Fiat 500 Safety

The Fiat 500 is one of the smallest cars on the roads, which causes many to wonder about Fiat 500 safety. The model received a big vote of support for its safety when it was awarded a “Top Safety Pick” designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Thus far, the 500 and the Ford Fiesta are the only 2012 “mini-car” models to receive the award.

So it came as a bit of a surprise when the 500 received only a three-star rating recently from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This has called Fiat 500 safety into question. Five-stars is the top rating. The only other models to receive three-star ratings are the outgoing Ford Escape and Dodge Caliber.

Fiat 500 ferrari edition
Creative Commons License photo credit: StreetcarsL

What the NHTSA Tests

The NHTSA puts car models through a battery of tests to determine their safety rating. They test frontal, side crash, and rollover strength. The 500 got a four-star rating on both frontal and rollover but fared poorly in the side crash, receiving only two out of five stars. Overall the Fiat 500 safety rating was three-stars.

Below see how the Fiat 500 fared back in 2007 in a crash test with the much larger Audi Q7.

Originally posted 2011-12-09 01:07:37. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

New Civic For 2012

With all-new or substantially revised models such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, and Ford Focus having been released in the past year, the compact car class is really heating up. When Honda announced they were releasing a new Civic for 2012, the expectations were high. The Civic has been one of the best selling compacts for years.

The Civics last generation debuted in 2006 and was a striking change in design and a move forward for the compact class. It offered more room and more power with better fuel economy. The model went on to win the 2006 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award and has been a huge success. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the new generation Civic is only a subtle design change from 2011.

Honda has made minor changes to the Civic’s front fascia and headlights. The rear end is noticeably different, similar to the Accord. Despite reducing its wheelbase by about an inch, the 2012 Civic has more interior hip room and shoulder room up front, and overall has 3.7 more cubic feet of passenger space. The Civic has more rear legroom than many of its competitors. Perhaps the most noticeable change in the 2012 Civic outside of the exterior tweaks is the control panel, which has a different layout than the 2011 model.

What is surprising is that Honda made no real changes to the engine. While competitors have upped the ante raising power while still improving fuel economy, Honda has only worked on improving fuel economy. The Civic retains its 1.8-liter 140 horsepower four-cylinder engine producing 140 horsepower. In comparison, the 2012 Focus offers a 2.0-liter 160 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Honda has improved fuel economy for the 2012 Civic, keeping it inline with many of its competitors. It is rated at 28-mpg city and 39-mpg highway, a significant improvement over the 26/34 returned from the 2011 model. Honda was able to do this despite still just offering a five-speed manual and five-speed automatic transmissions. Many of its competitors offer a six-speed automatic transmission. The Civic HF model, which is designed for extra efficiency, returns 29-mpg city and 41-mpg highway. To help maximize fuel economy, Honda has installed its Eco Assist System on every new Civic, except the Si trim.

The MSRP for the 2012 Civic LX is $18,605 with destination. This is only $100 more than the 2011 model, making it worth it for prospective buyers to await the arrival of the 2012 Civic in their local dealer lots. Honda has decided to not offer a hatchback version of the model, unlike many of its competitors. While the all-new Civic for 2012 is not a dramatic departure from the 2011 model, it continues to raise the bar for the compact class.

Originally posted 2011-04-25 12:06:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2011 Honda Civic

The 2011 Honda Civic is a compact model that has been a strong seller for Honda for more than 20 years. This is the sixth year of its current generation. The 2011 Civic is unchanged from the 2010 model year. This is due to the fact that an all-new Civic will be released for 2012.

The Civic has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $15,605. It is offered in four primary trim lines in sedan and coupe forms. Trim lines in order of price are: DX, LX, EX, and Si. The coupe models only have two doors while the sedans have four doors with seating for up to five. In terms of price difference, the entry level DX coupe has an MSRP of $15,605 while the DX sedan’s MSRP is $15,805.

The Si is for drivers who want performance, as the engine has 57 more horsepower than other trims. Si trims have a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 197 horsepower. There is also a Civic Hybrid, which is offered in sedan form only and provides even greater fuel economy. But it is technically a separate model.

Most 2011 Civics are offered with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing 140 horsepower. This is about average for its class. However, the all-new 2012 Ford Focus has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 160 horsepower and offers a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 Focus is already on sale.

When the Civic debuted in 2006, it had a striking design for a compact car and received rave reviews from the automotive press. It won the Motor Trend 2006 Car of the Year award. However, after six years, some of its competitors have released new models that have exceeded the Civics power, fuel economy, interior refinement, safety features, and transmission. For example, many new compact models offer traction control and electronic stability control as standard features.

An up-level Civic LX sedan with an automatic transmission (AT) has a starting MSRP of $20,405. It comes standard with sunroof, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, CD, ABS, and driver, passenger, and side airbags. The Civic offers an optional navigation system and ECS. To get traction control and ESC standard and add leather seating, buyers would need to step up to the Civic EX-L sedan with AT and navigation of $23,955. Only Civic 4-door models (except SI) with optional ESC made the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s safest 2011 small cars list.

Pictures of the 2012 Honda Civic have been released. It will be interested to see what improvements Honda makes in the new Civic. In the meantime, buyers may be able to find good deals on 2011 Civics. For example, until May 2, 2011, Honda is offering 0.9% financing for 60 months for qualified Civic sedan buyers. The 2012 Civic is expected to go on sale later this spring.

Originally posted 2011-04-10 17:26:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Best Selling Small Car

When you are talking about small cars these days, you are talking about subcompacts and “mini-cars” such as the Smart Fortwo, Mini Cooper, and Fiat 500. These are the ‘A’ and ‘B’ segments of the automotive industry. So which is the best selling small car among 2011 models in the U.S.? The winner is the Nissan Versa, and the margin is wide. According to Nissan, they sold 99,705 Versa in the U.S. in 2010. This compares to 55,000 Honda Fit, its closest competitor.

The 2011 Versa comes in six trim lines; four are in sedan form (1.6 base, 1.6, 1.8 S, and 1.8 SL) and two are in hatchback (1.8S and 1.8SL). The 1.6 base sedan is a car largely for marketing purposes. It is the one of the cheapest 2011 cars you can buy with an MSRP of $9,990. However, this trim is so decontented it does not even come with a radio! It is largely just for Nissan to publicize they sell a car for less than $10,000. The Versa is assembled in Mexico.

As the name indicates Versa 1.6 base sedan comes with a 1.6-liter liter four-cylinder engine producing 107 horsepower. While the model does offer driver, passenger, and side airbags, anti-lock brakes are optional and traction control and stability control are not available. Most new cars have these features standard. The five-speed manual transmission returns EPA rated fuel economy of 26-mpg city and 34-mpg highway.

On the other end of the trim range is the 1.8 SL hatchback. It has an MSRP of $17,190. This price point gets buyers a standard continuously variable transmission, CD player, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control. The 1.8-liter engine produces 122 horsepower, with EPA rated fuel economy of 28-mpg city and 34-mpg highway.

The Versa has a model name derived from the word versatility. Hatchback trims have 17.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and 50 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. This is actually more than the Nissan’s sporty Juke subcompact SUV, which has curvy styling. Versa sedans have 14 cubic feet of trunk space.

While the Versa is relatively large for the subcompact class, it falls short to the Honda Fit in cargo room as the 2011 Fit has 20.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and 57.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The Fit actually has more cargo room than some compact SUVs such as the Hyundai Tucson. However, Versa are also known for their roomy interiors with good legroom.

The Versa accounts for about 20% of subcompact sales in the U.S, 2/3 of which are for hatchback trims. This is a shift, as U.S. buyers historically have been known to favor sedans over hatchbacks. However, hatchbacks offer more cargo room with comparable fuel economy to sedans.

Nissan is releasing a revised Versa for the 2012 model year, which is said to have significantly better fuel economy than the 2011 model. The 2012 Versa sedan made its debut in April at the New York Auto Show. Surprisingly, these changes for 2012 are for sedan trims only. Hatchback buyers will have to wait until the 2012 calendar year for these changes to show up in Versa hatchbacks. With the improvements in the 2012 Versa, the days of a sub $10,000 Nissan may be numbered but it should remain in the running for best selling small car.

Originally posted 2011-05-08 14:37:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2011 Mini Cooper

While not among the cheapest new cars, the 2011 Mini Cooper is an upscale subcompact car that starts at a price under $20,000. It is offered in six trim lines: base, base convertible, S, S convertible, John Cooper Works, and John Cooper Works convertible. Mini Coopers are known for their diminutive size, distinctive styling, high quality interiors, and go-kart like handling.

The base 2011 Cooper has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $19,400. It comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 121 horsepower. Unique to its class, the Cooper comes with a six-speed manual transmission with an optional six-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features in the base Cooper include: power door locks, power windows, air-conditioning, CD player, ABS, traction control, and stability control. Optional features include sunroof, leather seats, and navigation system. Fuel economy, which is helped by the six-speed transmission, is rated at 29-mpg city and 37-mpg highway in the base Cooper.

Mini also offers the Cooper S, which is a turbocharged version of the model. It offers spirited driving with legendary handling and a stout 181 horsepower for a car that weights 2,679 pounds. Its MSRP is of $23,000 but its price can easily top $25,000 with options. Standard features, besides the engine, are essentially the same as the base Cooper. Its fuel economy is rated at 26-mpg city and 34-mpg highway.

The Cooper is also offered in the John Cooper Works trim line, which produces an even more impressive 208 horsepower from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It has an MSRP of $29,100. A sunroof, navigation system, and leather seats are still optional features. However, since the trim line is intended for performance enthusiasts, no automatic transmission is offered. Fuel economy is rated at 25-mgp city and 33-mpg highway. A convertible John Cooper Works with options can easily top $35,000.

Mini has expanded its product lineup in recent years. The Mini Clubman is also a subcompact model that is larger than the Cooper, but several thousand dollars more expensive. And new for 2011, is the Mini Countryman, which is a premium compact SUV, Mini’s largest vehicle and first-ever SUV. In the 2012 model year, the Mini Coupe is making its debut.

The 2011 Mini Cooper is a stylish, high quality, subcompact two-door hatchback. There have been a few issues with reliability but the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety named the Cooper a Top Safety Pick winner. Minis are assembled in Great Britain, just as the original Minis were since first introduced in 1959. However, German automaker BMW now owns and produces Mini. Minis have proven to have strong resale values, an added selling point.

Originally posted 2011-03-22 16:02:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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