AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The week is drawing to a close and while that can mean several things, most importantly (of course), it’s time for another installment of Ask AutoGuide, the information superhighway’s most exciting semi-regular feature. Beating the competition to market with mildly informative and generally accurate content is the name of the game. Our skilled geniuses are ready to spread their expertise like frosting on a sheet cake; just scoop it out of the tub and smear it all around.
Back Seat Space
A couple weeks ago our Top 10 target was the large-sedan segment. We looked at a diverse lineup of full-figured four doors, comparing them based on their theoretical maximum range. We multiplied the number of gallons in their respective fuel tanks by each of their highway economy ratings.
Against all expectations the Volkswagen Passat TDI drove away with top honors, and it did so by a wide margin. It wasn’t just the comparison’s valedictorian; it skipped two grades took all AP classes and still wound up with a GPA of 4.2. This diesel-powered “People’s Car” can devour nearly 800 miles on a single tank!
On the other hand, today’s big idea is small. We’re examining cars at the opposite end of the spectrum, specifically C-Segment sedans. We’re comparing a crowd of popular compacts based on, wait for it… rear-seat legroom! Which popularly priced car offers the most-spacious back bench? Which one will give an agoraphobic night terrors? Click ahead for all the details you can stomach.
10. Mazda2: 1.5L (1498 cc)
The motors in these vehicles don’t pack much power, or torque, and are all aimed to use the least amount of fuel. These cars are all ranked in order, right down to the cubic centimeter from most displacement, to least, so take a look below, to see the list of smallest engines available today.
The subcompact Mazda2 is the first on our list, with the biggest engine here. Thanks to its 1498cc four-cylinder engine, the Mazda2 makes 100-hp at 6000 rpm. Of course, that’s not much but what else do you need in a 2300-lb city car? The Mazda2 starts at $14,530 which isn’t too much for a car that gets 29/35 mpg city/highway with the manual or 28/34 mpg city/highway with the auto.
Your shoes say a lot about you – including the type of car you drive, at least, that’s what Italian writer and shoe design analyst Andrea Silvuni thinks – she believes you can learn a lot about a person’s character from their shoes and their choice of wheels.
The initial investigation covered 177,000 vehicles from the 2011 model year, but NHTSA is now expanding the investigation to include the 2012 model year raising the total figure to 370,000 vehicles under investigation.
The total number of fires reported still remains at two, both incidents where the vehicle caught on fire while being driven and resulted in total losses. Fortunately in both incidents the driver and its passengers were able to escape the vehicle without injury.
We have however received quite a bit of attention on a previous post about Chevy Cruze fires, with one commenter even posting a video of his Cruze burning. It looks as though this is a serious issue, which has many cases that have gone unreported.
NHTSA will continue to investigate before reporting its findings to the government. It may take up to six months before a recall is issued, if NHTSA believes the Cruze does have a defect.
For what seems like forever, North America has been left behind when it comes to diesel cars. Sure there are a few options, but nowhere near as many as our friends in Europe. In fact, according to the Automotive Industry Data Newsletter, 52% of all new car sales last year in Western Europe were diesel powered.
Diesel engines offer unique advantages, with plenty of torque making tiny power plants more useable in small cars, while making modest size engines a functional alternative to much larger gasoline ones in SUVs. Towing, after all, is not something hybrids are known for. Additionally, diesel engines can provide fuel economy closer to that of a hybrid, without any of the worries surrounding new technology; plus, there’s no battery pack compromising passenger or storage space.
With those advantages, not to mention a push by automakers to meet increasingly strict corporate average fuel economy standards, a slew of diesel models are set to arrive on our shores in the near future. If you’re considering the switch to diesel power, here are a few options you’ll soon be able to consider.
Possible engine fires in the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze are being investigated by NHTSA after two have been completely destroyed.
Luckily no injuries have been reported with the fires, which Cruze owners are reporting began while the cars were moving. One complaint from a Cruze owner said, “The car was totally engulfed within five minutes of stopping, and it was only after the first sign of fire was visible that the warning light on the dashboard illuminated.” The driver was 30 miles into a 43-mile trip.
If there is indeed a recall on the Cruze, it could be a costly one depending on the defect. Chevrolet sold 177,000 2011 Cruzes and is cooperating with the investigation.
The third variant of the world’s favorite Chevrolet has made its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The Chevrolet Cruze station wagon will join the existing sedan and hatchback which together have sold more than 1-million globally since its launch in 2009.
Unfortunately America won’t be watching creative commercials featuring the Cruze station wagon as it won’t be heading to our shores, which is why the station wagon variant is making its debut in Switzerland. Europeans will have plenty of engines to choose from: 1.6L and 1.8L gasoline engines, a 1.4L turbo gasoline, a new 1.7L diesel, and an improved 2.0L diesel. The 1.4L, 1.7L diesel, and 2.0L diesel all come with start/stop technology as standard, while all engines are Euro-5 complaint.
The station wagon measures in at 184.1 inches and is 6.5 inches longer than the hatchback variant and 3.1 inches longer than the sedan model. As expected, the exterior of the Cruze station wagon shows off a tapering single-arch roofline with Chevy reminding us that it’ll come with roof racks as standard.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Cruze Station Wagon
Yesterday we revealed the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze station wagon, but as usual, videos are better than photos. The Chevrolet Cruze station wagon is set to debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, but for the strange few who are eager to see it, there’s already a video.
Our previous post discussed powertrain specifications, but it didn’t tell you much about the interior. While official details haven’t been released regarding the Cruze’s interior dressings, we can infer some details from the clip.
All-in-all, it doesn’t look like there’s much different aside from the predictable increased cargo space. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Cruze managed to win consumer hearts across several continents, Europe included.
You can watch the video below and catch a few glimpses of what we’ll show you during our coverage in Geneva next week.
The Chevrolet Cruze is a popular volume seller for the company, and Chevy is now bringing its Cruze sedan out in station wagon form to try and appeal to a broader range of consumers. The first full photo of the wagon dropped today, a preview of what we will see in person at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
The Cruze wagon actually got more of a redesign than most manufacturers give to sedan variants it seems. The grille is tweaked a little bit, and there is new front bumper air dams and fog lights. Generally speaking it holds onto is original looks though, with the addition of the bigger rear end.
The Cruze wagon is confirmed for the European market, but as of right now still has no designs on America. Chevrolet will likely gauge European sales and decide whether to ship the wagon across the ocean.
The wagon will also be offered with a diesel power train option. The diesel powered Cruze Eco-D will come to the states, so it isn’t to hard to believe that the wagon won’t be far behind.
Chip Foose is a household name in the automotive design field, for his eye-popping work and unique cars.
With all the benefits going to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Canada, Chip customized a Chevrolet Cruze which will be given away at Toronto Auto Show. To enter a ballot for a chance to win the car, you must make a donation to the hospital.
The customized Cruze is a great looking vehicle that has an edgy urban vibe. To make it a Foose custom, the Cruze was lowered about an inch and a half, outfitted with custom one-off rims, as well as a carbon fiber body kit and added dual stainless steel exhaust pipes. The custom Cruze is painted in a two-tone style with black on the top, green on the bottom and an orange accent line running through the middle. The interior style was also upgraded with two tone themed black and grey leather seats.
Its always nice to see the automotive industry giving something back.
GALLERY: Chip Foose Cruze
Making its way on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick for 2012 is the all-new Buick Verano. This raises General Motors IIHS Top Safety Pick award count to 14 in 2012 – not too shabby.
Equipped with 10 standard air bags, the Verano came out with a good score in the IIHS tests for front and side crash tests, roof strength test, and rear impact test. The Verano also features standard electronic stability control, which the IIHS requires for Top Safety Pick designation.
“GM set a goal that every new product would be designed to meet or exceed the third-party metrics that IIHS and others use to communicate crash worthiness to consumers,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of Vehicle Safety. “We are now seeing the results from that commitment.”
Of the GM vehicles that made it to IIHS’s 2012 Top Safety Pick award list, 13 models had previously qualified for the 2011 award. These vehicles were carried over to 2012 because its structure is substantially the same as the IIHS tested for 2011. Carrying over for 2012 awards are the Buick LaCrosse, Regal and Enclave; the Chevrolet Cruze, Sonic, Volt, Equinox, Malibu and Traverse; the Cadillac CTS (sedan) and SRX, and GMC Terrain and Acadia.
Honda CEO Takanobu Ito stepped up and assumed responsibility for the Honda Civic’s miserable start in the United States, telling Automotive News that ”The ultimate responsibility rests with me.”
The Civic was left off the Consumer Reports list of recommended vehicles, a rarity for any Honda product. Cheap interior materials were blamed, and many reviewers reported dull styling and driving dynamics as other disappointments. Civic sales are down 15 percent this year, and Honda product planners are hoping for a model refresh as soon as 2013, well ahead of Honda’s usual vehicle schedule.
While Honda decided to stick with a smaller footprint and reduced content for the new Civic (betting on a downward economy) competitors like Hyundai, Chevrolet and Ford went in the opposite direction, offering advanced features like backup cameras, self-parking, powerful engines and bold styling. This approach won out in the end, with the Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus reporting strong sales in the segment.
[Source: Automotive News]
According to Advertising Age, a sister publication to Automotive News, Chevrolet‘s Cruze, Kia‘s Soul and Jeep‘s Wrangler are among America’s top 25 hottest products for 2011, alongside Dove soap, Arizona Tea, Goldfish crackers, Sharpie markers and the Forever 21 clothing chain.
There’s no doubting those three vehicles’ success, but we’d be willing to debate that they belong in America’s 25 hottest products. But nonetheless, the Cruze has sold more than 200,000 units as of October, which allowed it to surpass the Malibu as GM’s hottest selling model. Media spending by Chevrolet totaled more than $1.1 billion last year with a huge bulk of it towards marketing the Cruze’s 40-mpg fuel economy rating.
The good ‘ol Kia Soul has benefited from collaborating with stylish and hip hamsters, perfectly targeting younger buyers. Through October, Kia has racked up 405,095 in total sales, with over 85,000 of those being Souls. We’re not really sure if the Soul is a hot new product or if the hamsters are just that cool.
Lastly, Jeep’s Wrangler is Jeep’s best-selling vehicle with 101,820 vehicles sold through October. Their partnership with virtual Wranglers and the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 fans probably won’t hurt either. By bringing together live action and game footage, Jeep is clearly targeting a huge audience and perhaps a different market with their Wrangler. Jeep as a brand has had overall sales up 44-percent this year through October.
[Source: Automotive News]