2012 Ford Focus ST

The 2012 Ford Focus ST is a new high performance hatchback that takes aim at other sporty powerful compact hatches such as the Subaru Impreza WRX, Mazda MazdaSpeed3, and Volkswagen GTI.

The Focus ST has not previously been available in North America but the Focus SVT was a higher performance version of the model that was last offered in the U.S. for the 2004 model. The Focus SVT had a 2.0-liter 170 horsepower engine.

Engine and Power

The Focus was all-new for 2011 so there are otherwise few changes for the 2012 model year. The Focus ST features Ford’s lightweight, all-aluminum 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost® engine, which is also seen in the 2012 Ford Explorer.

In the Focus ST, the engine produces an estimated 247 horsepower and 250 pound feet of torque. In comparison, the Impreza WRX has 265 horsepower, the MazdaSpeed3 has 263 horsepower, and the VW GTI has 200 horsepower. Expect a Focus ST 0-60 time of under 6 seconds.

Features and Options

The Focus ST has a sporty design, distinctive from other Focus trim lines. The model has unique 18” Y-shaped alloy wheels and front and rear upsized disc brakes for quicker stops. Optional features include partial leather Recaro® seats, heated seats, eight-way adjustable seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and bi-xenon headlights.

The model has uprated shock absorbers and springs that lower its chassis by one centimeter. This gives the car a lower center of gravity and better handling than other Focus trim.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy has not yet been announced but the Focus ST comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. The model uses high-pressure direct injection, twin-independent variable cam timing, and a low-inertia turbocharger to conserve fuel. The Focus ST is front-wheel drive but has a torque steer compensation system that counteracts the effects of torque steer feel for the driver.

Coming in 2012

The Focus ST its global debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. It goes on sale in the U.S. in calendar year 2012. The model brings back more competition in the sport hatchback market as the Chevrolet Cobalt SS and Dodge Caliber SRT-4 were both discontinued.

The Focus ST will be available in more than 40 markets and an ST Wagon will be sold in Europe. Buyers in six continents can enjoy the performance, agility, sound quality, and driving dynamics of this car.

Pricing has not been announced but expect a starting MSRP of about $25,000 making the Focus ST one of the cheapest performance cars you can buy.

Originally posted 2011-09-24 19:24:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Most Stolen Cars

Car theft is a major problem throughout the country. Each month, many thousands of cars are broken into and stolen. Some owners park their car one night only to wake up the next morning and never see it again. Car break-ins affect nearly all neighborhoods, and are a significant contributing factor to high auto insurance costs.

LoJack, a company that provides theft prevention and car recovery services, has released its 2010 “Vehicle Theft Recovery Report”. It is the second year the company has published the report, which lists the top 10 most stolen cars in America. According to LoJack, the number one most stolen car in 2010 was the Honda Accord, a popular midsize sedan. Number two on the list was the Honda Civic, a compact sedan.

This is a flip from 2009 when the Civic finished as the most stolen car and the Accord finished second. Hondas have been popular theft targets for years due to their renowned reliability and popularity for parts and ability to make modifications. Honda makes Acura, which had a model place fourth on the list, making three of the top four most stolen cars in 2010 Honda products.

Below is the top 10 list for most stolen cars of 2010 according to LoJack:

1. Honda Accord

2. Honda Civic

3. Toyota Camry

4. Acura Integra

5. Cadillac Escalade

6. Toyota Corolla

7. Dodge Ram

8. Nissan Altima

9. Nissan Maxima

10. Chevrolet Tahoe

Three of the cars on this list are compact models – the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Acura Integra. The Integra is actually a compact sport coupe that was sold from 1995-2007. Excluding the two SUVs and one pick-up, all cars in the top 10 list were made by Japanese automakers.

No matter how much your car is worth, if you wish to better protect it from theft, you may wish to consider purchasing LoJack’s service. It is available at many auto parts stores. How it works is that a LoJack transmitter is installed, hidden inside of your vehicle. In that way, if your car is stolen, the tracking device allows police to find and recover it. With this device installed, vehicle recovery usually only takes a few hours.

LoJack has a high success rate noting that nearly 90% of the vehicles equipped with its tracking hardware were recovered in 2010. The company is now offering a 24-hour recovery guarantee.

Originally posted 2011-04-17 12:54:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2012 Cheapest New Car

The day of the under $10,000 new car is dead. 2012 marks the first year in automotive history that car buyers cannot buy a new car for this price. Last year there were two new models with MSRPs below $10,000, the Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent. For the 2012 model year, there are none. Prices are up for 2012, particularly in the subcompact class.

But the increased prices is not necessarily a bad thing. New safety regulations take effect this year that required every car sold in the U.S. in 2012 to offer standard electronic stability control and auto manufacturers are offering more features to buyers.

The 2012 cheapest new car is the Nissan Versa. The Versa could be had for an MSRP of $9,990 last year. The 2012 model has raised $1,000 in price to an MSRP of $10,990. However, buyers get more standard features. The 2012 Versa comes standard with air conditioning and AM/FM/CD/AUX stereo, unlike the 2011 model. The Versa was also the cheapest 2011 new car sold in the U.S.

The Versa is also the cheapest automatic model for 2012. The Versa 1.6 S CVT, with its continuously variable transmission starts at $12,760. This engine gets 33-mpg combined fuel economy. The top trim Versa 1.8 SL CVT starts at $15,660 and offers great features such as Bluetooth, USB input, and a touch screen navigation system.

Creative Commons License photo credit: pulloa
Benson and his Nissan Versa
Creative Commons License photo credit: Rhea C.

Despite the hatchback accounting for nearly 80% of its sales, only the Versa sedan is a new generation model for 2012. The Versa sedan is built on Nissan’s new front-wheel drive global “V” platform. With its redesign and fewer components, the 2012 Versa sedan weighs about 150 pounds less than it did in 2011. The sedan has actually shorter in length and height than 2011 but has the same wheelbase and width dimensions.

While the engine is lighter weight for 2012, output is almost unchanged at 109 horsepower and 107-pound feet of torque in the 1.6-liter engine. However, fuel economy in the base sedan improves to 27-mpg city and 36-mpg highway compared to 26/34 in the 2011 model. This still lags its competitors in the subcompact class, many of which are rated at 40-mpg highway driving.

One area the Versa really shines in is passenger room. The model offers more rear legroom that the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which is a large luxury sedan. Unfortunately unlike Nissan’s other more upscale subcompact, the Cube, the Versa did not make the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s list of safest 2011 small cars.

It will be interesting to see how the largely unchanged 2012 Versa hatchback fares against the all-new Chevy Sonic and the new generation Hyundai Accent it competes against. The Versa is currently the number one selling subcompact car in the U.S.

As the 2012 cheapest new car, the model represents Nissan’s commitment to providing affordable automotive transportation. The Versa is assembled in Mexico.

Originally posted 2011-08-12 23:41:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Best Selling 2011 Cars

April auto sales figures show that trends are looking favorable for a good year for automakers in 2011. Car and light truck sales in April were 13 million at an annualized rate, the third month in a row automakers have reached this level of sales. This is significantly better than 2008 and 2009 but not near the levels automakers reached in 2006 when 16.9 million vehicles were sold.

One fact helping sales is that the average age of cars on the road today is more than 10 years old, the highest figure ever. This can be attributed to cars lasting longer and the economic recession.

For April, the best selling 2011 cars were:

1. Ford F Series
2. Toyota Camry
3. Chevrolet Silverado
4. Honda Accord
5. Honda Civic
6. Chevrolet Cruze
7. Chevrolet Malibu
8. Toyota Corolla
9. Hyundai Elantra
10. Hyundai Sonata

While Americans still love their full-size pickups, April sales figures show the demand for fuel-efficient cars. Four of the models are compact cars and four are midsize cars, with each getting at least 33-mpg highway with a four-cylinder engine. Hyundai continues to make sales inroads with the Elantra and Sonata finishing ninth and tenth overall, respectively. Elantra sales are up an impressive 88% this year. It will be interesting to see if the 2012 Focus can push a Ford car model into the top 10.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Namillionairee

The Chevy Cruze is off to a strong start in its first model year. It sold 25,160 units in April and has sold more than 75,000 units for the year, putting it on pace to sell more than 225,000 units this calendar year. Chevy’s sales are up 24% overall in 2011 with the Cruze, Malibu, and Equinox all selling well.

General Motors has offered more generous discounts than other automakers, which is likely helping its reception. According to Edmunds.com, the average incentive for a GM vehicle was $3,000. The company’s sales have also benefited from the recent major earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks in Japan that have hampered Japanese automakers’ production efforts.

For example, the Chevy Malibu’s sales were up 49% in April, compared to the Toyota Camry, which was up only 9% per the month. However, the Camry still outsold the Malibu by nearly 6,000 units for the month.

Originally posted 2011-05-19 03:26:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2013 Dodge Dart

The Dodge Caliber never really hit the mark in the compact class. The five-door hatchback got off to a decent start when it debuted in 2007 but sputtered in recent years as it lagged its competitors in terms of fuel economy, interior quality, and other features. Also, unlike many of its competitors such as the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Toyota Corolla, and its predecessor the Dodge Neon, the Caliber was not offered as a sedan.

Chrysler hope to change its compact fortunes by reviving a name from its past as the automaker has had success bringing back names like the Challenger and Charger. The result is the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart. Fiat, which is the majority owner of Chrysler, will use a platform used for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta for the model.

2013 Dodge Dart R/T
Creative Commons License photo credit: sarahlarson

In a press release, Chrysler stated:


Dodge Dart Blends Alfa Romeo DNA and Dodge’s Passion for Performance Resulting in a Groundbreaking Car with the Ultimate Blend of Power, Fuel Economy, Handling and Style.


Taking on the Compact Sedan Class

The Dart becomes one of the most anticipated new models of 2013. The model will be offered as a sedan only, which is surprising considering hatchback sales have been on the rise in the compact class. Fiat is introducing the 500L, which is a four-door version of the Fiat 500 hatchback, perhaps hoping hatchback buyers go for that model.

The Dart will also offer sporty 18-inch wheels and an SRT model, which will produce about 300 horsepower in a compact package. The SRT would take on the likes of the Focus Focus ST, Subaru Impreza WRX, and Mazda MazdaSpeed3.

Despite its Alfa Romeo platform, the Dart will feature Dodge styling cues such as the split-crosshair grille, projector headlamps, fog lams, accentuated fenders, and LED ‘racetrack’ tail lamps. The model will also feature class-exclusive integrated dual exhaust, adding to athletic and muscular stance.

Dodge Dart at NAIAS 2012
Creative Commons License photo credit: Autoviva.com

Dart Safety Features

The Dart offers class-leading safety with standard features that include:

  • 10 Standard Airbags
  • Reactive Head-Restraint System
  • Blind-spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross Path Detection
  • All three rear seat positions featured Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children
  • ParkView® rear backup camera
  • ParkSense® rear park assist
  • Four-wheel, four-channel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake force distribution and traction control system
  • Brake Assist
  • Brake-lock differential
  • Electronic Roll Mitigation
  • Hill-start Assist

Engines & Fuel Economy

The 2013 Dodge Dart will offer three fuel-efficient engines including the 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo, which is found in the Fiat 500 Abarth. Drivers can also choose from other four-cylinder engines – new Tigershark 16-value 2.0-liter MultiAir Intercooled Turbo engine and a 16-vale 2.4-liter MultiAir engine.

Chrysler claims class-leading aerodynamics for the model. With this in combination with the fuel-efficient engines, expect fuel economy topping 40-mpg highway in some trims.

Built in America

Despite its European roots, the 2013 Dodge Dart will be built at Chrysler Group’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois. The Dart made its public debut recently at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Dart will have a starting MSRP of $15,995, which is about average for its class, but significantly less than the $17,380 starting price of the outgoing Caliber.

The Dodge Dart release date is June 2012 for most trims. For more photos and information, go to the official Dart website.

Originally posted 2012-02-01 01:01:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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