2012 Ford Focus

The 2012 Ford Focus is an important vehicle for the automaker. It is Ford’s compact car that is sold globally in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback forms. Compact cars are popular in world markets as they are less expensive and more fuel-efficient than midsize or large cars. With rising gas prices, they are a key segment in the U.S. market as well. The Focus is significantly redesigned for 2012.

The 2012 Focus has received mostly excellent reviews from the automotive press. In addition to is sleek styling and solid engine performance the Focus has also garnered positive feedback for its modern, chic interior. Ford has taken the model slightly more upscale offering a new Titanium trim line. One critique has been that the Focus can get rather expensive, near $25,000, in top Titanium trim line with added options.

The 2012 Focus’ engine is a real stand out in the compact class. All current trim lines have the normally aspirated 2.0-liter 160 horsepower four-cylinder engine. The engine is now the most powerful base engine in the compact sedan class, slightly higher than the 155 horsepower engine in the 2012 Mazda3. In comparison, the 2012 Honda Civic has a 1.8-liter 140 horsepower four-cylinder engine that despite having twenty less horsepower gets very similar fuel economy to the Focus. Expect a Focus 0-60 time to be about 7.5 seconds.

The Focus’ engine produces good power for the compact class while returning excellent fuel economy. With the optional six-speed automatic transmission, the Focus gets 28-mpg city and 38-mpg highway. With the five-speed manual, the Focus is rated at 26-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. Ford has utilized technology from the automakers’ EcoBoost turbo-charge engine program such as twin variable valve timing and a specially-ported intake manifold to increase air flow, helping to boost the Focus’ power.

In the U.S., the 2012 Focus is offered in four trim levels for both sedan and hatchback body styles. The sedan is available in S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trims. The hatchback comes in SE, SEL, and Titanium trims. The hatchback is about $800 more than the sedan trims but offers significantly more cargo room without compromising fuel economy.

The S trim is the entry-level sedan that has an MSRP of $16,270, which comes standard with air conditioning, CD player, power front windows (manual rear), and a five-speed manual transmission. Even in this trim, the Focus comes standard with great safety features such as ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, and driver, passenger, and side airbags.

Each trim line adds more features. The SEL sedan, which has an MRSP of $20,270 comes with the Ford sync entertainment and communication system, MyFord driver connect system, fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, and alloy wheels, among other features. The top line Titanium trim, which has a starting MSRP in hatchback form of $22,765, adds features that include keyless access and starting, Sirius and HD radio, 10-speaker Sony audio system, rear spoiler, and 17″ tires. However, leather seats, power seats, sunroof, and a navigation system are still optional features.

The 2012 Focus is definitely worth taking a look at if you are considering a new compact or even subcompact sedan or hatchback. It offers a responsive engine and handling, sleek styling, great fuel economy, and a variety of trim lines to meet your needs. In addition to the Civic and Mazda3, the Focus’ competitors include the Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, Kia Forte, and Subaru Impreza.

Originally posted 2011-05-02 09:45:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is a new generation model that will go on sale this fall. It is the first significant redesign of the model since it was re-introduced for the 1998 model year. The new design is a subtle change but there are noticeable differences with a less bulbous shape, flatter roof, narrowed windows, and a sharp crease along the side.

Volkswagen (VW) seems to be going more for sport for the new model also known as the “Bug”, rather the cute, positioning it to better compete with models such as the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. The company hopes the changes will allow new Beetle to have more appeal with men, which would help Volkswagen improve its sales and make strides toward meeting its goal of tripling sales in the next decade.

The 2012 VW Beetle will be more upscale. It will have more luxurious materials, a significantly larger trunk, and an optional navigation system, which is not offered in the 2011 Beetle.

The 2012 Beetle will have a base engine derived from the current 150-horsepower, 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder gas engine. The Beetle will also offer a sportier 200-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a fuel-efficient diesel engine, which will get about 40-mpg highway. The return of the turbocharged engine to the Beetle is another indication of an attempt to bring in more male buyers. There are no current plans to offer an electric or hybrid engine for the Beetle.

The New Beetle is an important model for Volkswagen. Sales of the Beetle have dwindled in recent years. The model has remained largely unchanged for more than a decade, which combined with an economic recession, lead to low sales. The model reached its sales peak in 2003 with 93,000 units sold when the convertible was introduced. In 2010, the Beetle sold only about 16,500 units. The Mini Cooper outsold the Beetle almost 3-1.

The small car landscape has changed dramatically since the Beetle was reintroduced in 1998. There are many new compelling models and the Beetle’s distinctive, funky design competes against other models such as the Kia Soul, Scion xB, and Nissan Cube, in addition to the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. However, high gas prices do lead to increases in the sales of smaller cars.

The 2012 Beetle has several barriers to overcome. The 2011 Beetle base model has an MSRP of $18,690, which is more than $3,000 higher than competitors such as the Kia Soul and Nissan Cube, or compact cars such as the Toyota Corolla. The New Beetle does not offer a highly fuel-efficient gas engine. Its base engine actually has quite poor fuel economy compared to its competitors.

The 2011 Beetle base 2.5L model has EPA rated fuel economy of 20-mpg city and 29-mpg highway. This compares to the Mini Cooper, which has a smaller engine that returns 29-mpg city and 37-mpg highway. Fuel economy figures and starting retail price are not yet known for the 2012 Beetle.

Originally posted 2011-04-19 05:25:38. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2011 Mini Cooper vs. 2012 Fiat 500

If you are looking for a small car with excellent handling, high quality interior and distinctive styling, performing a 2011 Mini Cooper vs. 2012 Fiat 500 comparison is worth doing. Each of these front-wheel drive, two-door tiny cars are from European auto brands and have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) that starts under $20,000. While many people think of Mini’s when they think of small cars, the 2012 Fiat 500 is actually smaller in exterior size than the Cooper.

The 2012 Fiat 500 recently went on sale in North America. It is one of the first 2012 model year cars to go on sale. It is an important model for Fiat as it makes its return to North America, after a 28-year absence. More Fiat models are expected to follow. While many buyers think of Ferrari and Lamborghini when it comes to Italian auto manufacturers, Fiat hopes to become a player in much more affordable segments of the American automotive marketplace. The 500 is assembled in Mexico.

The model was reviewed in the April 2011 edition of Motor Trend magazine. The 500 is offered with a 1.4-liter 101 horsepower four-cylinder engine. With a five-speed manual transmission, the 500 gets EPA rated fuel economy of 30-mpg city and 38-mpg highway. In comparison, the 2011 Mini Cooper base with its 1.6-liter 120 horsepower four-cylinder transmission gets an estimated 29-mpg city and 37-mpg highway. With a five-speed manual weighs, the 500 weights 2,333 pounds while the Cooper weighs 2,535 pounds.

The 500 comes in three trim lines: Pop (base model), Sport, and Lounge (fully loaded). The POP has an MSRP of $15,500, while the Sport starts at $17,500, and the Lounge starts at $19,500. The Lounge comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. This transmission has fuel economy of 27-mpg city and 34-mpg highway.

Motor Trend praised the 500 Sport’s road manners, calling it refined and noting that at speeds up to 90 mph the 500 was calmly cruising with its tachometer barely above 3000 rpm. The tester also reported low tire, wind, and engine noise. This is impressive as most cars of this size with this small an engine struggle at higher freeway speeds. The reviewer also called the leather seats in the 500 Sport quite comfortable, even after more than 100 miles of driving.

Despite its small, impotent engine, a Motor Trend editor called the car “delightful” to drive after taking it on a figure eight track. The cars light weight, excellent handling, and suspension make it a fun car to drive. While the 500’s 0-60 time was just 9.7 seconds and its quarter mile time was 17.2 seconds, Motor Trend dismissed its slow speed times by stating, ”Blacklisting the Fiat 500 because it’s slow in the quarter mile is akin to not flirting with Olivia Munn (American comedic actress, model, television personality and author) because she has a weak bench press. There are other attributes to consider.”

For a car that technically fits into the A-segment of vehicles, along with the Cooper, Smart ForTwo, and upcoming Toyota iQ, the Fiat 500 received raves for its driver interior space. One 6’6” valet who drove the 500 proclaimed that he had more room in the 500 than driving a Cadillac CTS luxury sedan. The back seats are small with just 32.2 inches of rear legroom. This compares with the Cooper, which has 29.9 inches of rear legroom. Overall the Fiat is about two inches narrower and a half a foot smaller than the Cooper in wheelbase and length, but surprisingly the 500 has larger interior dimensions.

Fiat expects to release a turbo-charged version of the 500 within the next year, which will allow it to better compete with the Mini Cooper S, which as 181 horsepower. The 500 Turbo is expected to have about 150 horsepower. A 500 convertible is also in the works. When these new trim lines are released, prospective buyers will have even more reason to perform a Mini Cooper vs. Fiat 500 comparison.

Originally posted 2011-03-24 07:43:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Top 3 2012 Cars for Under $15,000

Car buyers on a budget have a lot of quality models to choose from. There are numerous subcompact 2012 cars under $15,000 with many of them with a surprising amount of advanced technology and safety features included. Those interested in buying a new car at the lowest possible price will be pleased at the selection offered by some of the most prominent auto manufacturers.

2012 Kia Rio Sedan

Kia, which is owned by Hyundai, introduced the Rio as a low-priced, fuel-efficient sedan that would compete favorably in the compact class. Over the years this car has been upgraded in terms of interior conveniences, yet the price for the Rio remains quite low. The Rio starts at around $13,300 for the base trim.

Interior of the 2012 Kia Rio

Interior of the 2012 Kia Rio photo: theKCB

The Rio’s engine has been upgraded for 2012 producing 138 horsepower, but the fuel efficiency is excellent. The Rio averages about 40-mpg gallon highway and nearly 30 mpg on city streets. There are eight exterior color options, each of which complements the interior beige or black very nicely.

Standard features include a full set of airbags, child safety components such as tethers and anchors for booster seats, manual air conditioning and cloth seats. The up-level SX will cost just above $15,000 but features a CD player, automatic headlights, audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, delayed courtesy lighting, and keyless entry.

Rio carries an exceptional 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the power train. The car’s resale value is modest, but many owners can keep their Rio for years without any thought of trading up. Drivers on a budget would also be wise to consider the Hyundai Accent.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

The 2012 Chevy Sonic is one of the best buys for under $15,000. The base trim starts at just under $14,000, with the up-level LTZ going for around $18,600. The Sonic offers drivers over 40-mpg highway fuel efficiency with a 138 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Standard features on the base trim include a rear window defogger, pass-through rear seat, AM/FM stereo, front reading lamps, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Sonic also comes with a trial subscription to satellite radio, and the safety equipment includes front and side airbags, child safety door locks, and a full OnStar® system.

Driver side interior of the 2012 Chevy Sonic

Driver side interior of the 2012 Chevy Sonic photo: peltierchevy

Automatic headlights and daytime running lights are standard equipment on the bases trim. The Stabilitrak® electronic stability system is also included. The Sonic has become quite popular with the younger crowd, and the resale value is quite good. It also offers excellent safety features, and is among the safest 2012 small cars.

2012 Ford Fiesta

With a starting price of under $13,200, the 2012 Ford Fiesta offers buyers a roomy interior, plenty of cargo space, and a good number of interior conveniences. Although quite compact in size, the Fiesta has a surprising amount of storage area. This sedan is one of the lowest priced automobiles on the market today.

The base trim has a 1.6L engine that delivers a total of 120 horsepower. The car gets about 38-mpg highway regardless of the transmission type selected. The steering wheel is manual tilt, the air conditioning is electronically activated, and the power door locks have an optional auto-lock feature. The 2011 Fiesta was an all-new model for the U.S.

Front quarter view of the 2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta photo: Stradablog

Many of the lowest priced cars on the market have very few standard convenience features unless the buyer chooses an up-level trim. These top 3 2012 cars under $15,000 have excellent fuel economy, come with a superior warranty, and will retain their value well comparable to other models. The cheapest new car of 2012, the Nissan Versa sedan, did not make our list.

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Originally posted 2012-04-08 01:17:55. 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

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