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.
Affordable and Practical
When it comes to the most affordable hatchback, there’s quite a few options out there. Unlike the Honda GEAR concept pictured above (which could preview a new affordable subcompact for the Japanese brand) all the cars on this list are easily attainable, and are competitively priced. Our top ten is seperated by a slim $4,000 margin from cheapest to most expensive. Check out the whole list, and see which cheap hatchback is the right choice for you!
Based on 46 candidates, Ward’s Auto just released its list of the top 10 best interiors of 2013, heavily favoring Asian vehicles. As is usual, the cars aren’t listed in any particular order.
Perhaps the most interesting choice, Chevrolet’s Spark sub-compact made this list this year because of its funky neon color scheme.
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.
Last week, technology giant Apple announced that its SIRI voice recognition system would be get a dedicated button in nine companies new cars, and now General Motors has let slip that Chevy Sonic and Chevy Spark will be the first in the automakers lineup to receive SIRI integration.
Details about the 2013 Chevrolet Spark have been revealed today, including its price range. Chevy is looking to simplify the car buying process by having three trim levels for its well-equipped subcompact.
Chevrolet calls the 2013 Spark a “sporty, fuel-efficient, four-passenger, five-door hatch” that apparently offers more passenger and cargo space than other mini cars such as the Fiat 500, Smart fortwo and Scion IQ.
The Spark’s base model, the LS starts at $12,995 and is equipped with a 1.2L Ecotec engine and five-speed manual transmission. Additionally, even the base Spark has 10 airbags and features 60/40 split rear seats, air conditioning, power windows, rear window wiper, auxiliary input jack, outside temperature display and trip computer. Not bad for a base model subcompact.
Despite recently released distracted driving guidelines targeting in-car navigation systems, Chevrolet announced its new GogoLink smartphone app that delivers full-function navigation to the Spark and Sonic’s MyLink infotainment system.
Imagine what the NTSB thinks about this, an application on a smartphone that provides plenty of distracting pictures on the vehicle’s infotainment system. Nonetheless, the aim of the GogoLink smartphone app is to provide a cost efficient in-car navigation option for those buying the more affordable Spark and Sonic models from Chevy. The app even has live traffic updates.
Those visiting the upcoming New York Auto Show can take it for a test drive at the Chevrolet booth. According to Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director for small cars, about 90 percent of Spark and Sonic owners have a smartphone.
“This technology is typically found on cars costing far more, but next-gen customers are accustomed to being connected. By using a smartphone app, Chevrolet found a smart and safe way to provide navigation,” she said.
GogoLink will be available after the Spark goes on sale, so early adopters of the Spark will have to swing by the dealer to get a software update. Pricing for GogoLink hasn’t been announced yet.
Watch GM’s webisode on the GogoLink Navigation app after the break.
Discuss this story on SparkTalk.com.
GALLERY: GogoLink Navigation App
General Motors is going to some pretty extreme lengths to capture a younger audience. The automaker’s latest tactic was to hire MTV Scratch to head its latest marketing campaign.
So you might ask yourself: “What’s so newsworthy about that?” General Motors – one of the largest, well-known and well-established car brands is handing over its marketing to the same marketing company behind quality programming like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom. Yeah, you can say that GM is definitely going in a different direction.
Apparently, GM is having a problem getting the younger generation to care about cars – and that’s where MTV Scratch comes in. “They think of a car as a giant bummer,” said Ross Martin, executive vice president of MTV Scratch. “Think about your dashboard. It’s filled with nothing but bad news.”
Based on some of the marketing research, GM has made a few changes to its cars to appeal to this younger audience. For example, new Chevrolet colors, like “techno pink,” “lemonade” and “denim” will be seen on the Spark this summer.
We wonder what these new MTV Scratch-produced campaigns will look like. Uber-tanned twenty-somethings sporting skin-tight clothes and big hair fist-pumping to tunes cranked out of a Sonic? You stay classy, General Motors.
[Source: New York Times]
In light of the Volt post-crash fire disaster, GM announced that they are seeking out batteries that are less volatile for their upcoming 2013 Chevy Spark electric car. GM will be switching to a phosphate-based lithium ion battery from A123 Systems Inc. that are less likely to burn than other lithium chemistry, according to the companies.
It’s a testament to how quickly the battery technology is evolving for hybrid and electric cars, with just a two year gap since the Volt was first introduced. Currently GM and other companies are developing future vehicles with lithium phosphate technology because they’re safer and last longer. And why didn’t they do this sooner? Battery manufacturers weren’t ready to mass-produce them until recently.
It’ll be interesting to see if GM will ever get over this hump with the Volt and if sales of future electric cars will be impacted. Some could even argue that GM “jumped the gun” on electric vehicles when they knew better technology was around the corner. More interestingly however is that Jay Whitacre, assistant professor in materials science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh declared, “Safety isn’t the first reason carmakers are selecting it,” Whitacre said. “The batteries have a longer life. A123′s battery will outlast LG Chem’s battery.”
It is worth mentioning that the Volt investigation right now centers around the battery’s pack design and not its chemistry. They believe that any fix will involve the pack.
GALLERY: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
[Source: Automotive News]
10. Chevrolet Spark
Just a few years ago picking a Top 10 Cars list from the LA Auto Show would have been a simple task, with few world premieres and most of the vehicles on display having already been revealed at some overseas venue. That’s no longer the case, with over 20 global debuts this year. So with a sizable list to choose from, the AutoGuide team sat down at the end of the two media days of press conferences to determine the most exciting, most interesting and most important reveals of the show. And here they are:
From the Fiat 500 to the Smart fortwo and Scion iQ, the mini car segment continues to grow in North America. Not wanting to pass this segment by, Chevrolet has entered the fray with a tiny car of its own, the Spark. Sized down from even the new Sonic sub-compact it still has a livable amount of space and comes powered by an ultra-small 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine making just 85-hp. Thankfully it weighs just 2,300 lbs, so acceleration, shouldn’t be terrible.
Notable features on this car include a standard 7-inch screen with Chevy’s new MyLink system and Bluetooth. Plus, power windows, air conditioning and 10 airbags come standard.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Spark
Americans have been historically unreceptive to small cars, and the 2013 Chevrolet Spark represents uncharted territory for the brand, which will introduce their first B-segment car since the Chevrolet Metro, long the butt of jokes for American society.
Unveiled at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Spark measures two feet shorter than the already compact Chevrolet Sonic, but is only 6 inches shorter than the Chevrolet Equinox mid-size crossover. These dimensions leave us a bit skeptical, as the whole package seems a tad top-heavy, but the 1.2L 4-cylinder engine only makes 85-horsepower, so high-speed cornering is more theoretical than realistic.
We do like the 2,269-lb curb weight, as well as the 7-inch touch screen and Bluetooth integration. The Spark has done well in a number of world markets where physical space is at a premium, and considering how much we liked the Sonic, we’re optimistic that the Spark will be a fun, if not sporty, urban runabout.
Gallery: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet’s answer to the Fiat 500, Smart ForTwo and Scion iQ will finally make its debut stateside at the upcoming LA Auto Show. The 2013 Chevy Spark mini car not only offers more passenger and cargo room than its tiny competitors, the hatchback is the only car in the segment to offer a seven-inch color touchscreen radio capable of displaying smart phone-based navigation, media and contacts for hands-free calling.
For the North American market, the 2013 Chevy Spark will be available in 1LT and 2LT models. Both feature a 1.2L DOHC four-cylinder engine with 85-hp and 82 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual is standard while a four-speed automatic can be had as a option. Both models will go on sale starting in mid-2012 for both the United States and Canada.
The 2013 Spark is also the only car in its segment to offer the added value of a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty alongside the safety and security of OnStar.
Chevy did not include any pricing in its press release, but we’re certain we’ll hear more when the car makes its official revealing on November 16th, 2011 in Los Angeles.
GALLERY: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet‘s Spark is already scheduled to hit American soil as a 2013 model year in mid-2012, but now we may have confirmation that Americans will receive GM’s 1.2L, inline-four with 80-hp and 80 lb-ft of torque. In exchange for its lack of power, the Spark will deliver around 46-mpg based on a conversion from the European cycle.
The U.S. will actually be the last market the Spark will be sold in. It’s already currently available in Asian, Europe and South Africa. The American Spark will receive a couple of other changes including a larger grille, a larger lower intake and removal of the side-repeater turn signals on the front-three quarter panels.
GALLERY: 2011 Chevrolet Spark
Given current and future proposals for Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards it probably isn’t surprising that General Motors is focusing on gas mileage when it comes to new product offerings.
Having launched a spate of new passenger cars recently, including the Cruze and Sonic, GM is now turning its attention to trucks, with new full-size pickups due in 2013 for the ‘14 model year, followed shortly by big SUVs and a small crossover for GMC, known as the Granite.
In an effort boost fuel economy, in order to come into line with the 35.5 mpg CAFE regulations, its likely the new generation of big trucks will feature GM’s new eight-speed automatic transmissions as well as turbocharged engines and eAssist light hybrid technology.
Besides the trucks, other new vehicles in the pipeline include a baby Cadillac, the new ATS, along with a XTS sedan, as well as new vehicles for Chevrolet, such as the Korean built Spark mini car and the updated 2013 Malibu mid-size sedan.
[Source: Automotive News]
In the history of automotive transmissions, the CVT undoubtedly ranks near the bottom of the pile, as one of the car world’s poorly thought out inventions.
The CVT offers the worst of all worlds, combining the worst parts of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual. It makes you feel like you’re driving something with an outboard motor, thanks to its ability to hold a constant rpm, but somehow it has survived and is still offered by many companies today.
Now we have word that GM may offer the CVT on upcoming versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Spark and Aveo, thanks to the fact that it will bump up fuel economy by roughly 10 percent. GM needs to increase mileage by this amount for the next model cycle, and this is simply the most expedient route. Most consumers may not even notice, but color us ticked off.
[Source: Automotive News]
Chevrolet debuted three new compact cars, as part of its new Z-Spec factory upgrades lineup, with the new Cruze and Volt, as well as the upcoming Spark subcompact rounding out the lineup.
While the concepts modifications are cosmetic in nature, the upgrades really elevate the conservative lines of the Cruze, with an orange paint job, Recaro seats and big wheels featuring prominently. The Spark could be considered a throwback to the days of “The Fast and the Furious”, with its creamsicle orange paintjob, white BBS wheels and Altezza taillights. Of the three, our favorite was the Volt, whose sharp angles, white paintwork and big wheels complimented the car in a way that the stock styling just doesn’t do.
Hit the jump to see all three galleries of the Chevrolet Volt, Cruze and Spark Z-Spec
Chevrolet has a lot of experience stuffing bigger engines into Corvettes, Camaros and other factory hot rods, but this may well be the first and last time the subcompact Spark gets the same treatment.
In order to give the Spark enough oomph to properly pace the FIA World Touring Car Championship field, the engineers at Chevrolet have found a way to bolt up the larger 140 horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine out of the Cruze (which goes on sale in the United States this fall), replacing the smaller sub-100 horsepower engine options that normally live under the Spark’s hood.
The WTCC “Super Spark” is scheduled to make its first appearance during the World Touring Car event at Zolder, Belgium coming up this weekend (June 19-20). But for those of you lucky enough to have attended the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past weekend, you may have spotted the turbocharged Spark pace car on display along side Chevy’s WTCC Cruze and its awesome GT2 C6.R Corvettes. As we reported earlier today, the GT2 Corvettes ran strong during this year’s Le Mans, the #64 car leading the class as late as the 17th hour, but unfortunately both cars retired before the end of the race due to engine problems.
Get more Chevy Cruze news and info at CruzeTalk.com