2012 Scion iQ

If you are looking for a 2-door subcompact, there is another model to choose this fall. The all-new 2012 Scion iQ will go on sale offering a stylish design, a host of modern standard features, great fuel economy, and Toyota reliability. The iQ will be the world’s smallest four-seat vehicle making it a great commuter vehicle.

The 2012 iQ is not really competing for price, it is competing for value, styling, and features. The model will not be among the cheapest new cars. The iQ is really aimed to take on other premium micro sub-compact models such as the Mini Cooper. The model will come nicely equipped with a starting MSRP of $15,995 including destination. This is several thousand dollars more than the larger scion xD and just a few hundred dollars less than the much larger Scion xB.

2011 Scion IQ
Creative Commons License photo credit: MSVG
2011 Scion IQ
Creative Commons License photo credit: MSVG

The iQ features a class-leading 10 standard air bags including the world’s first rear-window curtain airbag. Air bags will also be for the front and rear head, and dual front side. Its impressive list of safety features also includes ABS, vehicle stability control, traction control, emergency brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, and child seat anchors.

The 2012 iQ will offer a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that delivers 90 horsepower. Fuel economy has not been published at this time but expect the iQ to be the most fuel efficient gas powered model on the road.

The iQ will come standard with 14” wheels, leather steering wheel, an MP3 player, and reclining rear seats. Despite having a tiny rear cargo area of 9.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats, this is larger than the Mini Cooper or Smart fortwo. The iQ has a total maximum cargo capacity of 25.7 cubic fee. The model’s curb weight is 2,295 pounds, which is several hundred pounds lighter than a Mazda MX-5 Miata.

The iQ will go on sale in four phases in the U.S., starting with the West Coat in October, the South in January, and the East and Midwest shortly thereafter. The iQ’s competitors include the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, Smart fortwo, and Mazda Mazda2. The iQ is larger than the two-door Toyota Yaris but smaller than the Smart.

Which is your favorite under $20,000 premium micro subcompact model?

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Originally posted 2011-07-17 06:51:29. 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

2012 Mini Coupe

Mini Cooper sales are still strong as the model enters its 11th model year since its re-launch in 2002. The Mini brand, which is owned by BMW, has since expanded beyond the Cooper, the turbo-charged Cooper S, the John Cooper Works, and the Cooper convertible, to new models such as the larger Cooper Clubman and the new Mini SUV in 2011, the Countryman.

Mini is adding the two-seat 2012 Mini Coupe to its lineup for the new model year. The model is based off the Cooper, which is a four-seat hatchback model, with a similar front end and the same engines but sits an inch lower, has a rear spoiler, and a more sporty appearance.

Fuel efficiency is expected to be better a couple mpg better in the Coupe than the more traditional Cooper. The Coupe base gets EPA estimated fuel economy of 30-mpg city and 39-mpg highway with the six–speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is also offered. Expect a Mini Coupe 0-60 time of about 8 seconds in base form.

The 2012 Mini Coupe has a starting MSRP of $22,000, about $2,000 more than the Cooper. With its lighter weight and lower profile, expect the Coupe to have superior handling than even the Cooper’s famously go-kart like agility.

Mini recently celebrated the production of the 2,000,000th modern Cooper. British Prime Minister David Cameron drove the model off the assembly line floor and Mini plans to hold a contest to give away the car. The model is a convertible and has a special Two Million Mini paint job and a special interior only found in this car.

The 2012 Mini Cooper is largely a carryover from the 2011 model. It offers the same 1.6-liter 121 horsepower four-cylinder base engine, the 1.6-liter 181 horsepower Cooper S, and the 1.6-liter 208 horsepower John Cooper Works trims. A convertible model is available in all trim lines.

The 2012 Cooper does offer new option packages and customization options for the interior surface, upholstery, and exterior colors. It also has an optional rear view mirror with digital compass. Mini enthusiasts can even add an 8-gear collapsible bike that fits into the back of the hatchback.

The Mini is not one of the cheapest new cars but it has helped reshape the public’s perception of small hatchbacks making them fun, luxurious, and sporty. The brand’s sales success has helped lead to the explosive growth in the small car market, moving it beyond just basic, cheap transportation.

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Originally posted 2011-09-02 23:28:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Best 2012 Compact Cars

Compact cars are now out selling midsize cars, which is a big shift for the U.S. market. As car prices rise and middle class incomes stagnate, buyers are looking to stay within their budgets and purchase more affordable, fuel-miserly cars. Unlike midsize models, most compact models are also offered in hatchback form, which offers buyers more choices and utility.

In 2010, there was a combined total of nearly 700,000 Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Ford Focus sold in the U.S. This is an impressive figure and the numbers look to be up even more for compact cars in 2011. But with all the competition out there are these three models really the best compact cars?

Competition is fierce and the push to get new models to market is swift. You can already purchase new generation 2012 Ford Focus and the new generation 2012 Honda Civic at your local dealer. The 2012 Mazda3 will offer a more fuel-efficient and more powerful base engine.

Toyota is not debuting an all-new Corolla until 2013 and the pressure is on for them to take a big step forward with the model. The model’s engine has changed little since 2003. Production delays from the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami have hampered Honda, Toyota and other Japanese automakers.

At the wheel
Creative Commons License photo credit: brownpau
Creative Commons License photo credit: irrezolut

Our votes for the three best 2012 compact cars are:

1. Hyundai Elantra – The Elantra has a stylish modern design and sophistication with great features and luxurious interior. For less than $21,000, the Elantra Limited offers heated front and rear leather seats, a navigation system, and backup camera. There are very few cars under $40,000 that offer this feature making the car a great value. The Elantra is also lauded for its comfortable ride and offers fuel economy of 29-mpg city and 40-mpg highway.

2. Honda Civic – The 2012 Civic is lighter, quieter, roomier, and more-fuel efficient than the 2011 Civic. Despite not increasing its power, Honda has made the existing 1.8-liter, 140 horsepower several miles per gallon more efficient. The model’s five-speed automatic transmission is now antiquated in this class.

3. Mazda Mazda3 – The Mazda3 has perennially been ranked near the top of the compact class since it debuted in 2004. The 2012 Mazda3 features new SkyActiv engine technology, which boosts power while increasing fuel-economy. The 2012 model also has improvements in suspension and steering for better ride quality and greater aerodynamics.

While deciding the best 2012 compact cars is subjective, the Elantra, Civic, and Mazda3 are three great choices in this class. The Elantra is also offered in station wagon form as the Elantra Touring. The Civic is only offered in coupe and sedan forms. Honda buyers will have to opt for the Fit for a hatchback. The Mazda 3 is offered in four-door sedan and hatchback forms.

For fuel-efficient minded drivers, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a best compact car choice. It offers fuel economy of 30-mpg city and 42-mph highway, which is better than many hybrid models, for an MSRP of $22,995. Its turbo-charged diesel engine generates a lot of torque for spirited acceleration. According to Motor Trend, the Jetta TDI has a 0-60 time of 8 seconds, which is faster than most of its compact competitors. The Jetta also has the largest cargo volume of any compact sedan model.

What Do You Think is the Best 2012 Compact Car?

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Originally posted 2011-06-06 13:34:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2012 Ford Focus

The 2012 Ford Focus is an important vehicle for the automaker. It is Ford’s compact car that is sold globally in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback forms. Compact cars are popular in world markets as they are less expensive and more fuel-efficient than midsize or large cars. With rising gas prices, they are a key segment in the U.S. market as well. The Focus is significantly redesigned for 2012.

The 2012 Focus has received mostly excellent reviews from the automotive press. In addition to is sleek styling and solid engine performance the Focus has also garnered positive feedback for its modern, chic interior. Ford has taken the model slightly more upscale offering a new Titanium trim line. One critique has been that the Focus can get rather expensive, near $25,000, in top Titanium trim line with added options.

The 2012 Focus’ engine is a real stand out in the compact class. All current trim lines have the normally aspirated 2.0-liter 160 horsepower four-cylinder engine. The engine is now the most powerful base engine in the compact sedan class, slightly higher than the 155 horsepower engine in the 2012 Mazda3. In comparison, the 2012 Honda Civic has a 1.8-liter 140 horsepower four-cylinder engine that despite having twenty less horsepower gets very similar fuel economy to the Focus. Expect a Focus 0-60 time to be about 7.5 seconds.

The Focus’ engine produces good power for the compact class while returning excellent fuel economy. With the optional six-speed automatic transmission, the Focus gets 28-mpg city and 38-mpg highway. With the five-speed manual, the Focus is rated at 26-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. Ford has utilized technology from the automakers’ EcoBoost turbo-charge engine program such as twin variable valve timing and a specially-ported intake manifold to increase air flow, helping to boost the Focus’ power.

In the U.S., the 2012 Focus is offered in four trim levels for both sedan and hatchback body styles. The sedan is available in S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trims. The hatchback comes in SE, SEL, and Titanium trims. The hatchback is about $800 more than the sedan trims but offers significantly more cargo room without compromising fuel economy.

The S trim is the entry-level sedan that has an MSRP of $16,270, which comes standard with air conditioning, CD player, power front windows (manual rear), and a five-speed manual transmission. Even in this trim, the Focus comes standard with great safety features such as ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, and driver, passenger, and side airbags.

Each trim line adds more features. The SEL sedan, which has an MRSP of $20,270 comes with the Ford sync entertainment and communication system, MyFord driver connect system, fog lights, dual-zone automatic climate control, and alloy wheels, among other features. The top line Titanium trim, which has a starting MSRP in hatchback form of $22,765, adds features that include keyless access and starting, Sirius and HD radio, 10-speaker Sony audio system, rear spoiler, and 17″ tires. However, leather seats, power seats, sunroof, and a navigation system are still optional features.

The 2012 Focus is definitely worth taking a look at if you are considering a new compact or even subcompact sedan or hatchback. It offers a responsive engine and handling, sleek styling, great fuel economy, and a variety of trim lines to meet your needs. In addition to the Civic and Mazda3, the Focus’ competitors include the Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Corolla, Kia Forte, and Subaru Impreza.

Originally posted 2011-05-02 09:45:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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