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

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 Honda Civic

The 2011 Honda Civic is a compact model that has been a strong seller for Honda for more than 20 years. This is the sixth year of its current generation. The 2011 Civic is unchanged from the 2010 model year. This is due to the fact that an all-new Civic will be released for 2012.

The Civic has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $15,605. It is offered in four primary trim lines in sedan and coupe forms. Trim lines in order of price are: DX, LX, EX, and Si. The coupe models only have two doors while the sedans have four doors with seating for up to five. In terms of price difference, the entry level DX coupe has an MSRP of $15,605 while the DX sedan’s MSRP is $15,805.

The Si is for drivers who want performance, as the engine has 57 more horsepower than other trims. Si trims have a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine producing 197 horsepower. There is also a Civic Hybrid, which is offered in sedan form only and provides even greater fuel economy. But it is technically a separate model.

Most 2011 Civics are offered with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine producing 140 horsepower. This is about average for its class. However, the all-new 2012 Ford Focus has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 160 horsepower and offers a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 Focus is already on sale.

When the Civic debuted in 2006, it had a striking design for a compact car and received rave reviews from the automotive press. It won the Motor Trend 2006 Car of the Year award. However, after six years, some of its competitors have released new models that have exceeded the Civics power, fuel economy, interior refinement, safety features, and transmission. For example, many new compact models offer traction control and electronic stability control as standard features.

An up-level Civic LX sedan with an automatic transmission (AT) has a starting MSRP of $20,405. It comes standard with sunroof, air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, CD, ABS, and driver, passenger, and side airbags. The Civic offers an optional navigation system and ECS. To get traction control and ESC standard and add leather seating, buyers would need to step up to the Civic EX-L sedan with AT and navigation of $23,955. Only Civic 4-door models (except SI) with optional ESC made the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s safest 2011 small cars list.

Pictures of the 2012 Honda Civic have been released. It will be interested to see what improvements Honda makes in the new Civic. In the meantime, buyers may be able to find good deals on 2011 Civics. For example, until May 2, 2011, Honda is offering 0.9% financing for 60 months for qualified Civic sedan buyers. The 2012 Civic is expected to go on sale later this spring.

Originally posted 2011-04-10 17:26:13. 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

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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