2013 Acura ILX vs. 2012 Honda Civic: Which Would You Buy?

2013 Acura ILX

The Acura ILX is in a unique position in the marketplace. With a starting price of around $25,000, the premium compact sedan competes with a small set of vehicles that includes the Buick Verano and Volvo C30. These types of vehicles are a growing niche in the market, but is there a big enough difference in sophistication and luxury to choose a premium-brand model over the mainstream car on which it's based?

The 2013 Acura ILX is based off a heavily modified Honda Civic. It features different shock absorbers, a faster steering ratio, a larger-diameter steering shaft, thicker windows and more insulation. Of course, the exterior and interior are completely unique to the Acura.

As for marketing, Honda did a judicious job of making sure the ILX and Civic don't compete on price. A top-of-the-line 2012 Civic EX-L sedan with navigation costs $23,605 and doesn't come with features like automatic climate control or push-button start. These features are included on the $25,900 ILX.

By Colin Bird | April 30, 2012 | Comments (24)

For Honda, Next Accord Must be a Hit

Accord_grille
Randy LeBlanc has owned a Honda Accord for more than 20 years. A 41-year-old real-estate agent in New Orleans' suburbs, LeBlanc bought his first Accord, a used 1988 model, in the early 1990s. He replaced it with a brand-new Accord in 2001. Some 125,000 miles later, LeBlanc and his wife are looking for another sedan.

LeBlanc says he's 90 percent sure it won't be a Honda.

By Kelsey Mays | April 27, 2012 | Comments (16)

Cars.com Predicts 2013 Nissan Altima Will Outpace Market by 24%

Altima
What's a redesign worth to an automaker? Very often, it can mean a whole new life with a boom in sales. Nissan unveiled the redesigned Altima at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, and we think the new version should get a big boost at dealerships by fall, but because the current version is selling so well even today, the Altima may not outperform other recent redesigns.

At the auto show, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said he expects the Altima to outsell its predecessor enough to "take a shot at being No. 1 in the segment" — meaning it would unseat the Toyota Camry, the best-selling car in America since 2001. The Altima is right on the Camry's tail, falling short by fewer than 10,000 sales through March.

That means car shoppers should keep an eye out for possible deals at year's end on both cars as Nissan and Toyota duke it out. That's uncommon for newly redesigned cars but possible here given the stakes involved in the arms race to claim the title of "best-selling car in the country."

By Kelsey Mays | April 24, 2012 | Comments (4)

Scion xB and xD to Be Discontinued

Scion xB

Toyota plans to discontinue its iconic Scion xB and the ill-remembered xD, according to Ward's Auto.

Scion Vice President Jack Hollis told Ward's that the brand didn't "have plans for a direct xB or xD replacement."

Scion, which debuted in 2003, was aimed at drawing younger car shoppers to Toyota. To keep things fresh, part of Scion's mission statement was supposed to be a "one and done" marketing approach, Hollis said. That meant Scion models were supposed to stick around for only one generation and be replaced by new nameplates. The Scion xB and tC proved too popular to abandon; both models are now in their second generation.

By Colin Bird | April 23, 2012 | Comments (34)

2013 Cadillac ATS: More Details

2013 Cadillac ATS

As GM prepares to launch its Cadillac ATS this summer more information is beginning to leak out, including standard features and what trims will have an available manual transmission.

Starting with the engine lineup, we now have more accurate power figures. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder will produce 202 horsepower and 190 pounds-feet of torque; the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder will produce 272 hp and 260 pounds-feet of torque and the 3.6-liter V-6 will produce 321 hp and 274 pounds-feet of torque. Those figures are a bit higher than the estimates Cadillac gave us at the 2012 Detroit auto show.

By Colin Bird | April 18, 2012 | Comments (10)

NADA Warns of Impending Sticker Shock

Cafe sticker
Making fuel-efficient cars isn't cheap, and a new study warns that consumers are going to end up paying a lot for them. According to a National Automotive Dealer Association study, new government fuel-economy requirements are going to cost consumers a lot of cash and make it tough for many new-car shoppers to afford one. The NADA study warns that consumers will be paying around $3,000 more for a new vehicle once the proposed corporate average fuel economy standards take effect.

The Obama administration's proposal would double current CAFE standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025, up from 27.3 mpg today and 35.5 mpg by 2016. They are expected to be phased in starting in model-year 2017, but NADA is concerned that the price increase will make it harder for lower-income bracket consumers to qualify to finance the more expensive vehicles. The group’s study warns that the proposed rules will cut millions of potential new-car buyers out of the market in 2025.

By Jennifer Geiger | April 17, 2012 | Comments (2)

2013 Lexus GS 450h Priced at $58,950; RX at $39,310

2013 Lexus GS Hybrid

When the redesigned 2013 Lexus GS 450h goes on sale in May, it will start at $58,950, excluding an $875 destination fee.

The new Lexus GS hybrid is priced identically to the 2011 Lexus GS 450h model, despite having more standard features. The 2013 GS 450h is also significantly more fuel efficient than the previous model, at 29/34/31 mpg city/highway/combined, though the model is slower. Still, the 2013 GS 450h is plenty quick, with a zero to 60 mph time of 5.6 seconds.

By Colin Bird | April 9, 2012 | Comments (1)

2013 Chevrolet Camaro: What's Changed

2013 Camaro interior
For the 2013 model year, the Chevrolet Camaro gets a new performance package that makes it ready to hit the racetrack.

The LT, SS and ZL1 models are now available with a 7-inch touch-screen (shown above) and the MyLink multimedia system, which adds a better voice-recognition system as well as Pandora and Stitcher internet radio streaming functionality when paired with a smartphone.

By Colin Bird | March 27, 2012 | Comments (11)

2013 Hyundai Elantra Sedan: What's Changed

Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra coupe and Hyundai Elantra GT are the big news for the 2013 lineup, but the Elantra sedan gets some updates, too.

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra sedan is already on sale with a base MSRP of $16,695, excluding a $775 destination fee. That's a big jump from the $15,345 starting price of the 2012 Elantra, but for good reason: The base Elantra now comes standard with air conditioning, cruise control, telescoping steering wheel and UV windshield glass, as well as 16-inch wheels (instead of 15-inchers). If you take into account all those added features — which make the base 2013 Elantra the equivalent of the 2012 Elantra GLS with the Comfort Package — the price is $100 more than last year's Elantra with the same equipment.

By Colin Bird | March 26, 2012 | Comments (43)

Cars.com Announces Best Bets for 2012 Models

Bestbetsblog
As we've done for a long time, we're rolling out our Best Bets for the 2012 model year. We know that many consumers are looking for guidance when it comes time to choose a new car, and Best Bets were designed to help with that process.

Unlike our awards, which call out the absolute top models, Best Bets include any vehicle you can be confident in buying. We have four criteria in determining which cars to recommend:

  • The car must get average or better fuel economy for its segment
  • The car must have average or better reliability
  • The car must get average or better scores in crash tests (although we do have some exceptions for low-volume models that are not crash-tested)
  • And Cars.com's editors must endorse the car as well.

In years past, we've rolled these out mostly in one shot, but this year we're trying something new. As more 2012 models are tested and rated, we'll keep adding to the list when new information warrants it, so check back on KickingTires to see which models have gained our recommendations.

By Patrick Olsen | March 5, 2012 | Comments (19)

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