2012 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Small

The small car segment, a crucial and very competitive one in Canada, contains some of Canada’s best-selling cars.

Cars in this segment are no longer cheap, but equipment levels, refinement and performance are equal to those of mid-size cars a decade ago. Other than a need for greater cabin space, there is no compelling reason to move beyond this class.

Over the last few years, new cars in this segment have arrived as relentlessly as waves on a beach. New entries for this year include the Acura ILX, Chevrolet Volt, Dodge Dart, and Nissan Leaf, as well new versions of the Subaru Impreza and Volkswagen Beetle. Hyundai has also introduced two early-release 2013 variants of the Elantra, a coupe, and the GT, which replaces the Touring.

The better cars in this class are economical to operate, very reliable, and have excellent resale value. Interestingly, the highest-rated cars are often very competitive on a monthly payment basis, and are the only ones that offer a lease worth considering. The average and below average cars in this segment can seldom be leased, and though finance payments may be low, so will the resale value if you trade in the car before the six year mark.

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2012 differ from those published by the Canada EnerGuide. For 2012, the APA is using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA), numbers for fuel economy as they better reflect real-world fuel economy. For more information, read APA President George Iny's article regarding the inadequacies of the Canada EnerGuide test cycle

Acura ILX  Hyundai Elantra  Nissan Cube  Subaru Impreza 
Chevrolet Cruze 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT  Nissan Juke  Suzuki SX4 
Chevrolet Volt  Kia Forte  Nissan Leaf  Toyota Corolla 
Dodge Dart  Mazda 3  Nissan Sentra  Toyota Matrix 
Ford Focus  MINI Countryman  Scion tC  Volkswagen Beetle 
Honda Civic  Mitsubishi Lancer  Scion xB  Volkswagen Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R 
Honda Insight  Mitsubishi RVR Scion xD  Volkswagen Jetta 

Mazda 3

Specifications

5 star

 

 

 

 

What’s new

A USB port is standard on all models for 2013. GS: standard trip computer. New Touring Edition package. GT: Blind spot monitor, satellite radio, navigation and Keyless Go are all standard.

Performance
The 2.5L four in the 3 GT is quick, quiet, smooth, flexible and pretty parsimonious with fuel, especially on the highway. The excellent five-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, responds eagerly to driver commands and is geared to facilitate very relaxed cruising. The base 2L four powering the GX trim level is a refined, economical performer. The SKYACTIVE high efficiency system found under the hood of the GS model is hooked to a six-speed automatic transmission that is reluctant to kickdown, and geared for maximum fuel economy at the expense of driving pleasure. The GS SKYACTIVE 3's drivetrain lacks the eagerness of the other non-turbo engines available in the 3. The turbo engine in the SPPED 3 delivers thrilling perfomance. The 3's carefully developed chassis handles sinuous backroads with aplomb, refusing to lose its composure even when faced with sizeable mid-corner bumps. This handling prowess does not come at the expense of ride comfort, which has a pleasing resilience. If the 3 disappoints at all, it is in its steering, which, while precise and nicely geared, is too light and lacks feel. Strong progressive brakes.

The 3’s cabin is fronted by a dashboard stocked with clear instruments (which can be partially blocked by the adjustable steering wheel) and straightforward, logical controls. The cabin design is conservatively avant garde, and carefully constructed from attractive components. The front seats grip occupants well on twisting roads, but some APA testers found their padding too firm for total comfort. Taller drivers may find the front seats have insufficient travel. Rear seat legroom, just adequate for adults, is disappointing for a car in this segment. Good trunk space on the sedan and good versatility with the hatchback. Good audio quality. The 3 hatchback (Sport in Mazda speak) was judged the best car in a three car APA comparison test that included the Mitsubishi Lancer hatchback (rated a close second) and the Hyundai Elantra Touring (rated a distant third).

Comments
Three mainstream engines, a 148 horsepoower four (GX), a 155 horsepower four (GS) and a 2.5L four (GT), are offered in the 3. The MazdaSpeed 3 is equipped with a 263 horsepower 2.3L turbo. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic in the GX, a six-speed manual in both the 3 GS, GT and SPEED 3, and a six-speed automatic is optional on the GS and GT. 

Pricing
The GS upgrade is great value but the range-topping GT is a bit overpriced. The GX Convenience, GS-L and GT-E option packages are all exceptional value. A GS-L has many of the features of the 2.5L GT, but with better fuel consumption and a lower price. The hatchback body style (Sport in MazdaSpeak), sells for $1000 more the the equivalent sedan. . Poor value leasing.

GX Convenience and GS-L packages are excellent value. Upgrading from the GX to the GS trim level is excellent value but the GT package is a bit overpriced.  Equipped with the GS-L package, the GS contains much of the equipment included on the GT model but without the more expensive and thirstier 2.5L engine. Sport (Mazda-speak for hatchback) models are priced $1000 higher than a sedan of the same trim level.

Reliability: Average reliability predicted. The previous 3 had several problems up to the 2007 model year, but the current model has been more reliable. 


Body Style:  4HB, 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L‑4 (GX 148 HP, GS 155 HP*), 2.3L-4 T (263 HP), 2.5L‑4 (167 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, 6M, 5A, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2 Bin 5
Warranty: 3/80 000, 5/100 000
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



MINI Countryman, Paceman

Specifications

NOT RATED

 

 

 

 

What’s new
The Paceman, a two-door hatchback version of the Countryman, goes on sale in the spring of 2013.
Performance
The turbo engine, which delivers strong perfomance in a vocal fasion, mates well with the optional automatic transmission. The Countryman's harsh ride is mated to a less agile feel than experienced in other MINIS. Like other MINIS, the cabin is very stylish, but suffers from buckshot ergonomics. Attractive cabin fittings with lots of padded surfaces. Chic two-tone cabin trim options and abundant attractive faux alloy trim. Cargo space is reasonable with the rear seat in place and versatile with it folded. The rear seat can be slid forward and back to maximize cargo or passenger space.

Comments
The Countryman, available in Cooper and Cooper S versions, shares the same power units seen in other MINI models. Front-wheel drive is standard with either engine. The optional ALL4 all-wheel drive system has a default 50/50 front/rear setting.

Pricing

The Countryman La Countryman is priced $2200 (Cooper S) to $2500 (Cooper) higher than the equivalent normal Cooper hatchback. At just $1250, the optional all-wheel drive system is a bargain. The Nissan Juke, similar in concept to the Countryman, is available for thousands of dollars less. NEED TO CHECK ON ALL 4 pricing

Reliability: Insufficient data. No data on the ALL4 all-wheel drive system. Premature manual transmission clutch wear on the first year of Countryman production. Servicing costs similar to a German luxury car.


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6L‑4 (121 HP), 1.6L-4 T (181 HP), 1.6L-4T (205 HP: John Cooper Works)

Transmissions: 6M, 6A* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: N/A
Warranty: 4/80 000

Country of Origin: England

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Mitsubishi Lancer

Specifications

3 star

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s new
For 2013 the Lancer lineup includes a 10th Anniversary SE sedan and a GT version of the SWC. Last year for the current Lancer. New colour,

Performance
The Lancer's 2L four is willing, flexible and moves the Lancer along at a good pace, but is hardly the last word in refinement. Linked to a five-speed manual transmission with a precise short-throw gearchange and light clutch, the Lancer is a lively performer but low gearing leads to higher than normal engine revs at highway speeds. The CVT delivers good acceleration and low-rev cruising, but is a slow-witted device that holds onto high revs too long during acceleration, spoiling refinement. The quick, nicely-weighted steering suffers from torque-steer. The Lancer’s agile handling is coupled to a firm yet resilient ride. Tight turning circle. The very quick Ralliart turbo model is noisy and rides roughly. The front seats are quite small but prove comfortable on long runs. The Recaro seats in the Ralliart are mounted lower than the seats in mainstream versions of the Lancer. Rear seat comfort and legroom are good for this class. The rising beltline makes occupants feel a bit buried, especially in the rear seat, and hinders visibility for lane changes. Lane change visibility is further reduced on the hatchback by the sloping roof shape, which also reduces rear seat headroom to a bare minimum for taller occupants. Big, clear main instruments. Fuel and temperature displays are available via the standard trip computer. Cabin climate is controlled by three large dials that feel cheap when turned. Interior fit and finish are class competitive. The trunk on the sedan is roomy and easily accessed. The hatchback cargo area is nicely finished, and has a cargo floor panel that can be adjusted to two different heights. The Lancer hatchback came in second in an APA multi-car road test, behind the Mazda 3 GS hatchback.  

Comments
The Lancer is based on the variable-size chassis that also underpins the Outlander, RVR, Dodge Caliber, Chrysler 200 and the Compass and Patriot from Jeep. The normally-aspirated 2L four can be linked to either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT. The 2.4L four resides under the hood of the all-wheel drive AWD models. The Ralliart is powered by a turbocharged 2L four that sends power to all four wheels via a twin clutch gearbox similar to VW’s DSG system. The 2L four in the Lancer Evolution cranks out 291 horsepower. Its all-wheel drive system sends power to the road via either a five-speed manual transmission or the twin clutch gearbox.

Pricing

At $2700, the all-wheel drive system is reasonal value for the money. DE, SE, 10th Anniversary and GT upgrades lack value. The Sportback (hatchback), body style costs an extra $200 (GT), to $600 (SE), compared with a sedan of the same trim level. The Ralliart (automatic only) has an MSRP $500 to $700 higher than a Subaru WRX (manual only).  Good value Premium package.

Reliability:

Not rated, insufficient data. The APA has received complaints regarding poor paint adhesion on Lancer models. The long warranty (shorter warranties on the less reliable Ralliart and EVO models), has attracted some buyers to Mitsubishi. 


Body Style:  4HB, 4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L‑4 (148 HP)*, 2L-4 T (Ralliart 237 HP; Evolution 291 HP), 2.4L-4 (168 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, CVT,* 6 automated manual  
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: N/A
Warranty: 5/100,000, 10/160,000. Ralliart and Evolution 3/60,000/, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Mitsubishi RVR

Specifications

3 star

 

 

 

 

 

What’s new
Now built in the United States.
Performance
The RVR's 2L four lacks torque below 3000 rpm, is noisy and performs just adequately when hooked to a manual transmission that has excessively high gearing. Precise, long-throw gearchange allies to a progressive clutch. The available CVT works well enough but employs a lot of noisy revs from the coarse engine to deliver tepid, unenthusiastic acceleration. Good control of road and wind noise combines with low-rev cruising to make the RVR a relaxing car on the highway. An absorbent ride is accompanied by noticeable lean in corners, which turns to understeer when pushed. Porpoising is evident on long undulations and the car can be deflected off its path by mid-corner bumps. The brakes have an inert pedal feel. Light, lifeless steering. Noisy Chinese tires on the ES and SE trim levels.

The RVR's cabin is fronted by a classically conservative dashboard housing clear instrumentation and straightforward control. The dash and the upper door panels are padded in a material with a very upmarket appearance, and while most other surfaces are hard to the touch, their matte finishes are quite attractive. Faux alloy trim pieces brighten the cabin. The front seats are large, deeply padded, very comfortable and swathed in appealing fabrics. The door panels have cloth inserts matching those on the seats. With good space utilization, the RVR can easily house a quartet of adults and can take three people in the back seat for short hops. The APA's top spec. GT model was equipped with a name-brand audio system that produces very pleasing sounds. It also featured a fixed, full-length glass roof panel equipped with an electrically-retracting screen that fully blocks the rays of the sun when closed. The roof was frustrating in that most drivers would prefer at least some part of it to open. That said, rear seat passengers enjoyed the panoramic views afforded by the massive glazed area. Small lights, located alongside the tracks of the sunscreen reflect onto the glass, which amused some passengers, especially at night. The RVR's regularly-shaped cargo bay is a bit shallow below its cargo cover, but expands considerably when you fold down the rear seats.

Comments

Mitsubishi picked its 2L four to power the RVR instead of the available 2.4L four for the express purpose of being able to advertise a relatively low fuel consumption figure. In so doing, Mitsubishi has created a car that is a noisy, thrashy, unenthusiatic performer that really takes the joy out of driving. The car is marketed as an SUV or crossover, but in terms of size, versatility and price, it is in reality a direct competitor to the Toyota Matrix. One engine, a 2L four, can be hooked up to a five-speed manual or an optional CVT, which is the sole transmission offered with all-wheel drive. At around 6500 units sold in Canada last year, the RVR has been a major hit for Mitsubishi here.

Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the GT is a $2100 option on the SE. Upgrading to the SE trim level is priced to reflect the value of its additional equipement. Moving from the SE to the GT is very good value. The GT Premium package carefully balances price and value. No leasing is available.

Reliability: Not rated, insufficient data available on this recent model. The long warranty attracts some customers to a Mitsubishi. Some replacement parts are very expensive. 


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L‑4 (148 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, CVT*
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: N/A
Warranty: 5/100,000, 10/160,000
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Acceptable

Rear: Acceptable

NHTSA Rating: 



Nissan Cube

Specifications

4 star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s new
No changes of note.

Performance
The 1.8L-CVT power combination is acceptably quick, flexible, and unless really pushed hard, impressively refined. The steering is nicely geared, but is over-boosted and lacks feel. The predictable but uninvolving handling is balanced by a blissfully absorbent ride that combines with the excellent driveline to make the Cube a superb city car. Wind noise, exacerbated by the square-rigged shape and lack of sound proofing in the roof trim, intrudes at highway speeds. The resolutely vertical side windows cause annoying reflections of the cabin, and sometimes even the cabins of cars next to you, when driving at night. Very good use of space, especially headroom, for such a small car. Passenger side rear legroom could be better if the large glovebox, which prevents the front passenger sitting closer to dash, reducing rear legroom, were made more compact. Three people in the back seat is a tight squeeze. The large, flat front seats do little to grip occupants but they are deeply padded and very comfortable. The rear seat is poorly shaped and passengers begin to fidget soon after entry. The Versa hatchback, built on the same platform, treats rear passengers far better. The cabin is carefully assembled from quality components, but the design lacks visual sparkle. The circular climate controls look bizarre at first but work well once you are used to them. Floor mats that echo the pattern of the seat upholstery shows keen attention to detail, but the rectangular dome light residing at the centre of the radiating circle headliner motif does not. The cargo area, accessed via a side-hinged cargo door, is deep, but the lack of a flip and fold rear seat limits cargo versatility. The flexible luggage cover is difficult to set up and doesn’t stay put after it is installed. Good general exterior fit and finish, however, the engine compartment is not adequately sealed against the elements, and some exterior panels, like the front fenders, are very thin indeed. In a group test which included the Kia Soul conducted by the APA, the Soul had a more stylish cabin, better rear seat legroom and a much more comfortable rear seat. The Kia also feels sportier on the road, but falls way beyond the Nissan in terms of driveline refinement and ride comfort.

Comments
The Cube is based on the architecture underpinning the Versa. With 70 mm (2.8 inches) less space between the wheels, the Cube, is 315 mm (12.4 inches) shorter, the same width and 115 mm (4.6 inches) taller than the Versa hatchback. The styling is unique, a bit comical, and features an asymmetric rear tailgate and window treatment. Although it has a boxy silhouette, it bears many curvilinear styling elements. The powertrain, a 1.8L four hooked to either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT, is pulled directly from the Versa hatchback parts bin. With six airbags, ABS and ESC, the Cube features full safety equipment. Air conditioning and a power group are standard, with high tech options like keyless go, Bluetooth, iPod port and rear parking sonar, optional. Like the first Scion xB, the Cube combines low price with an undeniable cool, but a cool few people want as fewer than 500 were sold in 2011, 80 percent less than in 2010. 


Pricing
Upgrading from the S to the SL trim level represents excellent value, as does the SL Technology package. Poor incentives discourage leasing.


Reliability

Not rated, insufficient data due to limited sales. Some components, shared with the Versa hatchback, have not been trouble free. 


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.8L‑4 (122 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.7L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: LEV2-LEV
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Nissan Juke

Specifications

4 star

 

 

 

 

What’s new
No changes of note.

Performance
The Juke's 1,8L turbo four spools up after a slight delay, and pulls in a strong, linear fashion from 2000 to 5000 rpm. Robust, flexible passing power seldom requires downshifting any lower than fifth gear when hooked to a manual transmission. The turbo four is acceptably refined but gets loud at full chat. Despite a slightly rubbery gearchange and longish throws, the manual transmission works well. Light, progressive clutch. Heavy fuel consumption of Premium fuel. Precise, nicely-weighted  steering and entertaining handling. Firm, sometimes harsh ride. Poor rear visibility. Supportive front seats grip occupants well but without a telescoping steering wheel, the driving position is not ideal. Seat travel is limited for the very tall. Front seat centre armrests would improve comfort. The rear seat is too narrow to handle three persons comfortably. Tight rear legroom. Limited headroom on sunroof-equipped models. Crisply-marked gauges and logical controls inhabit a stylish cabin embellished with exterior body-colour accents. Good fit and finish. Limited trunk space. Strong air-conditioning, Good audio and navigation systems.

Comments
Only one engine, a 188 horsepower 1.6L four, is available in the Juke. Two transmissions, a six-speed manual and a CVT, are offered on front-wheel drive Jukes, with the CVT standard on the all-wheel drive model. With nearly 5000 units sold in 2011, the Juke has been a major success story for Nissan, especially for a niche vehicle.  

Pricing
Overpriced SL upgrade. All-wheel drive is an $1800 option on CVT-equipped Jukes. High value Navigation package. Poor value leasing. The Juke is very similar in concept to the MINI Countryman S, but significantly cheaper.

Reliability: Not rated, insufficient data. 


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
1.6L‑4 T (188 HP)

Transmissions: 6M, CVT* 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.7L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2 Bin 5
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Nissan Leaf

Specifications

Not Rated

 

 

 

 

What’s new
All-new electric-powered compact car.

Comments
The all-electric Nissan Leaf is built on a 100 mm longer wheelbase, is 150 mm longer, 75 mm wider and 15 mm taller than the Versa hatchback. To some, the Leaf's aerodynamic shape is too whimsical to properly convey its technical achievement with suffcient gravitas. The dashboard features a Honda Civic-like dual-plane instrumentation with a brow-mounted digital speedometer and a main panel with crisply-marked readouts. The Leaf is significantly roomier than the Chevrolet Volt. Prosaic fabrics, dull colour choices, unimpressive materials and uninspired cabin styling disappoint. The Leaf is powered by an 80 kW (107 ch) electric motor producing a 207 lb.ft. wallop of torque. Under ideal conditions, the 24 kW laminated lithium-ion battery pack has a range of 160 km on the U.S. EPA LA4 city cycle and 114 km on the EPA combined cycle. Recharging takes 17 hours at 110 V and 7 hours at 220 V. The car is equipped with heated seats, which will help to warm occupants and hopefully minimize the use of the volt-sucking electric heating system installed in the car. Regenerative brakes send energy back to the batteries during stops. On the road, the Leaf is a fully-developed and competent car. It also was voted as the "World Car of the Year" in 2011. Range anxiety is a real concern for electric car owners. Unlike the range-extending gasoline generator in the Volt, when the Leaf's batteries are drained, the car stops. This limits the car to the role of urban/suburban runabout. Quebec residents can access the "Electric Circuit", a network of 240 Volt charging stations located at popular retail outlets, restaurants and municipal transit locations, where consumers can charge their cars while shopping or dining. Quebec also plans to install a series of 400 Vvolt quick charge stations along major highways in the province, making long-distance travel by electric car a possibility.

Pricing
The base Leaf is priced roughly $3000 less than the base Chevy Volt, but lacks the Volt's range-extending and anxiety-reducing gasoline power plant. Leaf buyers can obtain rebates of $8000 from Quebec and $8231 from Ontario when buying or leasing a new Leaf.

Reliability: Not rated, insufficient data on the Leaf's innovative technology.

See the Hybrid and Electric car section. | See our "Recently Driven" entry.


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
70 kW (107 HP) electric motor

Transmissions: None 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  20 kW/100 km

ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Zero emissions
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000, 8/160,000 (batteries)
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Nissan Sentra

Specifications

NEW

 

 

 

 

What’s new
All-new Sentra for 2013. 


Comments

The 2013 Sentra rides on a 15 mm longer wheelbase, is 58 mm longer, 21 mm narrower and marginally lower than in 2012. Styling follows Nissan's high-waisted, curvilinear design theme that has emerged over the last year or two. Some elements, like the greenhouse with a triangular 3rd side window and a massive chromed grille flanked by huge headlamps, are shared with the 2013 Altima. The look is distinctive, but to some eyes the new Sentra looks pudgy and old-fashioned. The cabin, fronted by a dashboard housing large, crisply-marked gauges and a centre stack stocked with logical controls, is a much better effort than the exterior. Sober design, pleasing shapes and some nice faux alloy accents are cabin highlights. Cabin room is competitive. Big trunk. The previous Sentra's 2 L 140 horsepower four has been replaced by a 130 horsepower 1.8L engine. A 68 kg weight loss should help to maintain performance. A big-engined Sentra SE-R will likely emerge by the summer of 2013. Two transmissions, a six-speed manual and a CVT, are offered.

Pricing

The S VOP package, likely the best-selling model of the range, is priced to reflect its additional content. The SV Luxury package very good value. SR Premium package pricing is mysteriously high. Good value leasing compared with financing but payments for both are significantly higher than for similarly-priced Toyota Corolla.

Reliability: New car, not rated. .


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2L‑4 (130 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M, CVT 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  8.7L/100 km
ESC: Optional on the 2.0 and 2.0S, standard on other trim levels.

Emissions ratings: LEV2
Warranty: 3/60 000, 5/100 000
Country of Origin:  Mexico

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Acceptable

Rollover: Acceptable

Rear: Acceptable

NHTSA Rating: 



Scion tC

Specifications

NOT RATED

 

 

 

 

What’s new
All-season floor mats standard. Revised audio equipment. Limited (175 units) High Voltage RS 7.0 special edition.

Performance
The crisp, enthusiastic performance delivered by the 2.5L four and six-speed automatic transmission on the open road deteriorates into a mild lurch-fest in town because of a stiff throttle pedal, and heavy brakes. A loud exhaust system adds a sonic edge to in-town travel. The ride is firm yet resilient despite the low-profile 18 inch tires. Handling is precise and highway stability is good. Outward visibility is compromised by shallow windows and heavy rear roof pillars. The cabin is fronted by large, easily scanned gauges, as well as a logical three-dial climate control set-up. The audio system has frustrating, mysterious controls and emits a mediocre sound. The heavily bolstered front seats hold, but don’t confine, and prove comfortable on a long run. Legroom is good front and rear, and rear seat access is relatively easy due to front seats that glide forward when the seatbacks are released. The interior is carefully assembled but the look of some components reminds you that the tC is not an expensive car. The huge standard sunroof works very well. The cargo area is easily accessed via the large hatchback door, and while the floor space is ample, the trunk is shallow below the window line.

Comments
Built on the same platform as the Scion xB, the tC is longer, wider and lower than its showroom companion. Styling is vaguely sporty. The tC's substantial size and hatchback format give it a unique edge in the market as few competitors can comfortably seat four people as well as having a versatile luggage locker. The same 2.5L four used in the Camry, producing 180 horsepower in this application, powers the tC. Power reaches the front wheels via a duo of six-speed transmissions, one manual, one automatic. With over 2000 sold in 2011, the tC was the most popular of Scion's three models (along with the xB and xD), introduced last year. 

Pricing

For 2012, the tC is offered in base and High Voltage 7.0 RS forms. The High Voltage upgrade lacks content for the extra outlay requested. Scion offers plenty of very expensive dealer-installed accessories to customize its cars Starting at under $23,000 with manual transmission, a tC equipped with satellite radio, fog lights and a secuity system (but no navigation), is priced $3400 less than a Honda Civic Si coupe. Reasonable leasing terms.  

Reliability: Above average reliability predicted as the tC's main mechanical components have proven reliable in other Toyota products. 


Body Style:  2HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2.5L‑4 (180 HP) 

Transmissions: 6M*, 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.2L/100 km
ESC: Standard

Emissions ratings: Tier 2 BIn 5
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Scion xB

Specifications

4 star

 

 

 

What’s new
Standard all-season floormats. Revised Premium audio system. Limited edition Release Series 9.0 introduced.

Performance
The xB is roughly the same size as the Toyota Matrix. The 2.4L four is quick, flexible and is well-matched to its optional four-speed automatic transmission. The automatic works very well despite its unfashionably low gear count. A stiff throttle discourages smooth driving. Stable handling comes at the expense of ride, which is very firm and occasionally harsh. Precise, nicely weighted steering. Easily modulated brakes. High interior noise levels. Limited visibility. Inside, design trumps ergonomics. The centrally-mounted dashboard gauges are easy to scan except for the partially obscured tachometer. Hopeless audio controls. The vast cabin has abundant leg and headroom. Commanding driving position. The front seats are comfortable despite the short seat cushions. Limited front seat travel. Copious hard plastic surfaces, small windows and sombre hues make the cabin a grim place to inhabit. Versatile, easily accessed cargo space.
Comments
Only one engine, a 188 horsepower 2.4L four, is offered in the xB. Two transmissions, a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic, are available.

Pricing

The xB is sold in only one, very well equipped trim level. Pricey dealer-installed options allow for some customization. For just over $19,000, an xB with automatic transmission sells for less than a similarly-equipped Matrix, and considering its cabin space and versatility, it is one of the best new car deals in the new car market. Good lease value.

Reliability: Insufficient data, not rated. Above average reliability predicted.


Body Style:  4HB
Occupants: 2/3
Engines:
2.4L-4 (158 HP) 

Transmissions: 5M, 4A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  10.7L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2 BIn 5
Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000
Country of Origin:  Japan

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 


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