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

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

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

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

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

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