Five 2012 Green Family Cars from the New York Auto Show

April 25, 2011
2012 Kia Rio Hatchback

2012 Kia Rio Hatchback

Let’s face it. Even if you feel you need to trade in or downsize to a less expensive car, you still are loathe to give up what you’ve become accustomed to in the way of comfort, style, features and that all-important Bluetooth connectivity.

At the 2011 New York Auto Show, five new model intros show off just how desirable cheap wheels can be--in base price and in fuel costs.

Check out the following five 2012 cars just introduced at the New York show. You may just find what you’re looking for in a thrifty new car with great gas mileage, too.

2012 Hyundai Accent

The all-new subcompact 2012 Hyundai Accent, available this summer in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models, boasts a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder “Gamma” engine paired with standard six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is right up there at the big 40-mpg mark for highway, 30 mpg in city driving.

Hyundai says the 2012 Accent has best-in-class fuel economy and power. In fact, Hyundai has four 2012 model-year cars that are expected to earn 40 mpg: Sonata Hybrid, Elantra, Veloster and Accent.

With a plethora of standard safety equipment, including six airbags, stability control, traction control, and anti-lock brakes, the Accent GLS still comes in at just $12,445 (with six-speed manual) and $15,195 (with six-speed automatic). Other trims include the well-equipped five-door GS, and top-line sporty five-door SE ($16,795 starting price with six-speed automatic).

Check out the FamilyCarGuide story on Hyundai targeting families for its next new products here, and Bengt Halvorson’s preview of the just-introduced 2012 Hyundai Accent at TheCarConnection.

2012 Kia Rio

Coming in at the magic 40-mpg highway figure (not surprising, since the 2012 Kia Rio four-door sedan and five-door hatchback are corporate cousins of the Hyundai Accent), the 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine making 138 horsepower does so with either six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic transmission. The Rio also features stop-start technology, which shuts off the engine during idle (like at a traffic light) and automatically restarts when the driver releases the brake pedal.

Smart exterior design and a well-equipped interior mark the three Rio trims (LX, EX and SX), with standard features that are a bit surprising. This includes standard driver’s seat height adjuster in the LX; Bluetooth wireless connectivity and steering wheel-mounted audio controls, leatherette door trim, telescoping steering wheel and more in the EX; and in the top-line SX, metal pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and UVO by Microsoft, the Bluetooth-driven communication and entertainment system that includes a rearview camera.

With the same long list of standard safety features as the 2012 Hyundai Accent, the 2012 Kia Rio and Rio5 should prove appealing to consumers in the market for an affordable and safe small car. The 2012 Kia Rio and Rio5 arrive in dealer showrooms this fall. While pricing hasn’t been announced, some auto writers speculate starting prices to be in the vicinity of the $15,800 for today’s four-door sedan and $20,045 for the 2011 five-door hatchback.

See coverage of the 2012 Kia Rio at the 2011 New York Auto Show in MotorAuthority.

2012 Mazda Mazda3

Refreshed already (the Mazda3 was redesigned for 2010), the 2012 Mazda Mazda3 is one of the first North American vehicles from Mazda to feature its new SKYACTIV technology that boosts fuel economy to 40 mpg highway while increasing performance. Both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models will offer SKYACTIV (a direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic transmission). The 40-mpg highway number is only for the 2012 Mazda3 sedan with the six-speed automatic. The Mazda3 five-door hatchback with the same setup is estimated to deliver 28 mpg city/38 mpg highway.

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