2012 Nissan Versa four-door sedanEnlarge Photo
Slightly larger than before, as well as larger than most of its competitors, the redesigned 2012 Nissan Versa remains the lowest-priced small car in America, starting at $10,990. This second-generation Versa, even with its “clean sheet ground-up design,” still manages to wrangle 14.8 cubic feet of trunk space (slightly more than the previous Versa), offer a clean and uncluttered look in the interior, is nicely designed, and has a number of consumer-friendly options on the upper trim levels.
Powered by a 109-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (now that Nissan did away with the 1.8-liter engine), the Versa gets a boost in fuel economy: EPA-estimated 30 mpg city/37 mpg highway (with CVT transmission) and 27/36 with five-speed manual transmission. Initially, the 2012 Nissan Versa will be available in Sedan 1.6 S, Sedan 1.6 SV, and Sedan 1.6 SL.
Check out this preview of the 2012 Nissan Versa in TheCarConnection.
2012 Ford Fiesta customization packEnlarge Photo
Ford introduced the all-new subcompact Fiesta as a 2011 model, available in sedan and hatchback in five models. Starting price ranges from $13,995 for the Fiesta S sedan to $18,295 for the Fiesta SES hatchback (prices include $795 destination charge). Power comes from a 120-horsepower 1.6-liter Duratec in-line four-cylinder engine paired with standard five-speed manual transmission or optional PowerShift six-speed automatic. SFE (Super Fuel Economy) package, available in SE sedan and SE hatchback, gets an EPA-estimated 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway fuel economy. Seven airbags are standard, and the 2011 Ford Fiesta is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
For 2012, while pricing and other details are yet to be announced, what is known is that Ford is introducing three new packages: two interior and one exterior. Ford says the new packages build upon the trend of current Fiesta customers to accessorize and personalize their vehicles. More than 40 percent of Fiesta customers purchase at least one accessory. Adding packages and accessories to the Fiesta boosts the sales price, so it’s much more attractive to Ford’s bottom line.
In this review, TheCarConnection editors give the 2011 Ford Fiesta an overall 8.0 (out of 10 rating).
2011 Honda Fit SportEnlarge Photo
Another small-car best-seller, the five-passenger 2011 Honda Fit, which has six standard airbags, is available in three models, from the Fit (with base price starting at $15,870, including $770 destination charge) to the Fit Sport with Navigation (starting at $19,240). Power for all Fit models comes from the 117-horsepower 1.5-liter in-line four-cylinder engine mated with standard five-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg city/33 mpg highway (manual) and 28/35 with automatic.
Expect to see the debut of the all-electric Honda Fit EV (first shown at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show) in 2012. Honda has already said the Fit EV will carry five passengers, get an estimated 100 mile range, boasts a lithium-ion battery and high-density coaxial electric motor derived from the Honda FCX Clarity. Recharging with 120-volt outlet will be less than 12 hours and less than six hours using a 240-volt outlet.
Editors at TheCarConnection checked out the 2011 Honda Fit and gave it an overall 8.0 (out of 10) rating here.