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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.
How do you make a boring economy car exciting? Well, most automakers simply tack a letter “R” on the rear and call it a day. Fortunately the latest Toyota Yaris concept has far more substance than just a name badge.
To Frugality and Beyond!
Fuel economy is a major purchase consideration for new-vehicle shoppers; in fact it’s the No. 1 thing they look for in a car or truck. Consumers continue to demand ever greater mileage, and so does the federal government. Washington keeps turning up the wick on its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations. In response to these stimuli automakers are working day and night to improve the efficiency of their products.
SEE ALSO: Used Car Reviews
Of course not everyone is in the market for a shiny new ride. Many people opt for a pre-owned vehicle instead. Used cars and trucks can be terrific values, especially when certification programs and extended warranties are factored in. If new-vehicle buyers want better fuel economy it’s a safe bet second-hand shoppers are salivating for it as well. Here’s a list of 10 economy-minded used vehicles that will maximize you MPG. To qualify the cars and trucks listed are at least one generation behind the latest model on the market.
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!
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.
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.
The base Yaris Hybrid will be the cheapest hybrid model on the market in Germany, with a price tag of about $22,410 (€16950). Powered by a 1.5L, VVT-i engine combined with an electric motor, the Yaris Hybrid will have 98-hp similar to the American market Prius c (read our review here). It will also be the most fuel efficient vehicle with a combustion engine in the German market.
A “Life” trim line will be available for $23,675 (€17900) and adds Toyota Touch multimedia audio system, ECO-Drive monitor, rearview camera, Bluetooth, steering wheel controls, aux and USB input with iPod control. Interior upgrades for the “Life” model includes a leather steering wheel and shift knob, two-way adjustable luggage compartment floor, while the rear taillights get LEDs.
At the top of the list is the “Club” model which will come with 16-inch wheels, engine start/stop, fog lights, roof spoiler, heated mirrors, electric rear windows, glove compartment with cooling function, and a height adjustable front seat. Pricing for that starts at about $25,400 (€19200).
Toyota of Germany will begin taking orders on the Yaris Hybrid starting on June 16th.
With the Prius c set to hit Toyota dealers in North America soon, the Yaris Hybrid is not expected to be offered here.
GALLERY: 2013 Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Toyota’s Yaris will be the next B-Spec Club Racer, joining the likes of the Honda Fit, Mazda Mazda2 and more recently, the Kia Rio, Fiat 500 and Ford Fiesta. Set to debut at this year’s SEMA Show, it’ll be the first race car built for competition in the United States from the next-generation 2012 Yaris SE.
Built by SportsCar Magazine and based on the new second-generation Yaris SE three-door hatchback, the Yaris Club racer will aim to compete in SCCA’s B-spec class race segment in 2012 with Jamie Bestwick, an Action Sports Star and BMX legend, behind the wheel. The livery on the first Club racer pays homage to Toyota’s 1998 LeMans pole-winning GT-One race car (though no pictures have been released yet).
Toyota did not mention if they plan on having B-Spec Club Racers readily available to the public for race teams interested in campaigning them. The one set to debut at SEMA however features Toyota’s 1.5L VVT-i powerplant that has minimal engine modifications such as a K&N air filter, Beta Motorsports cat-back exhaust and an AEM EMS Series 2 tuned by Church Automotive. It’ll be racing on 15×7-inch Enkei RPF1 wheels wrapped with 205/50/15 Hoosier Racing Tire A6, while Cusco’s Zero-3 suspension kit and center lock pillowball upper mounts gives the Yaris the handling capabilities it needs to succeed.
Look for photos with AutoGuide’s 2011 SEMA Show coverage starting here November 1st.
GALLERY: Toyota Yaris B-Spec
10. Toyota Yaris 3-Door: $14,115
You can sound polite and say “inexpensive” but if you’re strapped for cash, the most important question when shopping for a new car is: what’s the cheapest car on the market? AutoGuide has got the answer, along with the nine runners up.
Toyota‘s warmed-over Yaris makes the 10th spot on our list with a base price of $14,115 for the 3-door model. The pricier 5-door will run you $15,150.
Using a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder like many of its counterparts the Yaris makes 106-hp and is rated at 38-mpg on the highway making it one of the most efficient models in its class, but not the most efficient. Growing three inches overall, Toyota claims the new car has 68 percent more cargo room than the outgoing model, which it shares a near-identical resemblance with. Standard on all models is air conditioning, nine airbags and power windows.
The entire Yaris range gets a longer wheelbase by two inches, and an overall increase in length by three inches. Even though it’s only taller by 0.6 inches, somehow Toyota engineers found an additional 68% more cargo space inside, possibly stealing some technology from Doctor Who’s TARDIS. The front facelift gets a more peaky bulldog-like nose, in line with the rest of Toyota’s lineup, while the back bumper gets aggressive cutouts and no-nonsense white and red tailights.
Engine choices stay the same, at a 106-horsepower inline-four with 1.5 liters and Toyota’s VVT-i valve timing technology. But the engine is bolted to a new four-speed automatic transmission that’s smaller and lighter than the outgoing slushbox. A five-speed manual is still available. Toyota has yet to release complete fuel economy specs, but does say the Yaris will achieve 38-mpg on the highway – two ticks short of the 2012 Hyundai Accent.
The SE model is Toyota’s version of a hot hatch: it gets larger tires and disc brakes, quicker steering, a differently-tuned MacPherson-strut suspension, and a snazzier interior. But all models come with air conditioning, six cupholders, power everything, and a whopping nine airbags to make you feel like you’re being bear-hugged by the Michelin Man.
All this for only a moderate increase in base price: from $13,155 to $14,115 for the base L three-door with a manual transmission. This still undercuts the Honda Fit by about $1000 and the Mazda2 by exactly $65, which still makes for good advertising. Altogether, the Yaris tops out at $17,200 for the top-of-the-line SE five-door with an automatic.
GALLERY: 2012 Toyota Yaris
Toyota’s new Yaris is built on the strengths the Yaris has become known for including its durability, versatility, efficient engines and easy to drive nature. Toyota has now taken these key aspects into the new model and gone further to offer a sharper, more agile, more contemporary looking vehicle.
The Yaris will also appeal both to technology-focused customers and drivers who value quality, practicality and price when considering a new car.
The Touch audio system includes touchscreen controls, provides Bluetooth, a USB port and a rear parking camera. The Toyota Touch and Go system is also available providing full map satellite navigation and has a range of connected information services that can be accessed and downloaded through a dedicated customer portal.
Engines include a 1.0 and 1.33-liter gas engine as well as a 1.4-liter turbodiesel engine. The three cylinder 1.0-liter engine is coupled to a five speed manual transmission generating 68-hp at 6,000 rpm. Fuel consumption has been improved to 58.9 mpg. The 1.3-liter produces 98-hp and achieves 56.5 mpg. The 1.4-liter diesel engine is matched to a six speed manual transmission, producing 89-hp at 3,800 rpm and 205 lb-ft of torque. This engine achieves 72.4 mpg. However these engines are almost certainly for world markets only, and the U.S. will definitely see some beefier engine choices.
Gallery: Toyota Yaris
Toyota’s new Yaris just made its local debut at the 2011 Melbourne auto show, ahead of its showroom release at the end of the year. The current Yaris is the third most popular compact car in the Australia, behind the Mazda2 and the Hyundai Getz.
Toyota stretched the Yaris to help create more space for rear seat passengers. Fuel efficiency has been improved by more advanced aerodynamics and the windshield gains “UV-reducing” glass with a single large wiper blade. The new Yaris will be offered as a three-door, five-door hatchback and four-door sedan. Toyota stated that this new model was designed with more of a European flavour than its predecessor.
Engine choices for the new Yaris are expected to be similar to the outgoing model, including a 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter powerplant. Toyota Australia will not release any more details until its launch.
Gallery: 2012 Toyota Yaris
The Ford Fiesta has been selling exceptionally well in the Small car segment, beating key competitors like the Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa. Last May, 7,120 Fiestas were sold, outselling the Versa’s 4,793 units in the same month.
The success of the Fiesta has been attributed to skyrocketing fuel prices as well as the shortage of Japanese vehicles as a result of the March 11 earthquake.
Within the small car segment, the Fiesta commanded 4.6% of sales in June 2010 when first launched in the U.S. Last April, the Fiesta held 29.1% of sales, according to Ward’s data.
“Fiesta customers are up to three times more likely to buy for style and innovation in this segment,” explained Ken Czubay, vice president- U.S marketing, sales, and service. He also said that eighteen percent of Fiesta buyers are purchasing for the first time, and the average age of the customer is younger than two other well-known nameplates in the small car segment.
George Pipas, Ford’s top U.S sales analyst, said Ford has received increased consideration from small-car buyers over the past year.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
The Toyota plant which builds the Yaris subcompact for export markets will remain closed for another month, as the factory recovers from the massive earthquake which struck northern Japan.
While the plant has had repairs completed and electricity has returned, the supply of natural gas has not been restored. Toyota’s other plants are expected to remain closed until at least April 14th, but the Yaris plant in Miyagi prefecture will stay shuttered until the end of April. Toyota has resumed production of its Prius hybrid, but is only operating at 50 percent capacity.
Toyota released a statement claiming “Depending on vehicle type, there may be a significant impact on our production capabilities.” No start date was given for any of their factories, but a source told Automotive News that the company was attempting to secure a gas supply from neighboring regions. Parts supplies also remain an issue, and the company is attempting to resolve these problems from their Toyota City headquarters.
[Source: Automotive News]
The Honda Fit and Mazda 2 will headline a new racing class, known as B-Spec, that’s been designed as a new showroom stock racing series. The rule set is expected to be finalized within the next 60 days, and both the SCCA and NASA sanctioning bodies have expressed interested in adopting the class.
Using OEM specified wheel, tire and suspension components, the cars will have stock chassis and engines, but will be able to use weight reduction and ballasting to gain performance advantages. The Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Aveo, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris are also eligible for competition.
Toyota announced today that they will build a small hybrid car in France, apparently based on the Yaris compact. Toyota already builds the Auris hatchback in Europe, which is available with a hybrid system.
In a statement released by the company, the Japanese manufacturer said “This decision fits in Toyota’s strategy to extend the full hybrid technology to an increasing number of models.” Honda is expected to unveil a hybrid version of the Fit subcompact, that would directly compete with the new Toyota model.
The new model Over 300,000 Toyota and Lexus hybrids have been sold in Europe over the past decade. The plant will get a $70 million investment as part of the hybrid production plans. Toyota is aiming to have a hybrid model of each car in its lineup by 2020.
[Source: Automotive News]