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.
MINI Takes the States, a bi-annual cross-country road rally is in full swing, with hundreds of rabid Cooper enthusiasts participating in events at diverse locations across this great land. We’re tagging along for a couple legs of this epic trip and tweeting all the way.
Grab a piñata we're having a Fiesta!
Smaller is better. Obviously this isn’t true in every situation but for many drivers a compact or sub-compact car will meet their needs just as nicely as a midsize sedan or even some crossovers. After decades of neglect, automakers have finally started to share some of their excellent B-Segment offerings with American motorists. If you’ve been thinking about downsizing there really hasn’t been a better time to do it.
Concept cars are mostly built to taunt automotive journalists, but on rare occasions they do serve legitimate purposes. Sometimes they can tip-off what a car company has in development, and the black-as-coal Kia Niro is a clue as to what the South Korean brand’s next B-Segment offering could look like.
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
The previous Accent was the kind of car that you bought out of necessity rather than desire, but the newest subcompact Hyundai looks like it will find homes among many, thanks to handsome styling and 40 mpg capability without any special order option packages. Motivation comes from a direct-injection 138-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes 123 ft-lbs of torque while returning 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmission will be offered, and automatic transmission models will feature a driver selectable Eco mode that is said to improve “real-world” fuel economy by as much as 7 percent.
Despite its diminutive exterior, Hyundai claims that interior space is so large that the car is classified as a compact. Items like stability control, ABS, and power steering are standard, while Bluetooth connectivity, an iPod connector and 16″ allow wheels are optional. The Accent will start at around $12,000 for a base model, bringing an end to the days where an Accent could be had brand new for under $10,000.
Gallery: 2012 Hyundai Accent
Although only a sketch has been released so far, the familiar design language brought forth by Kia styling boss Peter Schreyer. Mechanically, the car should share the new Accent’s 1.6L Gamma 4-cylinder, which is estimated to return 37 mpg in the city and an astounding 50 mpg on the highway.
Hit the jump to see the official press release