These two economy cars are not the fanciest offered, but they have one big advantage, and that is the outstanding reliability record. Bottom line, these seem to run forever without major repair bills, and that makes them a good choice.
First up is the Honda Fit. The only engine offered is a 1.5 liter at 130 horsepower. Those shopping for best fuel mileage should get the CVT automatic transmission. It is rated at 32/38 mpg, and revs to only 2,500 rpm on the freeway. This is the gearbox the test car had, and got 32 in heavy city traffic. For best acceleration, the 6-speed manual should be ordered. It drops mileage to 29/37 mpg, and on the freeway at 75 mph, the engine revs a high 4,000 rpm. Such a combination is not good for long trips. But with a stiff ride, and plenty of road noise this isn’t for long trips anyway. This is a city car, and a good one for that purpose. Starting price is $16,000.
Next was the Toyota Yaris. The engine is a 1.5 liter also, but only puts out 106 horsepower. For best performance, get the 5-speed manual transmission.
If not, the only offering is an outdated (but reliable) 4-speed automatic like this one had. Gas mileage is listed at 30/36 mpg. This gearbox worked fine in city driving, but on the freeway the lack of a fifth gear is very annoying. Like the Honda, this is not for long trips. In the real world, don’t expect more than 33 mpg.
The cabin is nothing fancy, but all controls are very simple, thus easy to use.
It is also worth mentioning the reliability record of the Yaris is one of the better in the industry. So the starting price of $15,000 is worth it.