In the second edition the Style Smackdown series, and in weeks to come, I will be going through Car & Driver’s vehicle rankings by segment and rating them myself. Whereas Car and Driver rank the respective vehicles on criteria like interior ergonomics, cornering prowess, and ride quality, I will be ranking them based on one factor: STYLE. Yes, like the Scottish caber-tossing competitions, only the prettiest will make it to the top. The winners are determined using a top-secret algorithm developed by a sentient catfish, and the input of a knowledgeable panel of judges; myself, Joan Rivers, and Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. So with much ado about nothing, let the Style Smackdown begin!
We have triple the amount of candidates from last week; 3 to 9. All models must be a 2016 model year version, and where possible I’ve chosen the hatchback versions, because subcompact sedans are the most tragic looking segment today.
9: Nissan Versa: I really can’t describe all the ways the Nissan Versa doesn’t work. Its face is horrifically pinched in to such an extent that it looks like it’s in pain. And its gigantic headlights completely dwarf the front end. They’re bigger than the wheels! All subcompact sedans will be inevitably held back by the fact that they’re designed sort of an afterthought after their hatch counterparts. But the Versa doesn’t even have a hatch counterpart! And no the Versa Note doesn’t count; it has completely different interior and exterior design. Nissan can make good-looking cars; at least in my opinion. But it just seems they weren’t even trying with this one.
8: Toyota Yaris: The Yaris suffers from the usual Toyota/Lexus problem of being exciting yet boring. While the front and rear fascias resemble the scribblings of a blind man that were hit by an ax, the bodies are an exercise in slab-sidedness. The “subtle” X shape of the grille also suggests that Toyota’s and Lexus’s styling departments seem to be melding into one; like an evil Voltron of car design.
7: Honda Fit When it comes to these next two cars it’s really six of one half dozen of the other because they are so similar in their uninterestingness. The Note edged its way past the Fit on the “sportiness” factor. I’m really struggling to find things to say, positive or negative, about the 2016 Honda Fit. It has nice taillights I guess. I’m fond of a vertical taillight.
6: Versa Note: When you look at the fascias of the Fit and Note, they both have the exact same design elements. The horizontal headlights with the cut in grille, the three trapezoid grilles on the bottom, and the vertical taillights at the rear. But the Note pulls it off better.
5: Hyundai Accent: We have a red theme going here folks. I would describe the Accent as elegant, or restrained, or boring. Take your pick, sheeple!
4: Scion iA: If we had the Mazda 2 (which this car is based on) here in the States, it would take at least 2nd place. But we have to deal with this catfish-faced abomination, so it is what it is. Good job Mazda! Toyota is ruining your cars! I know it’s hard to ignore its face, but there is an attractive car to be found here, styled as well as a sedan this small can be.
3: Ford Fiesta Numbers 1 and 2 are pretty interchangeable for me because I like them both for different reasons. In its stock form, I like the Sonic better, but bump the Fiesta up to ST trim and it takes second place.
2: Chevy Sonic: The strength of the Sonic is in its details. I really like its double round headlights with their black surrounds; same with the taillights.
1: Kia Rio: That’s right! I put the Kia Rio first! That’s something no one’s ever said before. In SX trim pictured here, it gets attractive 17” alloy wheels and LED running lights. All this can be yours for only $20,905! Visit your local Kia dealer today.