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.
Another week, another opportunity to assist a struggling motorist; that’s what Ask AutoGuide is all about. Just like populist presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan we’re here for the people. Specifically, folks like Zach, who e-mailed us asking for help picking out a compact car.
After years on the market, today’s Mazda3 is still one of the best C-Segment cars available, but it’s something of a controversial vehicle. It may be great to drive, exceedingly functional and built to last, but a lot of people take issue with its grille. The car’s front end looks like the face of a mouth-breathing mudpuppy. To the relief of many that gaping maw is a thing of the past with Mazda’s brand-new 2014 model.
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.
Ah to be young again. AutoGuide’s nationally recognized, board-certified Oracles remember their youth vividly… it was terrible. People often say age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel, unfortunately they were born wearing elastic-waist jeans and Science Olympiad fanny packs. Gingivitis arrived when they were in middle school.
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.
Whether due to rising gas prices or changing trends by consumers, small cars are increasingly becoming a big deal across America. In fact, sales of compact and sub-compact vehicles are poised to make up the largest segment of total auto industry sales since 1993.
Can a hot hatch also be a diesel? They certainly think so in Germany and an increasing acceptance of diesel-powered cars could see such a model on our shores in the near future.
In the past Mazda has hinted that it may drop the current base engine in the Mazda3 and instead offer the Skyactiv powertrain as standard. According to Mazda USA PR rep Beverly Braga that won’t happen for 2013, but the Japanese automaker has made the decision to offer the Skyactive 2.0-liter as the core powertrain on more trim levels.
While not quite segment leading, the new numbers are near the top of the pack, with the entry-level 160 hp 2.0-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder rated at 25 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with the six-speed manual, and 29 mpg combined.
Available after launch will be a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbocharged 4-cylinder (shared with the Fiat 500 Abarth) also making 160 hp mated to a dual-clutch transmission making 27 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, though it will still get a 29 mpg combined rating. Dodge also plans to launch a fuel economy package “aero” version of the Dart with “at least” 41 mpg highway, which will arrive in the the Fall.
In addition, Dodge will offer a 184 hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder model, though no fuel economy numbers have been announced for that package yet.
The 2013 Dodge Dart will go on sale in June starting from $15,995.
GALLERY: 2013 Dodge Dart
Discuss this story at DartForums.com
10. 2012 Mazda CX-5
Ward’s Auto has released its top 10 picks for best interior in 2012 today, though in no particular order. Here they are with brief notes on each car’s engine specs and starting price.
The 2012 Mazda CX-5 crossover is powered by 2.0-liter Skyactiv inline four cylinder that makes 155 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque with a starting MSRP of $20,695 with front-wheel drive.
During its glory days, Toyota enjoyed 43 victories as well as seven FIA world rally titles. From 1973 through 1999, Toyota was a fixture in the sport.
Now, a report from the FIA World Rally Championship website revealed that Toyota has built a regulation 1.6-liter turbocharged powerplant, which meets the WRC Global Race Engine technical regulations, and is currently performing a series tests at Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne. According to a spokesman from Toyota Motorsport, “We’re leaning towards an S2000-style of car which would be available for customers first. This is a development project, but it’s very early days – the engine only fired up for the first time a few weeks ago- at the very earliest, a car won’t be available until next year. Obviously, this being a Global Race Engine, it could go in any car, but the Yaris seems to make sense.”
According to the anonymous spokesman, participation in rallying is a part of the automaker’s medium-term future goals. What’s more, a Super 2000 category vehicle may also suggest new plans for World Touring Car Championship, as the S2000 specification is split to cover both rally and touring car racing regulations.