Worst Small Cars

To make our worst small cars for 2011 list, a model needed to be: (1) a subcompact or compact, (2) offer an optional 4-speed automatic transmission, and (3) not make the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Picks”, which includes the 2011 safest small cars. If a model does not fit into all three of these categories, they could not be included in our list.

The good news is that quality has gotten improved considerably in recent years in the compact and subcompact class. New generation models such as the 2011 Hyundai Elantra and 2012 Ford Focus have helped raised the bar in the compact class and offer optional six-speed automatic transmissions. Models such as the 2011 Honda Fit and 2011 Ford Fiesta have really improved the quality of the subcompact class.

2011 Chevrolet Aveo
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB
2011 Chevrolet Aveo
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB

Our picks for the top three worst small cars of 2011 are:

1. Chevy Aveo/Aveo5 – The Aveo is made by Korean automaker Daewoo. Fortunately, the Aveo will die in 2011 to be replaced by Chevy’s all-new subcompact model, the Sonic.

2. Kia Rio – On the bright side, despite having a four-speed automatic, the Rio LX gets a respectable 27-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. However, the model does not even offer traction control and electronic stability control. This will change in 2012.

The Rio and Rio5 are being totally redesigned for the new model year and will be a much higher quality vehicle. The model is said to offer stop-start technology and a six- speed manual or automatic transmission that will help boost fuel economy to 30-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.

3. Hyundai Accent – The Accent was a blight on Hyundai’s otherwise quality lineup in 2011. That will change for 2012 as the Accent will be all-new offering many of the features seen in its sister vehicle, the Kia Rio.

The only real appeal in buying these cars is their price. These cars are among the cheapest 2011 cars with each having starting prices under $12,500.

With all the changes coming to the above model in 2012, small car buyers have much to look forward to. It will become increasingly difficult to come up with a worst small cars list. Furthermore, 2012 federal law requires all cars sold in the U.S. (weighing less than 10,000) pounds to have standard electronic stability control, which is a great safety feature.

Models such as the 2012 Mazda Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris should also be significantly improved from 2011. In other small car news, Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed that a new compact hatchback will replace the Dodge Caliber hatchback by the 2013 model year. The new model will make its debut at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

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Originally posted 2011-06-17 17:09:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2012 Mini Coupe

Mini Cooper sales are still strong as the model enters its 11th model year since its re-launch in 2002. The Mini brand, which is owned by BMW, has since expanded beyond the Cooper, the turbo-charged Cooper S, the John Cooper Works, and the Cooper convertible, to new models such as the larger Cooper Clubman and the new Mini SUV in 2011, the Countryman.

Mini is adding the two-seat 2012 Mini Coupe to its lineup for the new model year. The model is based off the Cooper, which is a four-seat hatchback model, with a similar front end and the same engines but sits an inch lower, has a rear spoiler, and a more sporty appearance.

Fuel efficiency is expected to be better a couple mpg better in the Coupe than the more traditional Cooper. The Coupe base gets EPA estimated fuel economy of 30-mpg city and 39-mpg highway with the six–speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is also offered. Expect a Mini Coupe 0-60 time of about 8 seconds in base form.

The 2012 Mini Coupe has a starting MSRP of $22,000, about $2,000 more than the Cooper. With its lighter weight and lower profile, expect the Coupe to have superior handling than even the Cooper’s famously go-kart like agility.

Mini recently celebrated the production of the 2,000,000th modern Cooper. British Prime Minister David Cameron drove the model off the assembly line floor and Mini plans to hold a contest to give away the car. The model is a convertible and has a special Two Million Mini paint job and a special interior only found in this car.

The 2012 Mini Cooper is largely a carryover from the 2011 model. It offers the same 1.6-liter 121 horsepower four-cylinder base engine, the 1.6-liter 181 horsepower Cooper S, and the 1.6-liter 208 horsepower John Cooper Works trims. A convertible model is available in all trim lines.

The 2012 Cooper does offer new option packages and customization options for the interior surface, upholstery, and exterior colors. It also has an optional rear view mirror with digital compass. Mini enthusiasts can even add an 8-gear collapsible bike that fits into the back of the hatchback.

The Mini is not one of the cheapest new cars but it has helped reshape the public’s perception of small hatchbacks making them fun, luxurious, and sporty. The brand’s sales success has helped lead to the explosive growth in the small car market, moving it beyond just basic, cheap transportation.

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Originally posted 2011-09-02 23:28:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2011 Kia Soul

Subcompact hatchback cars are becoming increasingly common. They offer roomy interiors in a small, fuel-efficient package, often representing a good value. The 2011 Kia Soul is a five-door subcompact hatchback that is worth considering if you are purchasing a car in this class.

The Kia Soul is offered in four trim lines: Base, Plus (+), Exclaim (!) and Sport. The Soul Base is the only trim to offer the less powerful 1.6-liter 120 horsepower four-cylinder engine. The other Soul trims have 2.0-liter engine producing 142 horsepower. Standard safety in all Souls includes electronic brake assistance, ABS brakes, traction control, and a vehicle stability control system. The Soul earned a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Soul Base is only offered with a five-speed manual transmission, which returns fuel economy of 26-mpg city and 31-mpg highway. It has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $13,300. At this price, the Soul is one of the top ten cheapest 2011 cars.

Standard features in the Soul Base include air conditioning, tachometer, tilt steering, tilt steering column, tire inflation/pressure monitor, trip computer, and CD player. To add more features, buyers will need to move up in trim lines. The Soul Base weights 2,560 pounds.

The Soul +, !, and Sport trims offer an optional four-speed automatic transmission, along with a variety of other features. Starting MSRPs for these trim lines are $15,495, $18,495, and $18,495, respectively. Fuel economy is 24-mpg city and 30-mpg highway with the automatic, which is below average for its class. For example, the new 2011 Ford Fiesta, which has a 1.6-liter 119 horsepower f-our-cylinder engine, offers an optional six-speed automatic transmission that helps it get mileage of 30-mpg city and 38-mpg highway.

The Soul seats five passengers, although it will be pretty tight for three adults in the rear seats. It does offer a spacious 39” of rear legroom, which is excellent for its class. Front legroom is 42.1”. Total interior cargo room for the Soul with the rear seats folded flat is 53.4 cubic feet and 19.3 cubic feet with the rear seats up.

In short, the Soul’s positives are that it offers a spacious passenger area, useful and well-designed interior and bold exterior color choice. Its negatives are its below average fuel economy for its class, weak acceleration, and outdated four-speed automatic transmission, which is not even offered on the base trim.

The 2011 Kia Soul has been marketed to younger buyers that offers the practically to suit drivers of all ages. It offers a sporty, more desirable look than boxier, more spacious competitors, the Scion xB and Nissan Cube. The Soul is unchanged in 2011, having made its debut in 2010. It is assembled in South Korea. Competitors to the Soul include the Honda Fit, Dodge Caliber, and Nissan Versa hatchback.

Originally posted 2011-03-27 09:27:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2012 Hyundai Accent

The 2012 Hyundai Accent is an all-new generation of the model from the Korean automaker that is already on sale. Hyundai has made significant improvement for its subcompact for the 2012 model year. However, with improvements come a higher price. No longer is the Accent just a low cost play, it is now a value play.

Where as in 2011, the Accent had a starting MSRP of $9,985, making it the cheapest 2011 new car, the 2012 Accent starts at $12,445 for the GLS 4-door sedan. Two other trims are offered GS and SE, with both being 5-door hatchbacks. The top end SE has a starting MSRP of $15,795. It comes standard with power door locks, power windows, CD player, and air conditioning. The Accent is no longer offered as a 3-door hatchback.

2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB
2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB

With respect to exterior styling, the 2012 Accent adopts the company’s “fluidic sculpture” design theme. The Accent’s aerodynamic, distinctive styling now more closely resembles its corporate siblings: the Elantra and Sonata. On the inside, the Accept now offers best-in-class front and rear shoulder room and in hatchback from, it has best-in-class cargo volume, even larger than the Infiniti EX35.

Where the Accent has really stepped up is in its engine and transmissions. The 2012 model now offers the most powerful standard engine in the subcompact class. The engine is a 1.8-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower.

The 2012 Accent’s engine has 28 more horsepower than the 2011 model, making it 25% more powerful. In a horsepower comparison, its key competitors such as the Ford Fiesta (119 horsepower) and Honda Fit (117 horsepower) offer significantly less. Expect the Accent to have a 0-60 time under nine seconds, making it among the fastest in its class.

The Accent comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission with a six-speed automatic option on all trim lines. This efficient combination gives the Accent EPA rated fuel economy of 30-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.

2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB
2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB

The Accent now offers great standard safety features such as ABS, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), and driver, passenger, and side airbags. The 2011 model did not even offer traction control or ESC. Due to its importance in preventing accidents, U.S. law requires all news cars to have standard ESC for 2012.

Similar to the Accent, the Kia Rio (Hyundai owns Kia), Kia Rio5, and Kia Soul see many improvements for 2012. To learn more about the 2012 Accent and see more pictures, check out Hyundia’s official website.

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Originally posted 2011-06-19 05:40:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2011 Subcompact Cars

With rising gas prices and ever-stretched budgets, people are increasingly looking for affordable transportation options. As a result, there are an increasing number of subcompact car models in the marketplace. This automotive segment, which offers the cheapest new cars, has heated up in the past few years and become more competitive with better quality products.

There are more than a dozen models of 2011 subcompact cars to choose from. 2011 subcompact sedans include the: Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa, Suzuki SX4 Sport, and Toyota Yaris. 2011 subcompact hatchback models include the: Chevrolet Aveo5, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Ascent, Kia Rio5, Kia Soul, Mazda Mazda2, Mini Cooper, Nissan Versa, Scion xD, Suzuki SX4 Crossover, and Toyota Yaris. The Aveo is actually built by South Korean manufacturer Daewoo, for Chevy. Another subcompact model for 2011 is the Honda CR-Z, but it is actually a coupe.

As you can see, hatchbacks are predominant in the subcompact class. They offer more cargo room than their subcompact sedan counterparts with comparable fuel economy. The Smart fortwo, a tiny subcompact hatchback, is not being offered as a 2011 model but 2010 models are still being sold in the U.S. As of March 2011, one 2012 model is already for sale, the Fiat 500, which is a new U.S. model for the Italian auto manufacturer.

There are three all-new subcompact models for 2011, the Ford Fiesta, Mazda Mazda2, and Honda CR-Z. The Fiesta has an optional, efficient new 6-speed automatic transmission. Nearly all of the 2011 subcompact cars offer fuel economy of between 35 and 40 miles per gall highway and can be purchased for less than $15,000.

While most of these models are geared more towards fuel economy and affordability, there are several models that target different niches. The Suzuki SX4 Crossover is the most affordable all-wheel drive model sold in America. It is also offered in front-wheel drive from for $1,000 less. The CR-Z is a model of several firsts. It is the first hybrid to have a starting retail price under $20,000 and have a six-speed manual transmission. The CR-V is a sporty coupe for two passengers.

There are an increasing number of different types of cars coming to the market, making the subcompact class more difficult to define. For example, the Nissan Cube is a small, boxy style car that is called a mini multi-purpose vehicle. These types of vehicles are popular in Japan and more are coming to the U.S. market. Some in the automotive industry consider B-segment cars to be subcompact, reserving the A-segment for even smaller or mini cars.

To learn more about 2011 subcompact cars and get industry news, continue reading our blog. We provide regular updates on new subcompact car models and comparisons. We also cover compact cars. Several compact car models are close in price to subcompact models and should also be considered if seeking an affordable new car purchase. For example, some have called the 2011 Hyundai Elantra the best new car under $15,000.

Originally posted 2011-03-22 15:22:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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