New Yaris for 2012

Entering its sixth model year in the U.S., the subcompact Toyota Yaris is being redesigned for 2012. Unfortunately, it will not be on sale until late in 2011 giving newly designed 2012 competitors the Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic an edge out of the gates.

The 2012 Yaris will sport a redesigned exterior and interior improvement. Its power train and underpinnings are largely expected to carryover from the 2011 model, but expect better fuel economy. The 2011 model has a 1.5-liter 106 horsepower four-cylinder engine across all trim lines.

The 2011 Yaris gets EPA rated fuel economy of 29-mpg city and 36-mpg highway with the five-speed manual and 29/35 with an automatic transmission. Toyota is working on an ultra efficient 1.3-liter engine with start-stop technology but that is not expected to debut in North America for a few years.

Expect Toyota to do something about the antiquated optional four-speed automatic transmission in the 2011 Yaris. The Yaris currently offers a less powerful engine than nearly all its competitors without offering better fuel economy. Perhaps a continuously variable transmission will be in the offing to replace the four-speed auto to get the model to the 40-mpg highway range.

The 2011 Yaris is offered in six trim lines with a three-door hatch, five-door hatch, and four-door sedan. While the five-door hatch and four-door sedan will be seen in the 2012 Yaris, it is unknown whether the bargain priced three-door hatch will continue. The Yaris is known as the Vitz in its home market of Japan.

Toyota Vitz RS 1.5 2007
Creative Commons License photo credit: Peter Zoon

Expect the 2012 Yaris to have a starting MSRP in the $14,000 range when it debuts late this fall. Toyota has been starting to get production back on track after the fallout from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Yaris is assembled in Japan. Other competitors include the Ford Fiesta, Mazda Mazda2, and Honda Fit.

Originally posted 2011-07-07 00:27:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Volkswagen Up!

A production version of Volkswagen’s new subcompact model, the up! has made its debut in advance of its formal debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The three-door Up! is smaller than the Volkswagen Polo, which is sold in overseas markets. At just 11.6 feet long, the model is smaller in length than the Mini Cooper.

The up! Is another example of the growth in the subcompact class. It is expected to be one of several new small cars from the German automaker, as people around the world want affordable, fuel-efficient transportation, with a hint of fun and smart use of interior passenger space.

The Up! Is nearly as tall as it is wide, which affords for more passenger and cargo room than many other subcompact models. It has 33.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, which is larger than the Mini Cooper Clubman.

The up! Should have tremendous fuel economy. It is being offered with both a 1.0-liter that produces 59 and 74 horsepower in different three-cylinder gas engines. Electric and natural gas engines are in development.

The up! boasts a host of new innovations that help make the car safer. For example, the up! is the first small car with optional City Emergency Braking that automatically activates the cars brakes at speeds under 18 mpg when its laser sensors detect an imminent collision.

The up! Is scheduled to go on sale in Europe in December 2011. It will be offered in three trim lines: the basic take up!, the mid-level move up!, and the top end high up!. The naming conventions are similar to the Kia Soul, which uses the “!”and “+” symbols in its trim lines.

The up! is being manufactured in Bratislava, Slovakia. Volkswagen hopes its small car expansion boosts sales as the company has aggressive growth targets. In a sense, the affordable up! returns the company to its roots, as Volkswagen in German literally means the “people’s car”.

A decision on whether or not to sell the up! in America has not been made. However, the up! was conceived primarily with markets in Europe and Asia in mind.

Originally posted 2011-08-21 22:07:58. 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

Mini Roadster

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a clear choice if you are looking for an affordable two-seat convertible. It is the cheapest two-seat convertible you can buy as a 2012 model with a starting price under $25,000 and has been highly regarded since it debuted more than 20 years ago for the driving experience it provides.

After the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky ended their brief runs after the 2009 model year, the MX-5 Miata was the only model of this type available in its price range. It has no direct competition. However, this is about to change as the Mini Roadster will go on sale in North America in mid-2012.

A True Convertible

Mini already offers a convertible offering for the four-seat Cooper. It is a fully automatic soft-top that retracts in just 15 seconds. The soft-top also has a built in sun roof. The Cooper convertible starts at an MSRP of $25,650 offering Mini’s 1.6-liter 121 horsepower base engine.

The convertible is also available in the Cooper S trim,with the turbocharged 181 horsepower engine, and the John Cooper Works trim, which gets 208 horsepower out of its turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

What separates the new Mini Roadster is that it is a true two-seat convertible. The concept of the model was first shown at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show and the model is set to make its formal debut at the January 2012 Detroit auto show.

MINI auf der IAA 2009
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jürgen Stemper // Bloemche

Engine and Power

The Mini Roadster will feature the same engines as the Cooper. The base model with the 121 horsepower engine is expected to start at about $24,000, which is comparable to the MX-5 Miata. However, the Mazda offers a 2.0-liter 167 horsepower engine and a 0-60 time of about 7 seconds. The base Mini Roadster will be significantly slower but should offer very crisp, agile handling.

To have superior acceleration, buyers will need to step up the Mini Roadster S or Mini Roadster John Cooper Works. However, the Roadster S will likely start at a price near $30,000.

Differences Between the Cooper Convertible

Mini began offering the Mini Coupe for the 2012 model year. It is a two-seater with a trunk, unlike other Cooper models that have a hatchback. The Roadster will essentially be the convertible version of the Coupe. The Roadster will have stainless-steel rollover bars, a more steeply raked windshield, and have a roof height 0.9 inches lower than the Cooper convertible.

The Roadster will also have a manual soft-top, with a center-mounted latch on the windshield header. However, raising the roof is made easier by a push button that activates pneumatic springs to hasten the time it takes to put the roof in place. Unlike the Cooper convertible, which comes in three different colors and racing stripes, the Roadster will only be offered with a black top.

MINI Cooper Cabrio * MIautumn
Creative Commons License photo credit: jiazi

Advantages and Disadvantages the MX-5 Miata

The Mini Roadster has several advantages over the MX-5 Miata. One clear edge is in trunk space. The Roadster has 8.5 cubic feet compared to just 5.3 cubic feet for the Mazda. It also offers an optional six-speed automatic transmission whereas the Mazda has just a five-speed automatic transmission.

While fuel economy has not yet been announced, the Mini Coupe S has EPA-estimated fuel economy of 27-mpg city and 35-mpg highway, which is about 20% better than the Mazda. The 2012 MX-5 Miata has EPA-estimated fuel economy of 21-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.

The Roadster’s disadvantages to the MX-5 Miata are topped by the fact that it offers significantly less power at a comparable price. It also does not offer a power top, unlike the MX-5 Miata, which has retractable top trim lines. Learn more about affordable new convertibles in our Cheap Convertibles article.

Originally posted 2011-10-31 22:53:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dodge Dart Release Date

Chrysler has announced the 2013 Dodge Dart release date will be June 2012, when U.S. dealers take in their first shipments. The arrival of the all-new Dart is big news as the model is critical for Chrysler to gain traction in the growing small car segment.

Based on early reviews, the 2013 Dart is a vast improvement over the outgoing Dodge Caliber and should help the model take on its compact sedan competitors such as the Ford Focus, Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla.

2013 Dodge Dart

Dart Pricing & Trim Lines

Chrysler has also announce the pricing on the dart. The base Dart SE undercuts all its key competitors in price, with a starting MSRP of $15,995. However, this model will not even come with power windows (get ready to roll’em up) and no air-conditioning.

Read below for a look at Dart trims and starting MSRPs, not including $895 destination charge, as follows:

Dart SXT, $17,995 – The SXT adds 17-inch wheels, remote keyless entry, power body-color mirrors, six-speakers, 60/40 split folding rear seat, and air conditioning. The SXT also allows owners to add such optional features as an 8.4-inch touch screen, which is the largest in its class, power sunroof, and rear backup camera.

Dart Ralleye, $18,995 – The Dart Ralleye offers the latest engine technologies, a 1.4-liter MultiAir® turbocharged engine that produces a 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine is also found in the Fiat 500 Abarth. The SXT offers more sport with bright exhaust tips, black headlamp bezels, projector fog lamps, front fascia accents, and striking interior colors.

It will be interesting to see what type of EPA estimated fuel economy this model attains. The lighter 500 Abarth (a subcompact hatchback) is rated at 28-mpg city and 34-mpg highway.

Dart Limited, $19,995 – The Dart Limited offers a host of standard features including the 8.4-inch touchscreen, rear backup camera, 10-way power driver seat, and automatic headlamps. Garmin navigation, polished aluminum wheels, and premium Nappa leather with heating steering wheel are among the optional features.

Dart R/T, $22,495 – The Dart R/T comes with the new 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir four-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower. It also features 18-inch aluminum wheels, sport suspension, heated and leather seats, and a class-exclusive heated steering wheel. The Dart R/T release date will be later in Summer 2012.

2013 Dodge Dart

Compacts Help Build Brand Loyalty

The Dart is a huge step forward in terms of moving the brand into the American heartland.

– Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler CEO

Compact cars account for about 15 percent of new U.S. vehicle sales. Chrysler has not offered a compact sedan model since the Neon was mercifully discontinued in 2006. The Neon started strong and looked good on paper, winning Motor Trend’s 1995 Car of the Year Award, but the car’s unreliability and lack of build quality quickly showed. The Caliber debuted in 2007 but has been a hatchback only.

Statistics show that about 15% of U.S. new car sales are compact sedans. Compact buyers also tend to be a younger demographic so establishing a good customer experience with compacts is important for automakers. Brand loyalty can play a big role in having return customers.

Originally posted 2012-04-17 10:26:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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