Are You Ready For: A 1.2 Liter "Sub-Subcompact" Chevy?
For most Americans, the term “small car” typically refers to a C-segment sedan like the Honda Civic or Ford Focus, cars that now qualify as midsi…
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Watch Buick's "Baby Enclave" Get Slideways

For a while now we’ve figured that the long-rumored Buick “Baby Enclave” would be a rebadged version of Opel’s Meriva MPV, as the suicide-doored Euro-confection is currently GM’s newest Gamma-platform people-carrier. But according to GMInsideNews’s 2013 lineup forecast, the Buick “Encore” will actually be a

Gamma based crossover will be a five-seater, about the size of the Nissan Rogue.

Because the Meriva is considerably smaller than the Rogue, and because it is rumored to have distinctly Enclave-like styling, we’re starting to rule out the Meriva as the next Buick CUV. Instead, we now think that this forthcoming Opel Corsa-based (Gamma II platform) “SUV” will be the basis for the Encore, as it’s larger than the Meriva and offers the higher seating that American drivers crave. But, based on this video of the new CUV testing in Germany, the new Buick should still be fairly playful for a front-drive crossover. These are not perfect drifts by any stretch, but I challenge any of you to do better in a front-drive Buick…

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Piston Slap: Mazda2 Shopping With an XD …not an :-(

Ben writes:

I’m planning a purchase this summer. The two cars I’m looking at most closely are the Mazda2 and the Scion xD. I noticed that the 2011 Mazda2s are spending an average of 109 days on the lot, and the 2010 xD is even worse at 239 days. Your February sales charts and March charts paint a similar picture. They’re both selling terribly, but I’m so far unable to find good deals on either, for different reasons.

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Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Opel City Car Coming To The US

According to Auto Motor und Sport, this Opel “Junior” city car (A-Segment) could be sold in the US if Opel isn’t sold first and if union boss Klaus Franz gets his way. Though GM has ruled out selling the Opel brand in the US, Franz tells AM und S that

I can see strong demand for this car in the cities of the East and West coasts.

But if the Opel brand is off the table, what will this car be sold as? There’s been no rumor yet of a Buick-branded microcar, but Cadillac did recently show an A-Segment concept, called the ULC, that could tip the strategy for this car’s US-market design and branding. It’s just too bad TTAC’s Best and Brightest answered the question “Does Cadillac Need A MINI-Fighter?” with a resounding “NO”. But would a ULC-style micro-Caddy be any less appealing than a baby Buick? This car will be a tough sell coming from any of GM’s remaining brands, but with CAFE increases in the cards (and as prices rising anyway) this may an unavoidable conundrum.

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Review: 2012 Hyundai Accent GLS Sedan

The Hyundai Accent has never been a “gotta have it” sort of car. Instead, it’s been a “what’s the cheapest thing you got?” sort of car. The 2011 started at just $9,985 (plus shipping and handling). That’s “started,” as in past tense, because the 2011 is history. The 2012, now arriving at dealers, starts at $12,445 plus $760 for destination. Add an automatic transmission, A/C, the $1,300 Premium Package (fog lights, cruise, remote keyless, Bluetooth, upgraded interior trim, 16” alloy wheels in place of 14” steelies), and floor mats, and you’re looking at a $17,350 sticker. Clearly Hyundai thinks they’ve developed a much more desirable car. Have they?

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Are You Ready For: A Neo-xB… With A Twist?

See that? Looks a bit like a first-generation Scion xB, doesn’t it? It’s actually a new Kia, codenamed “Tam,” built on its new A-segment Picanto Morning platform, but featuring first-gen xB-style tall-body MPV packaging. The Picanto’s wheelbase is actually slightly smaller than the xB’s, and there’s another key difference here as well: see that rear door? Look where the handle is placed. That’s right, it’s a slider! But that’s not all…

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Sales: Subcompact Cars, April 2011
The king is dead! After years of dominating the subcompact charts, the Nissan Versa was toppled from its top spot by not one but three upstart nameplates. Ki…
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Chrysler Brand Cancels Compact, Subcompact Cars: Now What?

The slide above shows Chrysler’s product plan for the 2010-2014 timeframe, and as it shows, after the new 300 and “refreshed” 200 and T&C, the next Chrysler was supposed to be a C-segment compact sedan. But, reports C&D’s Justin Berkowitz, the subcompact car (essentially a rebadged Lancia Ypsilon) has already been canceled for being positioned too close to the Fiat 500. Meanwhile, it seems that now only one of Chrysler Group’s brands will get a forthcoming compact sedan, and since Dodge has confirmed that it will get a Fiat-based Caliber replacement next year, it seems Chrysler won’t be getting any help in one of the most important segments in the market. So, without a subcompact or compact car coming down the pipe, what does Chrysler have to look forward to? Another crack at the D-segment, come 2013, and a crossover based on the same platform. Apparently the Chrysler brand, which is supposed to be a Lancia-style luxury brand in the Fiat empire, doesn’t need more than four products.

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2012 Nissan Versa: It's Always Sunny In Guangzhou

Despite being introduced to the US back in 2006, sales of Nissan’s Versa are hardly slacking with age. Sales of the Versa have increased every year since its introduction except for last year, when volume dropped by about 2,000 units, and this year the subcompact sedan/hatch has already set a new annual sales record. Even the newer, arguably better-looking Kia Soul hasn’t been able to unseat the Versa from its perch as king of the subcompacts, having sold only about 60k units this year to the Versa’s 89,500. But despite this continued success, Nissan is replacing the slightly geeky-looking Versa with this, the 2012 Nissan Sunny, which has just been unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show in Southern China.

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Review: Hyundai I10

Hyundai seems fearless. Its venture above $30,000 with the Genesis wasn’t a rousing success, yet two short years later they’re doubling down with a $65,000 flagship. But there is one car they dare not offer here, from the opposite end of the line: the diminutive i10. So, what are we missing?

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From Korea With Love: The 2012 Hyundai Accent In Detail
Hyundai’s Sonata overhaul has been well-received by critics and customers, and the next-gen Elantra looks set to move the magic to the C-segment. But w…
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Review: 2011 Nissan Juke

Because car enthusiasts tend to be more interested in cars themselves than the industry that creates them, critics and commentators tend to praise engineers while vilifying accountants, marketers and the countless other professions required to bring a new car to production. The assumption seems to be that engineers develop great cars which are then cheapened, blandified and otherwise screwed up by everyone else. Obviously this is an oversimplified perspective, but in certain cases it’s downright undeniable. Rarely has it been more true than with the Nissan Juke.

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German Brands Move Towards Small FWD Cars… But Not For Germans

Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen/Audi are all moving inexorably towards a major downmarket expansion, as they develop a new generation of compact and subcompact cars based on front-wheel-drive architectures. Though Volkswagen has played in this space for some time, the move is a major cultural shift for BMW and Mercedes, which are typically associated with rear-drive luxury cars, particularly in the US market. But the truth is that the German luxury brands have always sold products in the German and other European markets that don’t match their premium overseas brand images (see, among other examples, the ubiquity of Mercedes taxis in Germany). But the strange thing about this next push towards smaller cheaper cars is that it’s not not aimed at Germany at all.

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Suicide Doors: Still A Gimmick

As Europe moves towards ever more premium subcompact cars, Opel has sought to hop on the bandwagon by giving its Corsa-based Meriva Micro-MPV stylish suicide doors. And with Buick moving towards simple rebadges of Opel’s product, the suicide-doored Meriva seems almost certain to arrive stateside as the so-called “Baby Enclave” MPV, expected to debut in the US market in 2012. There’s little doubt of the suicide door concept’s gimmick value, and we’ve said before that this factor alone could get Americans excited about the first-ever Buick subcompact… but just how much of a difference do the rear-hinged doors make in real life? According to the first German-market comparison test (by Auto Motor und Sport print edition), the Meriva’s suicide doors are still just a gimmick.

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June Sales: Subcompacts And Small Hatches
Kia’s Soul didn’t have the most electrifying launch sales-wise, but with the release of its second buzz-worthy ad, the funky little box is becomi…
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  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)