compact Car of the Year were chosen for their fuel-sipping loyalty to the compact class but contribute to making this one of the hottest categories in the new car market with innovations in design, technology and performance driven fuel efficiencies. By raising the bar to meet the new compact buyer's needs, they have created a change to the compact class that indicates there is no looking back to the econo-boxes of the past.
Autobytel is pleased to announce the following three compacts as the editorial staff's picks in the Autobytel 2012 Compact Car of the Year category.