NADAguides Highlights Top Ten Most Versatile New Cars Under $20,000

High Gas Prices Lead Budget-Conscious Car Shoppers to Search for Fuel Efficient Models with Added Versatility

May 02, 2012, 08:00 ET from NADAguides

COSTA MESA, Calif., May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- News Highlights

  • With gas prices rising, NADAguides, the leading provider of vehicle pricing and information, has identified the top ten most versatile vehicles under $20,000 that take value and feature sets into account.  New car shoppers in the market for fuel-efficient models that provide more than just the basic equipment will find a diverse list of vehicles that are feature rich and offer versatility for real life needs while staying within economical-minded budgets. 
  • NADAguides analysts have highlighted the following specific vehicle trim levels:  the Kia Rio SX Five Door, Kia Forte SX, Jeep Patriot 4WD Sport, Subaru Impreza Wagon 2.0i Premium, Ford Fiesta SEL, Ford Focus SE, Nissan Versa Hatchback 1.8 SL, Elantra Touring SE, Kia Soul Auto + and the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ 1LZ.
  • While fuel costs are dictating consumer car shopping habits in today's market, the usual suspects in the subcompact category are not the only option among the 2012 lineup providing desirable fuel economy and modern functionality typically only found in higher end vehicles.  After thorough analysis, NADAguides found that manufacturers have vehicles in varying categories that offer consumers the fuel efficiency they desire, combined with advanced technology features and versatility.
  • NADAguides recognizes that car shopping can be overwhelming and in an effort to help consumers narrow their search on what matters most when purchasing a budget-friendly vehicle, they have designed the Lifestyle Vehicle Selector research tool. The simple-to-use NADAguides Lifestyle Vehicle Selector offers consumers the ability to search for new and used cars based on a single criteria or combination of criteria that are important to them including price ranges, fuel economy needs, seating capacities, desired drive-train and more.


NADAguides Most Versatile 2012 New Cars Under $20k*
*Complete vehicle specifications and information for each model listed can be found at

2012 Kia Rio SX Five Door
The eco-friendly Kia Rio SX five-door offers class-leading 138 horsepower and fuel economy of 40 MPG highway in the subcompact segment.  Value-packed, the 2012 Rio is the first non-hybrid or non-luxury vehicle to offer Idle Stop and Go (ISG) technology, which helps to reduce fuel consumption by turning the engine off when the vehicle is not in motion – such as at a stop light or in stop and go traffic – and automatically restarts when the driver releases the brake pedal.  With a starting MSRP of $17,700, the Rio five-door comes standard with all the comfort and convenience features that car shoppers require today including cruise control, keyless entry, heated seats, power locks and windows, universal garage door opener, power outlet, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with USB auxiliary ports, SiriusXM satellite radio and more.

2012 Kia Forte SX
The Kia Forte SX compact sedan offer an impressive combination of smart styling, value, technology, safety features and comfort to the segment.  With the more fully equipped SX trim, consumers benefit from a more powerful 2.4 liter, four-cylinder engine that yields 173 horsepower, while still enjoying excellent fuel economy of up to 32 MPG highway.  The Forte SX offers a long list of standard convenience features including cruise control, keyless entry, power locks, SiriusXM Satellite Radio capabilities, MP3 connectivity, Bluetooth and steering wheel mounted audio controls.  The Forte SX compact has an MSRP of $19,100

2012 Jeep Patriot 4WD Sport
The 2012 Jeep Patriot is one of the best values in the compact sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment, and is a versatile option for those looking for 4 x 4 capability and excellent fuel economy, with a starting price of $17,745. For 2012, the Patriot Sport offers a wide variety of clever features including a Uconnect® media center with iPod interface, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link, power sunroof, a premium audio system, illuminated cup holders, fold-flat rear seats and more.   The Patriot Sport features more than 30 safety and security features including standard electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, Hill-start assist and side-curtain airbags that cover all rows.  Packed with a long list of standard features, from keyless entry to Bluetooth connectivity, the Patriot Sport is an excellent choice for those needing 4x4 capability without compromising comfort and convenience.

2012 Subaru Impreza Wagon 2.0i Premium
All new for 2012, the Subaru Impreza Wagon is a compact five-door manual hatchback powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque with a starting price of $19,295.  Versatile  by nature because of its five-door design, the Impreza Wagon 2.0i Premium also comes standard with Symmetrical all-wheel drive and for 2012, has improved its fuel economy by more than 30 percent with an EPA estimated 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.  With more interior room than the previous generation, the Impreza is also loaded with convenience features such as a 6-speaker audio system, hands-free phone capabilities, navigation, steering wheel controls, satellite radio, and heated front seats, making it as comfortable as it is versatile.  Safety, as always, is a priority and standard features include a traction control system, tire pressure monitoring system, advanced front airbag system, side-curtain airbags and a safety brake pedal system.

2012 Ford Fiesta SEL
The 2012 Ford Fiesta SEL shows its versatility by offering technology, convenience and connectivity features that are typically found on much larger cars all with a MSRP of $16,600. With an EPA estimated 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, Fiesta is a fun-to-drive small car that is big on safety, with a class-exclusive driver's side knee airbag, smart restraints and high-strength steel in its rigid structure.  Completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, Fiesta adds several new interior style and sport appearance packages to complement its distinctive, sporty design.  With class-exclusive technologies, the Fiesta was the first to market features such as hands-free SYNC® with voice-controlled Travel, Directions and Information and Pandora internet radio app.  Convenience features for the 2012 Ford Fiesta SEL Four Door include power outlets, keyless entry, push-button start and heated front seats.

2012 Ford Focus SE
Completely redesigned for 2012, the subcompact Ford Focus SE sedan is built to high European quality with a starting MSRP of $17,500.  High-tech features include Active Parking Assist, Ford SYNC, ambient lighting and a rear-view camera.  The Focus is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine using direct injection and variable camshaft technology to deliver up to 36 mpg highway while producing 160 horsepower. Convenience and safety features found in the 2012 Ford Focus SE include Ford's AdvanceTrac stability control, front and side airbags, keyless entry, cruise control, power outlets and heated front seats, making this a smart choice for shoppers in this segment.

2012 Nissan Versa Five Door Hatchback CVT 1.8 SL
The 2012 Nissan Versa Five Door Hatchback CVT 1.8 SL is offered exclusively with Nissan's advanced Xtronic CVT® transmission and shows its versatility by featuring one of the highest standard horsepower/torque ratings (122 hp/127 torque) and one of the largest interiors in the entry-level segment. With an MSRP of $18,490, the Versa Five Door Hatchback CVT 1.8 SL offers excellent fuel economy with an estimated 28 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.  Versa combines five-passenger practicality with a high degree of comfort and refinement, providing consumers with keyless entry and start, a power liftgate and steering wheel-audio controls among other features.  It also offers an unexpected level of available entertainment and connectivity features, such as Bluetooth, navigation system with 5-inch touch-screen display, Satellite Radio and an iPod/USB interface. 

2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring SE
The 2012 Hyundai Elantra Touring SE is the veritable poster child for versatility and value in the compact segment.  With a starting MSRP of $19,495,the Elantra Touring is loaded with a host of standard features including EZ Lane Change Assist, power windows and door locks, heated front seats and remote keyless entry with alarm giving shoppers the versatility they need with the standard features they demand.  Other standard equipment includes Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and for the audiophile, an integrated 172-watt AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 audio system, creating a value package for those looking for a more distinctive option in the compact segment.

2012 Kia Soul Auto +
With a starting MSRP of $17,300, the 2012 Kia Soul Auto + radiates versatility as the segment-leading compact crossover vehicle.  The five-door vehicle delivers class-leading horsepower and significantly improved fuel efficiency of up to 34 mpg on the highway.  Handy features sure to stand out include a dual 12V power outlet, back-up camera, cruise control and rear wiper/washer. With the addition of a significant number of technological, powertrain and style enhancements for 2012 such as UVO Powered by Microsoft Infotainment System, Infinity Audio System, Bluetooth Wireless Technology, Hill Start Assist Control, Electronic Stability Control, sport-tuned suspension, push-button start and much more, the Kia Soul is the full package sure to provide all that shoppers need and more. 

2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT 1LZ
The all-new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT 1LZ is a versatile small car with a large number of amenities with a starting MSRP of $16,665. The 5-speed manual trim comes with heated front seats, keyless entry, steering wheel-audio controls and cruise control - just a few of the many features that shoppers can find in the car. The Sonic provides excellent fuel economy with an estimated 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.  Designed to be one of the safest vehicles in the segment, the Sonic comes standard with a number of safety features including 10 standard air bags, as well as GM's OnStar system. 

Key Quotes
Troy Snyder, Director of Product Development at NADAguides: "Rising energy prices and economic concerns have instilled a greater sense of frugality in today's car shopper.  However, young professionals, families, and empty nesters alike still need transportation that will support a wide variety of lifestyle activities and something beyond just going from point A to B in the most inexpensive manner possible.  What has been compiled by NADAguides is our recommendation for those budget-minded car shoppers that want a little of everything from features and fuel efficiency to versatility and value."

About the NADAguides Most Versatile Cars List
The NADAguides Most Versatile Cars List was established to provide consumers with new cars currently on the market that offer tremendous fuel efficiency, features and versatility at a great value (under $20,000 including destination).  Selected vehicles either met or outperformed their respective segment in the areas of fuel efficiency, warranty, and depreciation.  Selected cars were rated on versatility criteria included such things as passenger capacity, legroom and all wheel drive capabilities. The initial selection was then filtered down based on the vehicle's standard and optional equipment offerings contributing to versatility and creature comfort, as well as unique features the vehicle offers. 

About NADAguides ( is the largest publisher of the most market-reflective vehicle pricing and information available for automotive, classic cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, and manufactured homes. offers in-depth shopping and research tools including a broad range of data, products and services, informational articles, as well as tips and advice. also produces software, mobile applications, raw data, web services, web-syndicated products and print guidebooks. is an alliance partner of NADA Services Corporation.

NADAguides on Twitter
NADAguides on Facebook
NADAguides on YouTube