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.
Brain, it's What's for Dinner
Ok, so the worst just happened, like something totally NOT GOOD. Perhaps a natural disaster has devastated your country; maybe a virulent disease or food-borne illness is spreading throughout the population; conceivably even the hand of God has reached down from on high and caused an outright nuclear meltdown. Whatever the reason, things are seriously jacked.
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!
AutoGuide Five-Point Inspection
Chevrolet is selling the Spark with razor-thin margins. What’s more, the company isn’t trying to hide that. In fact, it’s almost a point of pride, and perhaps one of the most astute choices in recent years.
That’s because you can get one for about $13,000 after delivery. It’s far from being the most exciting car you’ll drive but with such low pricing it makes a convincing case as a first car or budget friendly city machine.
The Spark is meant to work as a brand ambassador, bringing first-time buyers away from other automakers, and based on strong initial sales it seems to be doing just that.
AutoGuide Five-Point Inspection
During this week’s Five-Point Inspection we put the Scion iQ micro-subcompact to the test, driving it in crowded city streets, long open highways and everything in between. An emotionally polarizing vehicle, the tiny city car can make you smile and frown – it entirely depends on what you’re looking for.
With a starting MSRP of $16,020, the iQ might be the city car for you. Read on to find out why.
The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf initiated a whole new movement in the auto industry. With the realization that an all-electric vehicle can be useful in everyday driving situations thanks to a large battery and more efficient fast charging technology, automakers are hopping on the electric vehicle bandwagon.
“Overall automakers want to be prepared,” says Devin Lindsay, an automotive powertrain analyst from IHS Automotive. “EVs are another tool for automakers to reach out to consumers” he says, mentioning that automakers are taking EVs seriously, rather than just putting a bunch of batteries and motors in an existing product.
It’s interesting to see how automakers make electric cars from the ground up to use only electric propulsion. For example Tesla and Cadillac are all making vehicles that will exclusively be used with an electric powertrain. Others are modifying their current successful vehicles to EVs. Lets take a look at the different EVs that will be arriving soon (or are already here), and learn a bit about the new technology behind it.
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.
Those that have ever been out to Europe are well aware of how narrow some of the roads can be, and even how scary it is to take a conventional vehicle down one of the roads packed with pedestrians.
Keeping in line with Scion‘s youth oriented branding, the company is holding a promotion which gets every new Scion iQ buyer a free Playstaion Vita handheld gaming system.
From May 1 through July 31, 2012, Scion is offering the promotion, to promote iQ owners driving the car in virtual reality. MotorStorm RC is a virtual racing game that is provided to Playstation Vita users free from Scion, and includes the iQ as one of the eligible race cars in the game. So when the iQ buyer can’t enjoy the car on the roads, at least they can enjoy it on their new Playstation Vita.
“Similar to the PS Vita, the Scion iQ comes loaded with premium technological features, has a focus on functionality, is concentrated into a suitably small package and most importantly is tons of fun,” said Jack Hollis, the vice president of Scion.
Build by Toyota motorsports partner Gazoo Racing, the GRMN iQ Supercharger is just the sort of concept car that’s too wild to ever become a reality. Right? Wrong!
To the surprise of, well, everyone, Toyota has announced it will offer a limited production of the car, which was unveiled in its second-generation prototype stage today at the Tokyo Auto Salon.
Based on the 1.3-liter version of the iQ (it’s largest engine option), GRMN engineers have strapped on a supercharger to increase power output from a factory 94 hp, up to 130 hp, while torque increases from 89 lb-ft to 133.
Additional upgrades include the widebody seen here, an upgraded suspension and brake setup, larger 16-inch wheels with 195/55R16 tires and a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission – much unlike the CVT offered on the North American Scion iQ (read our review here).
Inside the car gets custom sports seats and new gauges that go all the way up to 200 km/h (124 mph), a speed the standard car most certainly cannot achieve.
Set to go on sale this summer, the GRMN iQ Supercharger will be built in extremely limited quantities with just 100 cars being made.
GALLERY: GRMN iQ Supercharger
Jon Sibal’s Scion iQ won this year’s edition of the Scion Tuner Challenge, beating out a mid-engined iQ as well as a race prepped example to take home the prize.
Sibal claimed the $10,000 reward for his iQ, which featured a 32″ flat-screen TV in the trunk, complete with a Wi-Fi hotspot and a motorized system to allow for flush mounting inside the tiny iQ. In second place was Michael Chang’s iQ-RS, which was fashioned after what an iQ race car would look like, while the iQ-MR, which featured a mid-engine conversion, came in third.
Check out AutoGuide’s SEMA coverage here
Gallery: Scion iQ Tuner Challenge
The Scion iQ has still yet to go on sale, but Scion came out in full force with their new subcompact, presenting a multitude of concepts aimed at all corners of the aftermarket segment.
The Pit Boss iQ by Cartel is the wildest interpretation of the iQ we’ve seen so far, with the roof completely chopped off and an electric blue paint scheme applied. Massive 18″ wheels and an iPad with an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot are also included, though it adds an extra element of danger in the event of rain.
At the other end of the spectrum is the iQ-RS, designed to look like a full-blown race car. With a classic white paint scheme, red wheels, a front splitter, rear wing and fender flares, the iQ-RS looks the part, and a roll cage, racing seats and a stripped out interior re-enforce the iQ-RS’ mission.
Finally, the Scion iQ-MR blends race car style with the ever popular “stance” movement, with both a roll cage, fender flares and Axis Sakura wheels fitting flush to the iQ’s body. A mid-engine conversion has been carried out to make the iQ rear-wheel drive while the engine itself features a thorough re-build and new internals. KW Variant 3 coilovers let the car sit low to the ground while offering excellent damping.
Check out more SEMA coverage here
Gallery: Scion iQ
While reviewing the SCCA B-Spec rules, we came across a list of entries for the upcoming class and stumbled upon a few interesting candidates – namely the Volkswagen Polo, which the rule sheet claims may be imported for 2012.
Other entries, like the Hyundai Accent, Scion iQ and xD and Fiat 500 are interesting in their own right (especially since the Accent will face off against the Kia Rio, while the Scions will go against the Toyota Yaris B-Spec), but the Polo has long been rumored for a U.S. debut, and VW is said to be debuting a couple new products at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Could this be the introduction for a Volkswagen subcompact in America. Check back November 16th when coverage of the L.A. Auto Show begins.
[Source: Daytona Prototype]
Toyota is setting targets of between 1,000 and 2,000 units per month for the rollout of its Scion iQ city car, and the new vehicle will see a tiered launch that involves an initial rollout on the West Coast this winter with a Midwest and East Coast launch this spring.
The Japanese-built iQ will also have to work around Toyota supplier schedules, which have yet to fully come back online following March’s earthquake and tsunami. While the iQ starts at under $16,000, Scion VP Jack Hollis said that a continued economic downturn would be bad for the car, as it would leave the youth demographic without the funds to purchase the car.