2012 Toyota Yaris

The 2012 Toyota Yaris is a refreshed version of this subcompact model. While the model has many changes for 2012 perhaps the biggest change is that the sedan is no longer offered. With the growing sales of hatchbacks and their greater cargo capacity, Toyota has decided to refocus the Yaris as a hatchback only.

The Yaris comes in thee primary trim lines: L, LE, and SE. The SE trim is offered as a five-door only and has 16” alloy wheels. The L and LE offered three door trims. USB, Bluetooth, and auxiliary connections are standard.

2012 Changes

The 2012 Yaris has a sharper exterior with new front and rear fascias and new headlights and taillights. While the 2009-2011 Yaris had an awkward appearance, the 2012 Yaris looks a bit sportier, more along the lines of the new Hyundai Accent hatchback. The model’s height has been lowered by 0.6” inches to improve handling and balance.

The 2012 Yaris has a new instrument panel and redesigned thee-spoke steering wheel. The wheelbase grows by 1.9” allowing for greater interior room. Cargo room increases by an impressive 25% over the 2011 model. The Yaris also offers an impressive nine airbags standard.

Engine & Fuel Economy

Toyota seems to be going the way of Honda and making only modest engine changes. The model still has a 1.5-liter 106 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

The Yaris also retains its antiquated four-speed automatic transmission option (a five-speed manual is standard) while several of its competitors offer six-speed transmissions. Toyota has made the engine lighter and extracted more fuel economy in the Yaris.

The 2012 Yaris’ fuel economy improves to 30-mpg city and 38-mpg highway with the manual and 30/35 with the automatic, which is comparable to the Honda Fit and Mazda Mazda2. According to Motor Trend, the 2012 Yaris SE has a 0-60 time of 9.1 seconds with the manual.


The 2012 Toyota Yaris has a starting MSRP of $14,115 with the 3-door L model. The top line Yaris 5-Door SE with the four-speed automatic starts at $17,200. The 2012 Yaris is on sale now.

Originally posted 2011-12-05 01:19:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

New Civic Si and Civic Hybrid for 2012

The Honda Civic enters its ninth generation for the 2012 model year. The changes to the normally aspirated 2012 Civic are primarily in the interior and exterior styling as the engine is largely a carryover from the 2011 model, albeit with greater fuel efficiency. However, engine carryover does not apply for the 2012 Civic Si and Civic Hybrid.

The 2012 Civic Si will be sold in both sedan and coupe versions. It features a more powerful 2.4-liter dual overhead camshaft power plant that produces 201 horsepower. This is an increase of 0.4-liter and 4 horsepower over the 2011 Civic Si. However, the big change is in torque as the larger engine produces 178-pound feet of torque, a 22 percent improvement from the 2011 model. This will give the 2012 Si a lot more oomph off the line.

The Si is definitely for performance enthusiast drivers. It has 61 more horsepower than other Civic trims. The Si also has sharper steering, quicker braking, a firmer suspension, significantly better acceleration, 17-inch wheels, and even a sweeter exhaust note than other Civics. The 2012 Civic Si’s 0-60 time is about 6.5 seconds. It comes standard with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission with limited slip differential.

Despite the power increase, fuel economy actually improves. The 2012 Si has EPA rated fuel economy of 22-mpg city and 31-mpg highway. This compares to the 2011 Si, which is rated at 21-mpg city and 29-mpg highway. In comparison to a competitor, the 2011 Volkswagen GTI, which produces a similar 200 horsepower for a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, gets EPA rated fuel economy of 21-mpg city and 31-mpg highway with a six-speed manual and 24-mpg city and 33-mpg highway with the six-speed automatic.

The 2012 Civic Hybrid also features a new engine. It uses a more powerful 1.5-liter gas engine combined with a new Lithium-Ion battery. The new battery is more compact and lighter with denser energy than the 2011 model. The Civic Hybrid is only available with a CVT automatic transmission. The Civic Hybrid only has one trim line and does not offer power seats, leather seats, sunroof, or a navigation system.

Fuel economy improves for the 2012 Civic Hybrid. Its EPA fuel economy rating is an impressive 44-mpg, up 3-mpg from the 2011 model. Despite the increase, the Civic Hybrid’s fuel economy is still about 5-mpg less than the Toyota Prius.

The Civic Hybrid’s fuel economy is about 25% better than comparably equipped standard Civic models. The Hybrid’s MSRP is $24,050, which is $5,395 more than the comparably equipped Civic LX sedan with a five-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 Hybrid has an MRSP $100 higher than the 2011 model.

The Civic is a compact model that appeals to a wide range of buyers from fuel economy minded with the Hybrid to the performance oriented Si. It comes in sedan and coupe forms but does not offer a hatchback like some of its competitors such as the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Mazda Mazda3. However, the Honda Fit is a subcompact hatch that is spacious for its class.

Originally posted 2011-05-13 16:01:07. 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 Chevy Cruze

The 2011 Chevy Cruze is an all-new compact sedan from the American automaker. It replaces the dated Cobalt in Chevy’s product lineup. Chevy has aimed to make a dent out of the sales of the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Ford Focus in the compact class. The Cruze is offered in the U.S. in sedan form only with four doors and seating for up to five passengers.

The 2011 Cruze is offered in five trim lines with two different engines. The trims are: 2LS, 1LT, 2LT, ECO, and LTZ. The base 2LS has an MSRP of $16,525 and comes standard with power door locks, air-conditioning, and power windows. The 2LS offers a 1.8-liter, 136 horsepower four-cylinder engine that gets 26-mpg city and 37-mpg highway with standard six-speed manual transmission. The optional six-speed automatic gets EPA rated fuel economy of 22-mpg city and 35-mpg highway.

2012 Chevrolet Cruze
Creative Commons License photo credit: MSVG

The Cruze is offered with a second engine type. The 1LT is offered with a 1.4-liter 138 horsepower turbo-charged four-cylinder engine. This engine is all-new to Chevy and GM and helps boost torque while still being miserly on gas. The 1LT has an MSRP of $18,425 and comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Its fuel economy is rated at 24-mpg city and 36-mpg highway.

The top trim LTZ has a starting MSRP of $22,225 and comes standard with leather seats. Sunroof and a navigation system are optional features. In the LTZ trim, the Cruze has a 0-60 time of nine seconds according to Motor Trend magazine. For fuel economy minded drivers, the ECO trim, which has the 1.4-liter Ecotec Turbo engine is rated at 28-mpg city and 42-mpg highway when paired with the six-speed manual transmission.

All Cruzes come standard with a host of great safety features including ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, and driver, passenger, and side airbags. The Cruze made the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Picks” list making it among the safest 2011 small cars.

The Cruze has a sleek styling and is roomy for a compact. Among compact sedans, only the Volkswagen Jetta has more trunk space. However, some writers in the automotive press have complained about the Cruze’s powertrain, especially the 1.4-liter Ecotec engine.

It does seem that Chevy could have done more to differentiate the two engines offered in the Cruze as they offer similar power and fuel economy. The model is also heavy for the compact class. The 2012 Honda Civic weighs nearly 500 pounds less than the Cruze and the 2011 Hyundai Elantra weighs nearly 400 pounds less.

Chevy is selling hatchback trims of the Cruze in Europe but is not currently offering them in the U.S. It will be interesting to see if Chevy changes this in 2012. The Cruze is assembled in Mexico. Other compact sedan competitors include the Mazda Mazda3, Kia Forte, and Subaru Impreza.

If you like the Cruze, vote for it in the poll in our “Best 2012 Compact Cars” post.

Originally posted 2011-06-14 15:40:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2011 Ford Fiesta vs. 2011 Honda Fit

The Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit are two of the best subcompact cars. The 2011 Fiesta is a new model for Ford as it returns to the U.S. subcompact market. It is offered in sedan and hatchback forms. Since the Fit is only offered in hatchback form, it is only fair to make a 2011 Ford Fiesta vs. 2011 Honda Fit comparison with the Fiesta in hatchback trim. The Fiesta is assembled in Mexico while the Fit is made in Honda’s home country of Japan.

The 2011 Fiesta comes in a total of five trim lines: S sedan, SE sedan, SE hatchback, SEL sedan, and SES hatchback. The SES hatchback has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $17,120, with a five-speed manual transmission.

Since its debut in the U.S. for the 2007 model year, the Fit has consistently been named one of the top subcompact models with its large interior space for its size, agile handling, and Honda reliability. The 2011 Fit is offered in five trim lines: 5-Spd MT, 5-Spd AT, Sport 5-Spd MT, 5-Spd AT, and 5-Spd AT w/ navigation system. The Sport 5-Spd MT has a starting MSRP of $16,860, which is a little less than the Fiesta SES.

Both models have standard features that include air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, and CD player. However, the Fiesta adds power seats as a standard feature where as it is an option in the Fit. With an automatic transmission and added options, the Fit climbs several thousand dollars in price above the Fiesta.

Both models have comparable engine power. A 1.6-liter 119 horsepower four-cylinder engine powers the Fiesta while a 1.5-liter 117 horsepower four-cylinder engine powers the Fit. Torque is 109 pound feet in the Fiesta compared to 106 pound feet in the Fit. According to Motor Trend magazine, with the automatic transmissions, the Fiesta has a superior 0-60 time of 9.5 seconds, compared to the Fit’s 0-60 time of 10.2 seconds. The Fiesta is helped by a six-speed automatic transmission, where as the Fit has only a five-speed automatic.

With its more modern engine, the Fiesta has better fuel economy getting an EPA rating of 28-mpg city and 37-mpg highway. This compares to the Fit’s fuel economy, which is 27-mpg city and 33-mpg highway.

In terms of safety features, both models have ABS brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, and front, passenger, and side airbags. The Fiesta was named a “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, where as the Fit was not.

Where the Fit clearly wins against the Fiesta is in cargo room. It has a spacious 57.3 cubic feet or cargo room with the rear seats folded flat and 20.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up. This is almost as much total cargo room as the Chevrolet Equinox compact SUV. The Fiesta SES has a much smaller 26 cubic feet with the rear seats down, and 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up. Fits are also highly regarded for their agile handling.

In our opinion, the winner in a 2011 Ford Fiesta vs. 2011 Honda Fit comparison is the Fiesta. It is more efficient and a better overall value. However, this may soon change. Honda will likely make improvements to the Fit for the 2012 model year. If it has improved fuel economy and new features, it could move it ahead of the Fiesta. And if you want more cargo room, the Fit is the better choice even in 2011.

Originally posted 2011-04-02 06:41:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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