Posts Tagged ‘Subcompact Cars’
February 15th, 2013
The new 2013 Chevrolet Spark is the smallest Chevrolet production vehicle ever built, but General Motors has high hopes for its 38-mpg five-passenger mini-car. Why, exactly?
The Spark has not been a runaway hit, but in a segment that didn’t exist 5 years ago, its 2,000+ monthly sales volume is strong. But better still for GM’s bottom line, the car is bringing buyers into the Chevy ecosystem that would not have considered the brand’s other products.
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January 7th, 2013
Not only was the sub-$12,000 Nissan Versa the best-selling subcompact or micro-car of 2012, but it smashed the next-closest competitor by more than 30,000 units.
Nissan sold 113,327 of its little sedan and hatchback over the calendar year, and 10,618 in December alone. The Chevrolet Sonic was next at 81,247 units, followed by the third-place Hyundai Accent at 61,004. After Hyundai’s subcompact entry jumped in price with its recent redesign, the Versa is now the cheapest new car you can buy in the U.S. at $11,990 to start. And for buyers in a segment where price is often the most important consideration, that combined with far more standard features than the previous-generation Versa were enough to help Nissan remain on top.
The Fiat 500, the first U.S.-market model to come from the Italian automaker in decades, deserves recognition for its strong performance of 43,772 units, outselling entries from more-established small car players like Toyota and Kia.
|| Dec. 2012
||All of 2012
December 11th, 2012
At next month’s 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Honda will show an all-new concept previewing a new addition to the brand’s U.S. lineup: a smaller crossover SUV to slot in beneath the compact CR-V in size and price.
Called only the “Urban SUV Concept” for now, Honda’s latest will be built atop the platform underpinning the next-generation Fit subcompact, which is set to go on sale for the 2014 model year. Such “micro-crossovers,” like the new 2013 Buick Encore and upcoming Mazda CX-3, provide drivers with a high seating position, good efficiency and decent cargo capacity while maintaining length and width more along the lines of the Fit and other subcompacts.
The final production version will likely wear the Fit badge with some suffix. Today, Honda sells a car along these lines in other world markets called the Fit Shuttle. The next-gen Fit lineup will also expand to include a sedan, as Honda makes a push to sell 200,000 Fit-based subcompacts in the U.S. annually going forward.
November 30th, 2012
Hot on the heels of the new-for-2013 Ford Focus ST high-performance hatchback, the smaller Fiesta will release for the 2013 model year with a thorough makeover from Ford’s new worldwide ST performance division. Ford can boast that the Fiesta ST will have the largest power of any car in the subcompact segment, thanks to the brand’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder we like so much in the new 2013 Escape crossover.
As tuned for the Fiesta ST, this willing engine makes 197 horsepower and a healthy 214 lb-ft. of torque and comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Ford also recalibrated the Fiesta’s steering and suspension dynamics for a sportier ride, adding in 17-inch exclusive alloy wheels, SYNC with MyFord Touch and dual exhaust. With an estimated 34 highway mpg to go with its performance cred, the Fiesta ST should convince a whole new generation of young car nuts that Ford brings the goods.
Pricing information has not yet been released, but we’ll venture a guess at a hair under $19k. Look for the Fiesta ST in U.S. dealerships in mid-2013.
November 13th, 2012
American Honda’s long-term growth plans rest heavily on the shoulders of its smallest and cheapest model, the plucky little Fit subcompact. Company President Takanobu Ito says Honda expects to sell at least 200,000 of them annually in North America in the next four years, up from 64,177 units in 2011.
To reach that goal, Honda will not only release a totally redesigned Fit with better fuel efficiency next year, but at least one new body style within the lineup, confirmed to be a tall wagon/small crossover along the lines of the Fit Shuttle now available in Japan. Though the current second-generation Fit debuted back in 2008, it still holds up well against newer subcompacts like the Chevrolet Sonic and Kia Rio, thanks to its cavernous and innovative interior design and good driving dynamics.
Production for the U.S. market will move from Japan to a new facility in Mexico in 2014, which will allow Honda to sell the small car at a cheaper price point. The all-electric Fit EV is available now in very limited production, though we likely won’t see the new-generation hybrid version from other world markets.