New Yaris for 2012

Entering its sixth model year in the U.S., the subcompact Toyota Yaris is being redesigned for 2012. Unfortunately, it will not be on sale until late in 2011 giving newly designed 2012 competitors the Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic an edge out of the gates.

The 2012 Yaris will sport a redesigned exterior and interior improvement. Its power train and underpinnings are largely expected to carryover from the 2011 model, but expect better fuel economy. The 2011 model has a 1.5-liter 106 horsepower four-cylinder engine across all trim lines.

The 2011 Yaris gets EPA rated fuel economy of 29-mpg city and 36-mpg highway with the five-speed manual and 29/35 with an automatic transmission. Toyota is working on an ultra efficient 1.3-liter engine with start-stop technology but that is not expected to debut in North America for a few years.

Expect Toyota to do something about the antiquated optional four-speed automatic transmission in the 2011 Yaris. The Yaris currently offers a less powerful engine than nearly all its competitors without offering better fuel economy. Perhaps a continuously variable transmission will be in the offing to replace the four-speed auto to get the model to the 40-mpg highway range.

The 2011 Yaris is offered in six trim lines with a three-door hatch, five-door hatch, and four-door sedan. While the five-door hatch and four-door sedan will be seen in the 2012 Yaris, it is unknown whether the bargain priced three-door hatch will continue. The Yaris is known as the Vitz in its home market of Japan.

Toyota Vitz RS 1.5 2007
Creative Commons License photo credit: Peter Zoon

Expect the 2012 Yaris to have a starting MSRP in the $14,000 range when it debuts late this fall. Toyota has been starting to get production back on track after the fallout from the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Yaris is assembled in Japan. Other competitors include the Ford Fiesta, Mazda Mazda2, and Honda Fit.

Originally posted 2011-07-07 00:27:50. 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.

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

2013 Chevy Spark

While the new subcompact 2012 Chevy Sonic debuts this fall replacing the Aveo and Aveo5, Chevy is going even smaller for the 2013 model year. The 2013 Chevy Spark will debut in the U.S. during the 2012 calendar year.

The Spark will be basic, no frills transportation catering to the frugal car shopper and first time buyers. It will offer one of the smallest, most fuel-efficient gas engines in the U.S. The model’s 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine is expected to output 80 horsepower. This is smaller than even the tiny but more upscale 2012 Scion iQ, which will offer a 1.3-liter 90 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Expect the Spark’s fuel economy to be in the mid 30-mpg range for city driving and mid 40-mpg in highway driving. The model will come standard with a five-speed manual and is expected to offer a six-speed automatic as well.

Despite it being aimed to compete on price, expect the Spark to offer iPod connectivity, Bluetooth, and OnStar navigation as options. Photos of the Spark show the model has the familiar Chevy grille but with very large headlights.

The Spark will be offered as a five-door hatchback without a sedan trim. This is in contrast to the larger Sonic, which will be offered in both sedan and hatchback trims. The Sonic will also offer two engine choices, with both being about 55 horsepower more powerful than the Spark. The Sonic is definitely the choice among the two for enthusiast drivers, although it will have a starting price of approximately $2,500 more.

If you are looking for a lot of interior room, the Spark will not be your top choice. The model measures only 143 inches long, just shy of twelve feet. This is nearly a foot shorter than the outgoing Aveo5 and even several inches smaller than the three-door Mini Cooper. However, the Spark is a good three feet longer than the diminutive Smart fortwo.

The Spark’s anticipated starting MSRP is $12,000, which will make it among the cheapest new cars. This will definitely put Chevy back in the ballgame when it comes to a low starting price pint, especially as models such as other subcompact models such as the 2012 Hyundai Accent have put more emphasis on features and quality rather than starting price.

The Spark is already on sale in European markets. The Spark’s economical, fuel-efficient nature makes it appealing in global markets and Chevy anticipates selling the car in more than 100 countries around the world by 2013. Korean automaker Daewoo builds the Spark, as they also built in the Aveo and Aveo5. This is contrast to the Sonic, which is assembled in the U.S. at Chevy’s Michigan Orion Assembly Plant.

The right-hand-drive Spark will be assembled at GM’s Port Elizabeth, South Africa Plant beginning in early 2012. The right-hand-drive Spark will be marketed in South Africa and exported to Asia-Pacific markets such as Australia and New Zealand.

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Originally posted 2011-07-29 13:29:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Cheap Convertibles

With warmer days and sunny skies, spring is the time of year where people get out side more and start thinking about how great it would be to have a convertible. The ability to fully enjoy the sunshine, have the wind running through your hair, and get fresh air are big draws. However, with regards to new cars, the number of cheap convertibles is limited. Only two convertible models currently start at a price below $20,000 and European manufacturers make both.

The cheapest convertible among new cars is the Smart Fortwo Passion Cabriolet. It is also the smallest convertible and has an MRSP of $17,690 for the 2011 model. The Fortwo Passion Cabriolet comes standard with a 1.0-liter 70 horsepower gas engine that is rated at 33-mpg city and 41-mpg highway. It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning (in case it gets too hot), power windows, and power door locks. It also offers an optional navigation system. The Fortwo Passion Cabriolet comes with standard safety features that include ABS brakes, traction control, electronic stability controls, and driver, passenger, and side airbags.

The second cheapest convertible in America has just arrived – the 2012 Fiat 500c. This four seat eccentrically styled “mini car” starts at an MSRP of $19,500. The 500c features a dual layer multi-position power-retractable cloth top. This model is designed to deliver all-season driving and has a wide glass backlight to allow for visibility as good as the 500 hatchback. It has the same engine as the hatchback, a 101 horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which gets an EPA rated 30-mpg city and 38-mpg highway.

Chrysler dealers will sell the Fiat. Fiat is an Italian automaker that has recently returned to the American marketplace. The company owns a 30% share in Chrysler. According to Chrysler, the top of the 500c can be retracted to the rear spoiler at speeds of up to 60 mph. Buyers of the 500c can choose from three exterior soft-top colors and 14 exterior colors.

Surprisingly the third cheapest convertible is an SUV. The Jeep Wrangler Sport has an MSRP of $22,065. It has a soft top, which is a lot of fun with its off-road capability and higher vantage point. However, The Wrangler’s fuel economy for 2011 is rated at 15-mpg city and 19-mpg highway.

If you move up in price to the $25,000 price range, consider the Mini Cooper Convertible and the excellent Mazda MX-5 Miata hardtop convertible. The Miata is also offered with a retractable hardtop. In the $30,000 range, the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and the Mini Cooper S convertible are all solid choices. In the $35,000 range, buyers have the choices of additional models such as the Volkswagen Eos and Nissan Z.

If you are on a more limited budget, you can find cheap convertibles by buying used models. However, demand is highest for convertibles this time of year. Better deals can be had when demand is lower after the summer season. But if you can’t wait, these cheap convertibles can really help you enjoy the nice weather.

Originally posted 2011-05-05 17:29:44. 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

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