One of the main problems with hybrid vehicles is the cost. The government does offer tax credits that help offset the price, but those are negated by the enormous premiums that the dealers are charging in addition to the MSRP; simply because the supply of these vehicles is limited and they are high in demand, Business 101. It has been concluded that the additional amount spent to purchase a hybrid instead of the traditional model will never be recuperated at the pump because the sher number of miles that a person would have to drive is tremendous.

For example, a well-optioned Toyota Prius can around $30,000. Hopefully Honda will affect this trend by introducing an affordable hybrid vehicle. The 2010 Honda Insight will go on sale March 24th for around $19,800 becoming the cheapest hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S. The five-door five-seater gas-electric hybrid follows Honda’s latest design trend and comes with a long list of standard features.

"The all-new Honda Insight brings the cost of entry for hybrid technology within closer reach of an entirely new car-shopping audience"

Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist joins a 1.3 liter 4 cylinder i-VTEC gasoline engine with a 10 kilowatt electric motor connected to a Continuously Variable Transmission. The electric motor is positioned in between the engine and transmission. This motor provides power during acceleration and through regenerative braking generates electricity during deceleration that is stored in the battery for future use. Another benefit of the IMA system is its ability to operate exclusively on electric power during low speed driving and the fuel saving idle stop feature that shuts down the 4 cylinder engine while the vehicle is standing still.

New for 2010 is the Ecological Drive Assist System, much like FIAT’s Eco Drive software that lets you record personal driving statistics on a flash drive and then have the program evaluate your economy at home on a PC. Except that with Eco Assist displays all the information in front of the driver in real time on a 3-D looking panel in front of the speedometer. Off to the left is another new feature is the ECON button, which can manipulate the throttle, control, CVT operation, idle-stop duration, air conditioning and in the slightly higher priced EX model the cruise-control operation in order to achieve maximum efficiency.

All of this technology is said to return 40 miles per gallon in city driving and 43 miles per gallon while cruising on the highway. The 10.6 gallon gas tank in the Honda hybrid should give the Insight a range of over 400 miles.

The vehicle will also be sold in an EX trim starting at $21,300 and $23,100 for navigation. Not to shabby for an affordable hybrid.

Press release after the jump.

The Seoul based car maker Kia has announced pricing for their all new crossover the 2010 Kia Soul and the numbers look pretty good. The CUV will be available in 4 trim levels: the base Soul starts at $13,300 and only comes with a 5 speed manual, the Soul+ is priced at $14,950, the upscale Soul! and Soul Sport both retail for $16,950.

The base Soul is the only variant available with the 1.6 liter four cylinder engine that produces 122 HP and 115 ft-lb of torque. The rest of the lineup comes with the 2.0 liter four cylinder that makes 142 HP and 137 lb-ft of torque and gets 24/30 MPG in the city and on the highway respectively. Unlike the 1.6, this power plant can be shifted by either a five speed manual like the base or a four speed automatic transmission.

The only options available for the Soul+ are a $400 315 Watt stereo system and an $800 power moon roof that will also get you fog lights for the front bumpers. The Soul Sport comes with a rear spoiler standard, but the power moon roof is a $700 option, and unlike the Soul+ fog lights come standard.

The Soul is being offered with a few impressive features, like the 10 year 100,000 mile warranty. Dual front and side curtain airbags, electronic stability control and 4 wheel anti-lock disc brakes. Air conditioning, Bluetooth and keyless entry are all standard. Kia is even throwing in a trial period of Sirius satellite radio.

The low entry price and long list of standard features should make the Kia Soul the perfect alternative to mundane people movers, now if we could only get our hands on one.

Press release after the jump.

Mazda today announced pricing on the 2010 Mazda3 . The car will go on sale at prices starting at just $15,045 for the manual version and $18,350 for the automatic one. The 4-door version starts at $19,540, while the 5-door one at $20,030.

Mazda3 is powered by a 2.5-liter engine that delivers 167 hp and 168 lb.-ft. of torque - 13 more hp and 18 more lb.-ft. of torque than the 2.3-liter it replaces.

New packages for the 2010 model include a Technology package and the Moonroof/six CD changer/BOSE ® Audio package.

Available on both s models, the Technology package includes advanced keyless entry, push-button start, a compact full-color navigation system, Sirius satellite radio with six months of free service and a perimeter alarm - all for $1,195.

Press release after the jump.

Nissan announced today a new special version for the compact model Cube: Krom. The new version comes with exclusive exterior and interior treatments, elevating Cube’s unique styling to a sportier, more aggressive dimension. The 2010 Cube will go on sale in May at a price of $13,990.

Nissan Cube Krom

The cube Krom starts with the extensive list of cube 1.8 S model standard features, then adds a 3-bar chrome grille, 2-bar chrome front bumper grille, fully integrated front and rear fascias, body side sills, unique rear roof spoiler, exclusive 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and Krom rear emblem.

The 2009 Nissan Cube will now be offered in four versions, Cube 1.8, Cube 1.8 S, Cube 1.8 SL and Cube 1.8 Krom.

Press release after the jump.

Nissan announced pricing on the 2009 Sentra and Sentra SE-R; both models will receive a new rear trunk lid design, MP3 playback capability and a new Premium Audio Package.

Pricing are as follows: Sentra 2.0 with Xtronic CVT is $16,730, Sentra 2.0 S is $16,960 with the 6-speed manual transmission and $17,760 with Xtronic CVT; Sentra 2.0 SL with Xtronic CVT is priced at $19,660; 2009 Sentra SE-R with standard 177-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and Xtronic CVT with paddle shifters has an MSRP of $20,660.

The Sentra SE-R Spec V, which features a high-output version of the SE-R’s 2.5-liter engine – rated at 200 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque – and a 6-speed manual transmission, is priced at $21,160.

Press release after the jump.

Last year’s redesign of the Ford Focus revived sales of the little car, so for 2009 Ford is looking to continue the rebirth of the Focus with a new coupe version. The hatchback’s replacement is now on sale at a starting price of $16,875.

The Coupe version will be powered by a 2.0-liter, Duratec 20 dual-overhead-cam (DOHC), and an inline 4-cylinder engine that delivers 143 horsepower when combined with a five-speed manual transmission and 140 horsepower when paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.

Also available is a super-clean, 130-horsepower Duratec 20E engine that qualifies Focus as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) in California emissions states. The 20E’s tailpipe emissions are cleaner than some hybrid gas-electric vehicles’. The Duratec 20 and 20E in Focus Coupe are mated to a five-speed manual transmission and achieve EPA-estimated fuel economy of 35 mpg highway.

It’s small; It’s cheap; It’s fuel efficient; and It’s now what the U.S. looking to buy. Toyota today announced US pricing for the 2009 Yaris subcompact models. It will go on sale later this summer with prices ranging from $12,205 for the three-door Liftback (hatchback) Base model to $15,880 for the Sedan S model. This also includes the five-door Liftback model starting from $13,305.

The little four cylinder Yaris gets 29 MPG city and 36 highway
when the 1.5-liter engine is mated to a manual transmission.

Press release after the jump

Mazda today announced the US prices for the 2009 Mazda6 . The new sports sedan will go on sale in late August, 2008 at a price of $18,550 for a MAZDA6 i SV, equipped with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter I-4 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. Pricing for the 2009 MAZDA6 s, powered by a 273-horsepower V6 engine and six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission begins at $24,130.

2009 Mazda6 pricing announced

Power for the 2009 MAZDA6 will be available from an all-new Mazda-designed and developed MZR 170-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 273- horsepower 3.7-liter V6, as used in the 2008 CX-9, Motor Trend’s 2008 Sport/Utility of the Year and the 2008 North American Truck of the Year. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or five-speed Sport AT automatic with manual-shift mode (2.5-liter engine) or a six-speed Sport AT automatic with manual-shift mode (3.7-liter V6). I-4 models equipped with the Sport AT are certified at the ultra-clean SULEV level, and PZEV in California-emission states. All V6 models meet ULEV standards for all 50 states.

Volkswagen announced today that its Jetta SportWagen, a sporty and functional wagon version of their top-selling Jetta model, is now available in dealer showrooms. The Jetta SportWagen combines practicality with European style and balances both style and sportiness—exceptional ride and handling and class-leading safety features, coupled with its functional design are perfect for those with an active lifestyle.

Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen on sale starting today

Staying true to Volkswagen’s long history of delivering performance and value, the Jetta SportWagen will be offered in three engine variations. Now available in dealer showrooms is the 2.5-liter, five cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 177 lbs.-ft of torque. For those wanting more power, a 2.0-liter, turbo-charged, four cylinder engine that produces 200 hp and 207 lbs.-ft. of toque will be available in dealer showrooms later this year. The 2.5L Jetta SportWagen has a starting price of $18,999.

Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen on sale starting today

For customers desiring an efficient alternative fuel vehicle, the Jetta SportWagen TDI will also be available later this year with an all-new 2.0L clean diesel engine that produces 140 hp, and an impressive 236 lbs.-ft. of torque. The clean diesel engine version demonstrates that consumers do not have to compromise when it comes to performance and fuel efficiency. The Jetta SportWagen TDI will have a starting price of $23,590.

Nissan today announced pricing on the 2009 Nissan Versa, which went on sale June 16th at Nissan dealers nationwide. Versa remains a leading choice for consumers seeking fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance or roominess. Versa sales have increased 19.6% to date in 2008, with demand increasing every month.
For 2009, Versa again offers the highest standard horsepower/torque ratings and the largest interior in the entry-level segment – along with excellent quality, reliability and durability. Fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg City/33 mpg Highway when equipped with the Xtronic CVT™ (Continuously Variable Transmission). Changes for 2009 include minor adjustments to content and packaging, along with reducing ordering complexity for consumers.
The front-wheel drive Versa is available in two body styles, a 5-door Hatchback and 4-door Sedan, and in two well-equipped trims, S and SL.

Full pricing after the jump.

Back to top