2011 Small Sedans

Several magazines have recently published articles comparing 2011 small sedans. These reviews focused on new sedans that have a starting price below $17,000. In the April 2011 edition of Consumer Reports (CR), eleven small sedans were tested. The Volkswagen Jetta finished dead last.

Volkswagen had a highly successful year in 2010 with increased sales and nearly $10 billion in profits. It is aspiring to increase its sales by 20% in the U.S in 2011 and it may be well on its way to doing that. However, in order to position the Jetta at a lower price entry point, according to CR, Volkswagen has left little to like about the car, besides the $15,995 MSRP. CR cited its worse interior and suspension than the 2010 model and weak handling.

The Jetta base and S trim line have a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine 115 horsepower, which is largely the same engine that Volkswagen has been using for more than 15 years. Even when CR tested a trim line with the larger 2.5-liter, 170 horsepower, five-cylinder engine, they called it coarse-sounding and came away disappointed with long brake distances and a six-speed automatic transmission that was reluctant to downshift.

However, if you are looking for fuel economy, the Jetta is offered with an efficient turbo diesel that gets an impressive 30-mpg city and 42-mpg highway, which is superior fuel-efficiency than even subcompact such as the Ford Fiesta.

In a recent Car & Driver magazine article comparing new or recently redesigned small sedans, the Jetta also finished last among the five tested. The cars tested, and the order they finished in the comparison were the 2012 Ford Focus SEL, 2011 Mazda 3 s Sport, 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT RS, and 2011 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 SEL. All of these models were upper level trim lines with as tested prices between $22,830 and $25,345. The 2012 Ford Focus SEL was declared the winner but also had the highest as tested price.

There are more than a dozen different types of 2011 small sedans for buyers to choose from. While prices typically start in the $15,000 to $17,000 range, some small sedan models now offer options previously not seen in this class, such as leather seats and navigation systems. These features can bring their price up to near $25,000.

Originally posted 2011-04-07 15:31:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Toyota Yaris vs. Mazda Mazda2

In the compact hatchback car segment, buyers have more than half a dozen models to choose from. To help drivers narrow down their choice, in this post we make a Toyota Yaris vs. Mazda Mazda2 comparison and decide which offers the most features and convenience equipment for the price paid.

Engine And Powertrain

Both the 2012 Toyota Yaris and Mazda2 have a 1.5liter engine, but Yaris gets about 38 mpg highway compared to 35 mpg for Mazda2. The Yaris also delivers about 106 horsepower compared to 100 in the Mazda2. Both cars are front-wheel drive, have independent front suspension, and come with variable valve timing.

The cars are almost identical in weight, about 2,300 pounds. Both come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission, offer good handling, and are easy to park in tight spaces. Despite being behind in the numbers, Mazdas are well known for their solid driving dynamics making the Mazda2 a more fun car to drive.

Mazda 2

Exterior Features Comparison

The size of the two vehicles is comparable, but the Yaris is more like a coupe in terms of the shape and dimensions of the doors. Both models are available in a wide variety of colors, and the standard features are virtually the same. Both cars have a remote fuel filler door release, intermittent wipers, and come equipped with steel wheels.

Interior Amenities

Considering the price of the two models, the number of interior convenience features is impressive. Both Yaris and Mazda2 have climate control, auxiliary input jack, side guard door beams, single zone climate control, and power door locks. One advantage for the 2012 Toyota Yaris is the addition of an outside temperature gauge, something left out on Mazda2.

The Yaris also comes equipped with a cargo area light and an onboard computer, both of which are not available on the base trim Mazda2. The seatback storage is also standard on Yaris and missing entirely from Mazda2.

The front and rear headroom is virtually the same on both models. There is 39.3 inches of front headroom on the Yaris, compared to 39.1 on Mazda2. Hip room is also identical, but Mazda2 has about 87 cubic feet of interior volume compared to 84 cubic feet inside the Yaris.

Toyota Yaris Sport 2012

Safety For Driver And Passengers

Both Yaris and Mazda2 have the latest in safety technology built into the vehicle. Electronic brake distribution, 4-wheel ABS brakes, and seat belt height adjustors are standard on both models. Front deployment airbags and front side curtain airbags are included.

Halogen headlights are also standard on both Yaris and Mazda2. The vehicles have a low tire pressure indicator and pretensioners on the seat belts.

Warranty Information

Toyota and Mazda offer outstanding warranties on all models. Both Yaris and Mazda2 have an unlimited anti-corrosion protection no matter how many miles have been driven. The powertrain warranty is 60,000 miles on both vehicles, with a 36-month bumper-to-bumper protection plan.

Toyotas are highly regarded for their lengthy reliability. However, Mazdas have also proven to be reliable in recent years.

Pricing Information

The MSRP on Yaris is $14,875, and the ticker price for the 2012 Mazda2 base trim is $15,325. Comparably equipped, Mazda2 will cost on average about $450 more than Yaris. The resale value of Mazda2 is superior, however. Buyers will want to remember that the Yaris depreciates more rapidly, especially the base trim.

These two vehicles should be strongly considered in the compact hatchback class. The features are nearly identical, so buyers comparing a Toyota Yaris vs. Mazda Mazda2 will probably want to test-drive both models before making a choice about which car to purchase.

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Originally posted 2012-06-04 16:48:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2012 Hyundai Accent

The 2012 Hyundai Accent is an all-new generation of the model from the Korean automaker that is already on sale. Hyundai has made significant improvement for its subcompact for the 2012 model year. However, with improvements come a higher price. No longer is the Accent just a low cost play, it is now a value play.

Where as in 2011, the Accent had a starting MSRP of $9,985, making it the cheapest 2011 new car, the 2012 Accent starts at $12,445 for the GLS 4-door sedan. Two other trims are offered GS and SE, with both being 5-door hatchbacks. The top end SE has a starting MSRP of $15,795. It comes standard with power door locks, power windows, CD player, and air conditioning. The Accent is no longer offered as a 3-door hatchback.

2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB
2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB

With respect to exterior styling, the 2012 Accent adopts the company’s “fluidic sculpture” design theme. The Accent’s aerodynamic, distinctive styling now more closely resembles its corporate siblings: the Elantra and Sonata. On the inside, the Accept now offers best-in-class front and rear shoulder room and in hatchback from, it has best-in-class cargo volume, even larger than the Infiniti EX35.

Where the Accent has really stepped up is in its engine and transmissions. The 2012 model now offers the most powerful standard engine in the subcompact class. The engine is a 1.8-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower.

The 2012 Accent’s engine has 28 more horsepower than the 2011 model, making it 25% more powerful. In a horsepower comparison, its key competitors such as the Ford Fiesta (119 horsepower) and Honda Fit (117 horsepower) offer significantly less. Expect the Accent to have a 0-60 time under nine seconds, making it among the fastest in its class.

The Accent comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission with a six-speed automatic option on all trim lines. This efficient combination gives the Accent EPA rated fuel economy of 30-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.

2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB
2012 Hyundai Accent (USA)
Creative Commons License photo credit: theKCB

The Accent now offers great standard safety features such as ABS, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), and driver, passenger, and side airbags. The 2011 model did not even offer traction control or ESC. Due to its importance in preventing accidents, U.S. law requires all news cars to have standard ESC for 2012.

Similar to the Accent, the Kia Rio (Hyundai owns Kia), Kia Rio5, and Kia Soul see many improvements for 2012. To learn more about the 2012 Accent and see more pictures, check out Hyundia’s official website.

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Originally posted 2011-06-19 05:40:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2012 Safest Small Cars

Many people buy smaller cars for their lower price and higher fuel economy. But the historic perception of small cars is that they are not safe. New crash test data supports that small car safety continues to improve. We look at some of the 2012 safest small cars based on these tests.

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, a non-profit organization funded by auto insurers, conducts annual safety tests on new car models. The IIHS puts cars through frontal off-center, side impact, rear impact, and rollover resistance tests. The rear collision tests also evaluate how the seat/head restraints protect against injuries.

Small Car Crash Results

Already more than 115 car models have been tested, many of which are compact cars. Below are the safest small cars of 2012 in the compact class based on IIHS crash data reports:

Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Sonic
Ford Focus (4-door)
Honda Civic (4-door)
Honda CR-Z

2012 Ford Focus SEL
Creative Commons License photo credit: lotprocars

Hyundai Elantra
Kia Forte (sedan)
Kia Soul
Lexus CT200h
Mazda Mazda3

Mitsubishi Lancer (except Ralliart and Evolution),
Nissan Cube
Scion tC
Scion xB
Scion xD

Subaru Impreza (except WRX)
Toyota Corolla
Volkswagen Golf (4-door)
Volkswagen GTI (4-door)

2011 VW Golf GTI
Creative Commons License photo credit: MSVG

All of the above models scored “Good” in all crash tests and were named “Top Safety Picks 2012”. The Volkswagen Jetta and Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen were also top picks, but grouped into the “midsize moderately priced cars” category. The all-new Buick Verona is a compact model that was a top pick but was placed into the “moderately priced midsize” segment.

Other Safe Small Cars

In the “minicars” segment, the “Top Safety Picks” were:

Fiat 500 (built after July 2011)
Ford Fiesta (sedan & hatchback)
Honda Fit
Toyota Yaris hatchback (only 4-door models)

The good news for drivers is that more models than ever before made the “Top Safety Picks” list in 2012. If you purchase one of these 2012 safest small cars, you will likely have better protection for yourself and your passengers in the event of a vehicle collision. This is an important factor for many drivers.

For more information on this topic, see our Safest 2011 Small Cars article.

Originally posted 2012-02-24 20:58:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Safest 2011 Small Cars

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its top safety picks 2011 for vehicle models. More than 70 models are on the list including 15 subcompact and compact models, a new record. The IIHS considers these models the safest 2011 small cars. This award is an important designation as auto manufacturers use it to promote and sell their products. Safety is an important consideration for new car buyers.

The IIHS considers a model’s crash worthiness in making the ratings. Cars are tested for their performance in 30-40 mph front and side crashes, a rollover crash, and evaluation of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts of 20 mph. To make the 2011 list, a car model had to offer electronic stability control and receive a “Good” rating on all tests.

The IIHS has four different rating grades for vehicle models: good, acceptable, marginal or poor, based upon their performance in the above tests. History demonstrates that models that get “poor” ratings face considerable negative publicity and adverse affects on their sales. Car models are grouped by size and type on the list.

Automakers are quick to respond to the ratings. They want their cars to be on the top safety pick list and will make changes during the model year to address deficiencies. For example, at the beginning of the 2010 model year, only 27 vehicle models qualified for the award, but the number grew to 58 models on the list by the end of the model year as automakers reworked and tested their designs and introduced new models. However, some models have exceptions meaning that only certain trim lines or models with certain features qualified for the top safety pick designation.

There are several reasons for the increase in the number of models on the list in 2011. New federal laws requiring new cars having electronic stability control (ESC) are soon to take effect. Most new car models now offer standard ESC, traction control, ABS brakes, and driver, passenger, and side airbags. Also, automakers have worked to improve the roof structures in their cars.

According to the IIHS, the safest 2011 small care are: Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic 4-door models (except SI) with optional ESC, Kia Forte Sedan, Kia Soul, Mazda Mazda3 built after December 2010 (sedan and hatchback), Mini Cooper Countryman, Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive), Nissan Cube, Scion tC, Scion xB, Subaru Impreza (except WRX) sedan and wagon, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf 4-door models, and Volkswagen GTI 4-door models.

The Ford Fiesta (built after July 2010) sedan and hatchback and Volvo C30 both made the Top Safety Pick list but are classified as being in the “minicars” and “midsize cars” classes, respectively.

Japanese models fared well in small car safety ratings, comprising more than half of the models in the “small cars” category. More car models may be added to the list if they qualify later this model year. To learn more about these safest 2011 small cars and other models, the IIHS has nearly 200 2011 models rated on its website at http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx.

Originally posted 2011-04-05 16:29:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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