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Welcome to Day 2 of Automobile Magazine’s 2014 Compact Sedan Comparison Review, our test of the affordable, multipurpose small sedans that are ubiquitous on American roads.

As we noted in our Day 1 introduction, we gathered eight four-door compact sedans and drove all of them at the same time on the same roads. We made our notes and organized our facts. And then we argued about the results.

The way we see it, these are the best compact sedans in America right now. We tried to ensure that our test vehicles represent a useful level of features -- nicely equipped, as they say -- yet don’t cost too much.

Given the practical realities of acquiring so many test vehicles at the same time, they aren’t all priced exactly the same, but we did our best.

The assembled group includes: the Chevrolet Cruze, Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Jetta. To make our comparisons as direct as possible, we organized a scheme where we matched the vehicles in brackets, like you would see in an athletic tournament (think March Madness). The losers will be knocked out one by one until the winner presents itself.

Today, on Day 2, we present an accounting of four vehicles, and two contenders will be eliminated.

Tomorrow, on Day 3, we do the same, matching four vehicles and reducing the field to two. On Day 4, we’ll present excerpts from the test notebooks on our final four contestants and will select our two finalists. On Friday, Day 5, the two finalists will go head to head and we will declare the winner.

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