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

Top 3 2012 Cars for Under $15,000

Car buyers on a budget have a lot of quality models to choose from. There are numerous subcompact 2012 cars under $15,000 with many of them with a surprising amount of advanced technology and safety features included. Those interested in buying a new car at the lowest possible price will be pleased at the selection offered by some of the most prominent auto manufacturers.

2012 Kia Rio Sedan

Kia, which is owned by Hyundai, introduced the Rio as a low-priced, fuel-efficient sedan that would compete favorably in the compact class. Over the years this car has been upgraded in terms of interior conveniences, yet the price for the Rio remains quite low. The Rio starts at around $13,300 for the base trim.

Interior of the 2012 Kia Rio

Interior of the 2012 Kia Rio photo: theKCB

The Rio’s engine has been upgraded for 2012 producing 138 horsepower, but the fuel efficiency is excellent. The Rio averages about 40-mpg gallon highway and nearly 30 mpg on city streets. There are eight exterior color options, each of which complements the interior beige or black very nicely.

Standard features include a full set of airbags, child safety components such as tethers and anchors for booster seats, manual air conditioning and cloth seats. The up-level SX will cost just above $15,000 but features a CD player, automatic headlights, audio controls mounted on the steering wheel, delayed courtesy lighting, and keyless entry.

Rio carries an exceptional 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the power train. The car’s resale value is modest, but many owners can keep their Rio for years without any thought of trading up. Drivers on a budget would also be wise to consider the Hyundai Accent.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan

The 2012 Chevy Sonic is one of the best buys for under $15,000. The base trim starts at just under $14,000, with the up-level LTZ going for around $18,600. The Sonic offers drivers over 40-mpg highway fuel efficiency with a 138 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Standard features on the base trim include a rear window defogger, pass-through rear seat, AM/FM stereo, front reading lamps, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Sonic also comes with a trial subscription to satellite radio, and the safety equipment includes front and side airbags, child safety door locks, and a full OnStar® system.

Driver side interior of the 2012 Chevy Sonic

Driver side interior of the 2012 Chevy Sonic photo: peltierchevy

Automatic headlights and daytime running lights are standard equipment on the bases trim. The Stabilitrak® electronic stability system is also included. The Sonic has become quite popular with the younger crowd, and the resale value is quite good. It also offers excellent safety features, and is among the safest 2012 small cars.

2012 Ford Fiesta

With a starting price of under $13,200, the 2012 Ford Fiesta offers buyers a roomy interior, plenty of cargo space, and a good number of interior conveniences. Although quite compact in size, the Fiesta has a surprising amount of storage area. This sedan is one of the lowest priced automobiles on the market today.

The base trim has a 1.6L engine that delivers a total of 120 horsepower. The car gets about 38-mpg highway regardless of the transmission type selected. The steering wheel is manual tilt, the air conditioning is electronically activated, and the power door locks have an optional auto-lock feature. The 2011 Fiesta was an all-new model for the U.S.

Front quarter view of the 2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta photo: Stradablog

Many of the lowest priced cars on the market have very few standard convenience features unless the buyer chooses an up-level trim. These top 3 2012 cars under $15,000 have excellent fuel economy, come with a superior warranty, and will retain their value well comparable to other models. The cheapest new car of 2012, the Nissan Versa sedan, did not make our list.

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Originally posted 2012-04-08 01:17:55. 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

New Civic For 2012

With all-new or substantially revised models such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, and Ford Focus having been released in the past year, the compact car class is really heating up. When Honda announced they were releasing a new Civic for 2012, the expectations were high. The Civic has been one of the best selling compacts for years.

The Civics last generation debuted in 2006 and was a striking change in design and a move forward for the compact class. It offered more room and more power with better fuel economy. The model went on to win the 2006 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award and has been a huge success. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the new generation Civic is only a subtle design change from 2011.

Honda has made minor changes to the Civic’s front fascia and headlights. The rear end is noticeably different, similar to the Accord. Despite reducing its wheelbase by about an inch, the 2012 Civic has more interior hip room and shoulder room up front, and overall has 3.7 more cubic feet of passenger space. The Civic has more rear legroom than many of its competitors. Perhaps the most noticeable change in the 2012 Civic outside of the exterior tweaks is the control panel, which has a different layout than the 2011 model.

What is surprising is that Honda made no real changes to the engine. While competitors have upped the ante raising power while still improving fuel economy, Honda has only worked on improving fuel economy. The Civic retains its 1.8-liter 140 horsepower four-cylinder engine producing 140 horsepower. In comparison, the 2012 Focus offers a 2.0-liter 160 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Honda has improved fuel economy for the 2012 Civic, keeping it inline with many of its competitors. It is rated at 28-mpg city and 39-mpg highway, a significant improvement over the 26/34 returned from the 2011 model. Honda was able to do this despite still just offering a five-speed manual and five-speed automatic transmissions. Many of its competitors offer a six-speed automatic transmission. The Civic HF model, which is designed for extra efficiency, returns 29-mpg city and 41-mpg highway. To help maximize fuel economy, Honda has installed its Eco Assist System on every new Civic, except the Si trim.

The MSRP for the 2012 Civic LX is $18,605 with destination. This is only $100 more than the 2011 model, making it worth it for prospective buyers to await the arrival of the 2012 Civic in their local dealer lots. Honda has decided to not offer a hatchback version of the model, unlike many of its competitors. While the all-new Civic for 2012 is not a dramatic departure from the 2011 model, it continues to raise the bar for the compact class.

Originally posted 2011-04-25 12:06:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Most Reliable Compact Cars

Consumer Reports 2010 Vehicle Reliability Survey shows what their research indicates are the most reliable compact cars. Despite the troubles Toyota faced with recalls last year, Asian automakers continue to score well in reliability ratings. They are again in the lead although American automakers have made improvements. Seven of the top ten makes for 2011 predicted reliability are Asian automakers.

According to Consumer Reports, the top ten most reliable car companies are:

1. Scion
2. Porsche
3. Acura
4. Honda
5. Infiniti
6. Toyota
7. Subaru
8. Volvo
9. Lexus
10. Ford

Scion, the number one overall brand which is made by Toyota, sells only compact and subcompact models, which are primarily aimed at younger buyers. Scion’s most reliable model was found to be the xD while its least reliable model was the xB. Another standout among small cars was the Toyota Yaris, which was the make’s top rated model. Hyundai, Mazda, Kia, and Nissan finished in 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th places, respectively, in the rankings.

In terms of the least reliable subcompact and compact cars, Mini finished 25th out of 27 automakers. Its worst ranked model was the Mini Cooper Convertible. Chrysler finished in last place. For Chevrolet, which finished in 17th place, the subcompact Aveo was its lowest ranked model for reliability. Subaru models were round to be reliable with only the Impreza WRX model falling below average. The Nissan Cube did not fare well in its first year of being rated, finishing as the least reliable of Nissan’s models.

Despite the Asian automaker’s dominance in the ratings, U.S. automakers made significant strides in reliability from previous years. Chevy had 83% of its model lineup received scores of average or better. Ford, the 9th place finisher, had 90% of its model lineup received scores of average or better. However, not a single Chrysler product was able to receive a reliability rating higher than average. European brands were a mixed bag.

Consumer Reports is a leading authority on product reviews. The magazine only recommends models that have performed well in road tests, safety tests, and have a score of average or better in predicted reliability based on its annual survey

Reliability is an important factor for car buyers, as they want their car to last and be as trouble free as possible. High reliability ratings can help automakers sell cars. These most reliable compact cars mentioned herein are worth considering if you are in the market for a small car.

Originally posted 2011-04-20 16:37:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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