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

Safe 2013 Small Cars

Small cars have a reputation for being less safe in accidents. Modern technology has solved many of the safety deficiencies as far as body construction is concerned. The smallest compacts now have advanced crumple zone engineering, side-impact door beams, and numerous better-positioned airbags.

The 2013 models have been put to the test by the IIHS, with the results showing good to excellent scores for a number of models. Here is a short list of what most experts consider to be three of the safest small cars of 2013. All have performed well in frontal, side, rear, and rollover crash tests, and each model has some very innovative safety technology built in.

2013 Dodge Dart R/T - CIAS 2012

Dodge Dart

Dodge reintroduced this old favorite for the 2013 model year, but elderly consumers will hardly recognize this new compact. It bears little resemblance to the Dart of old, is full of standard convenience features, and contains well-designed safety components.

The 2013 Dart received good to excellent scores on all of the IIHS crash tests. This model is redefining what overall safety and security means in a compact vehicle. One of the few cars available with 10 airbags, Dart also comes with a highly advanced, stiff-formed safety cage and includes the revolutionary reactive headrests.

Optional safety equipment on the up-level trims includes blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection. All three of the rear seat positions have head restraints, the rear seating area is equipped with the LATCH system for child safety, and electronic stability control. Experts agree that the overall traction control experienced when driving this model over slick roadways is superior to most other small cars on the market.

Prius c WAS 2012 0647

Toyota Prius C

The 2012 offering is carried over for the 2013 Prius C model, which is one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market. It’s also equally impressive in its ability to withstand high impacts while keeping occupants safe. This hybrid model achieved good IIHS test scores for front and side impacts, is full of brand new safety technology, and is offered with an extremely affordable price tag.

Prius is equipped with the Star Safety System™ which includes traction control, electronic stability, electronic brakeforce distribution, and brake assist. The driver and front passenger occupy seats designed with whiplash protection engineering, and all seating positions have 3-point seat belts.

The Prius C is manufactured with high-tensile steel body panels, features a front crumple zone, and includes a specially designed roof strengthening system that minimizes damage should a rollover occur. Standard equipment includes rear door child-proof locks, a total of nine airbags, vehicle proximity warning, and daytime running lights.

2013 Subaru BRZ

Subaru BRZ

The new Subaru BRZ earned a Top Safety Pick and is loaded with standard safety/security features. This model scored very high on crash tests and impressed critics from all corners of the automotive industry.

This sporty coupe looks a bit daring and dangerous, but once consumers examine the list of safety features, impressions turn to admiration and awe. The 2013 Subaru BRZ is equipped with frontal, seat-mounted, and side-curtain airbags, tilt-adjustable active head restraints, height-adjustable 3-point seat belts, and the LATCH system in the rear seating area.

The model comes with vehicle stability control, daytime running lights, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, and tire pressure monitor. The 2013 Subaru BRZ earned the IIHS top award for safety in the smaller, 2-door model segment. The BRZ’s sister model is the Scion FR-S.

Originally posted 2013-01-16 14:36:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

2011 Ford Fiesta

The 2011 Ford Fiesta is an all-new subcompact car. It comes to North American markets after success in other parts of the world. Ford has already sold more than 500,00 Fiestas to customers in Europe and Asia. Due to its success and increasing U.S. demand for affordable, fuel-efficient cars, Ford has increased production of the Fiesta lineup.

The Fiesta is offered in five trim lines with either four door sedan or five door hatchback versions. A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 119 horsepower powers the Fiesta. Standard features include power locks, air-conditioning, ABS brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, and driver, passenger, and side airbags

The Fiesta comes standard with a five speed manual or there is an optional six-speed automatic transmission. With the automatic transmission and Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS), the Fiesta is rated at 29-mpg city and 40-mpg highway. It is currently one of only a few gas-engine vehicles on the road that reaches the 40-mpg highway plateau.

The Fiesta S Sedan has a starting suggested retail price of $13,320 while its top trim line the SES Hatchback has an MSRP of $17,120. The SES comes standard with power windows with a leather seat option. The Fiesta received a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, one of only two subcompacts to earn the award, the other being the Mini Cooper.

The Fiesta shares some parts with the Mazda2, which is a new subcompact hatchback from Mazda. Ford owns a small percentage of Mazda and the two companies have a strategic partnership through joint ventures and exchanges of technological information. However, there are many differences in these models. They have separate styling and separate engines. Also, the Fiesta is assembled in Mexico while the Mazda2 is assembled in Japan.

Early sales of the Fiesta in North America have been favorable. Gas prices have risen considerably in recent months and Fiesta sales have been strong, especially in California, the nation’s largest state. California typically sees some of the country’s highest gas prices. The Fiesta has also received mostly good reviews from the automotive press.

Originally posted 2011-03-22 15:53:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Cheapest New Pickups of 2012

We normally talk about compact and subcompact cars on this blog but if you are looking for cargo carrying capacity, pickup trucks can be a necessity. Today, buyers have fewer small pickups to choose from than in years past. The demand for compact and mid-size trucks has dwindles over the years and now the Ford Ranger is not even being sold in the U.S.

However, many of the current compact and mid-size 2012 model pickup trucks are quite affordable, carry an adequate payload, and have a good resale value. Below we look at the 3 cheapest new pickups of 2012 and their starting prices.

2012 Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma

Ever since it was introduced, Toyota’s Tacoma model has been a solid seller in the U.S.. Starting at under $17,000, this pick-up is one of the most affordable on the market and carries with Toyota’s reputation for reliability. The regular cab trim has a surprising number of standard features, with options available that begin to increase the price to some degree.

The exterior of this model includes such standard equipment as halogen headlamps, sheet-molded composite inner bed, a full deck rail system, fixed cargo bed tie-downs, and rear mud flaps. For a few extra dollars consumers will receive dual rear-hinged access doors and power outside mirrors. The base model comes with 15-inch steel wheels, with the up-level trims equipped with 16-inch or 17-inch alloy wheels.

Air conditioning is standard on the base model. The interior of the cab includes a nice AM/FM audio system with CD player. The front bench seat is 4-way adjustable, and the analog instrumentation panel has a LCD display with a clock and trip meter.

The Tacoma comes standard with a four-cylinder engine that gets EPA-estimated fuel economy of 21-mpg city and 25-mpg highway. Step up to a more powerful V6 trim with front-wheel drive and fuel economy drops to 17-mpg city and 21-mpg highway.

Tacoma is equipped advanced stability control, brake assist and smart stop technology. The cab has side-impact door beams, 3-point seatbelts, and front airbags. All in all, Tacoma offers buyers a lot for the money.

2012 Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet Colorado

The Colorado starts at under $18,000 and is loaded with standard features. The Colorado ranks high among the cheap new pickups, with advanced safety equipment, good payload capacity, and rather good fuel economy.

Colorado is available with a 2.9L, 4-cylinder engine that cranks out 185 horsepower. The 4-wheel drive is supported by torsion bar front suspension and multi-leaf rear suspension. Traction control and the Stabilitrak® electronic stability system is standard on both the 1WT and 1LT trims.

The cab is nicely appointed. Cruise control, 60/40 bench seats, and single zone climate control are all standard. The steering wheel is adjustable and has a nice leather wrap.

Head curtain side airbags are located in both front and rear. The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado has a standard anti-theft protection system and an advanced tire pressure-monitoring sensor. This is one of the most fully stocked pickups for the price paid.

2012 GMC Canyon Work Truck

GMC Canyon Work Truck

GMC Canyon with a Fancy Grille

The Canyon is the sister model to the Colorado. GMC offers buyers the choice of a modestly priced pickup truck capable of hauling heavy loads. The Canyon Work Truck is the base trim, with the SLE-1 and SLE-2 models costing a bit more. The 2.9L engine delivers 185 horsepower, and the 5-speed manual transmission is standard.

The truck has a maximum payload of 1,429 pounds and can tow well over twice this weight. Cruise control is standard on all trims, and the OnStar® subscription includes the Directions and Connections® plan. Canyon is one of the best cheap new pickups available when all the convenience features of the base model are taken into account.

Making the Decision

The cheapest new pickup trucks do not all perform equally well, nor do they have the highest resale value. The models mentioned above have received favorable customer reviews, but none of them have an extraordinary amount of horsepower. They do get reasonably good gas mileage, have excellent safety features, and are built tough enough to get the job done.

One word of caution with this vehicle category is that prices can bet quickly more expensive as you add features such as all-wheel drive, four-doors, and more options.
Other compact and mid-size pickup trucks to consider include the Nissan Frontier and the Suzuki Equator (built on the Frontier platform). Both of these models start at under $20,00.

If you have a larger budget, the Honda Ridgeline is a good choice. The models starts at a price near $30,000 but does come standard with four-doors and a powerful V6 engine.

Which is your favorite 2012 pickup with a starting price under $20,000?

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Originally posted 2012-03-23 10:09:12. 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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