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What is the Best Looking of the 2012 Compact Sedans?

August 19th, 2011

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  This expression is true both for human and automotive beauty.  Nevertheless, a general consensus about beauty emerges in both categories.  Most would say Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are good looking.  So, which compact sedans are the consensus winners for the best looking?

To answer, we assembled over 100 owners of compact sedans to carefully evaluate 11 of the best selling compact sedans in America.  We had them rate each on 8 exterior appearance attributes, including overall exterior appearance.  Here are what they found to be the best looking compact sedans.

The 4th runner up:  The all new 2012 Honda Civic.  Civic rates above average for its overall size, proportions and the flow of its design.  Segment owners see its aerodynamic looking side view as its strongest.  Civic’s somewhat plain rear view is seen as it’s weakest.

The 3th runner up:  The Mazda 3 Sedan.  The Mazda 3 rates above average for exterior looks on the strength of its sporty, downward sloping side view profile and body side feature lines.  The front view is controversial, with some disliking the large black front grille opening and fog lamp pockets.

The 2rd runner up:  The new for 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.  Cruze ties with the 2nd place Jetta for overall good looks on the strength of its front and side view styling.  It is seen as classy, well-proportioned, and substantial looking.  Cruze’s rear view styling falls just below Jetta’s, rating average for its more conventional look.

The 1st runner up:  The new for 2011 Volkswagen Jetta.  Jetta takes second place on the strength of its front view, with its appealing angular lines and head lamp shapes tying for the top front view rating.  Jetta’s side and rear view also rate above average, with segment owners citing its sporty profile and attractive details.

The winner:  The new for 2011 Hyundai Elantra.  Taking the top rating for 7 of 8 detailed exterior ratings, Elantra is seen as the best looking compact sedan by a wide margin.  Earning top ratings for front, side and rear views, Elantra’s design is seen as fresh, expressive, and well integrated.  You can see more details on what consumers like and dislike about Elantra and each of these cars by selecting the compact sedan segment and clicking on the models.  We would love to hear your opinions, whether you agree or disagree with these ratings.

Ah, but for both cars and people, exterior beauty, while alluring, is nothing without the inner beauty to sustain a long term relationship.  So, which compact sedans are most beautiful on the inside?  Later this week, we report on what segment owners found are the best looking compact sedan interiors.  But, you don’t have to wait.  See for yourself by selecting the compact sedan segment and then scrolling down to select the interior appearance attribute.  You’ll get the top 3 compact sedans in order of interior appearance.