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!
Bottom 10 Vehicles with the Largest Declines Dependability
Quality is an ever-moving target; it’s something automakers have to constantly monitor. And like the Mongol hordes conquering vast swaths of Asia in the 13th century, problems can easily overwhelm an unsuspecting company’s defenses. Like arrows toppling a mighty war elephant, just a few small issues can devastate even the most reliable vehicle on the road. To keep these nomadic defects at bay, engineers and product planners must remain vigilant.
Along with Consumer Reports, J.D. Power is one of the major firms that tracks automotive quality. Its annual Vehicle Dependability Study is highly anticipated by OEMs and media alike. Think of it as a report card for automakers.
For nearly a quarter-century the study has kept a careful eye on quality by tracking problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). It measures things that have gone wrong with 3-year-old cars and trucks as reported by their original owners.
Like America’s Most Wanted, J.D. power has just released a list of 10 vehicles that have suffered the largest declines in quality. These vehicles have had the greatest year-over-year increase in PP100. Some of the cars and trucks on the list may really surprise you.
10. Kia Forte
USAA has compiled a list of the top ten cars for teens based on a recent survey where parents determined their most important factors when choosing a vehicle for their teenager. Those factors were reliability, a high safety rating and affordable auto insurance.
At number 10 on the list of top 10 cars for teens is the Kia Forte, a compact offering from the Korean automaker that comes in two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and five-door hatchback form. Starting at $15,200 the Forte comes with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 156-hp and 144 lb-ft of torque, or a 2.4-liter with 173-hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. Both powerplants offer great fuel mileage as well, with the 2.0L automatic getting 26-mpg city, 36-mpg highway and the 2.4L netting 23-mpg city, 32-mpg highway.
Honda has begun construction on its $800 million plant in Mexico, where the Japanese automaker will begin production of the Fit sub-compact starting in 2014. The new facility in Mexico is part of Honda’s ongoing plan to grow its operations in North America.
The new Honda de Mexico plant will be in Celaya and will have an annual capacity of 200,000 units with 3,200 employees. The Honda Fit models produced from the facility will mainly be for the U.S. and Canadian markets but will also be exported to other regions.
The plant will be 5.66 million-square meters in total size and is 210 miles from two existing Honda plants in El Salto, Jalisco which currently build automobiles, motorcycles, and auto parts. This new plant will mark the eighth auto plant for Honda in North America and will increase total automobile production (in North America) from 1.63 million units to 1.87 million units in spring 2014. Once Fit production begins in Mexico, four of its global models will be produced in North America.
Honda has announced it will be importing Fit models to the Canadian market from China, and it appears that all Canadian Fits will come from China for at least the next couple of years.
The Si trim moniker for various Honda models throughout its history has always symbolized increased performance. Short for “sport injected”, fans of the Civic body will remember generations of Si models as being the funnest to own and drive.
Which is why it’s such a shame that the Honda Jazz Si that the Japanese automaker recently debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, only packs the European-spec 1.4L, four-cylinder with a whopping 98-hp. Sure the Jazz (known as the Fit in the U.S.) is meant to be an economy car, but so was the Civic.
So what makes this special edition Jazz Si special? Well it features a new body kit on the exterior, no doubt giving it a sportier appearance, further improved by the 16-inch wheels. Handling has also been enhanced with a larger front sway bar and the electronic power steering system has been tweaked for improved feel and response.
On the inside, Honda outfits the Jazz Si with black and silver supportive seats and a sporty leather-trimmed steering wheel.
But alas, with just 98-hp and 94 lb-ft of torque, this Jazz Si is hardly fit to sport the Si badge. In Honda’s defense however, the Si badge doesn’t have the same prestige in Europe as it does in America. If Honda plans on bringing a Fit Si to the U.S. however, it better live up to its “sport injected” name.
The 2012 Jazz Si is currently available for order in Europe and will arrive in showrooms at the end of August. No pricing was announced.
GALLERY: 2012 Honda Jazz Si
For the ninth month in a row, the top-selling car in Japan is the Toyota Prius, helping hybrids make up more than 20-percent of all auto sales in Japan.
In February, Toyota sold 35,875 Prius hybrids, while the Honda Fit came in second place with 24,973 units sold. That’s quite the gap, especially considering third place was the new Toyota Aqua (Prius c in America – read our review here) that sold 21,951.
Hybrid models are now making up nearly half of Toyota total sales in Japan while Honda announced that 60-percent of their Fit sales are hybrid variants. Rounding off the top five was the Honda Freed in fourth place (13,293 sold) and the Toyota Vitz in fifth (11,288 sold). Over 40-percent of the Honda Freed sales are also hybrids.
The more interesting news is the fact that the Aqua hybrid production isn’t even keeping up with demand. The Japanese automaker originally planned to build 12,000 Aquas per month but now overwhelming demand has customers waiting almost six months for their vehicle if they placed their orders today.
Honda took the first major step in its Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program by delivering the first 2013 Fit EV to the city of Torrance, California.
The program will set up the retail market launch of the Fit EV to customers in California and Oregon starting this summer. Over the past year, the city of Torrance and Honda has been working together to gather input from local residents about potential recharging station locations and held numerous public awareness events with the Fit EV. The city of Torrance will also receive a Honda plug-in hybrid for additional testing at a later date.
“This is an exciting day as we take another important step toward Honda’s comprehensive vision for reducing CO2 emissions while at the same time advancing our relationship with the city of Torrance,” said Steve Center, vice president of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda. “Honda has a long history with electric vehicles starting with the introduction of our first battery-electric car, the EV Plus, nearly 15 years ago. With Honda’s extensive experience and the real-world feedback from the city of Torrance, we will be even more prepared for the further customer adoption of electric vehicles.”
The Honda Fit EV will have a 123 city-mile per charge (76-mile range combined adjusted city/highway), powered by a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery and 92 kW coaxial electric motor. The Fit EV can be fully recharged in as little as three hours when connected to a 240-volt circuit.
Honda will also be testing the Fit EV with Google and Stanford University in order to receive real-world feedback on the new electric vehicle.