Hot New Passenger Cars for 2012

A number of new and redesigned passenger cars for 2012 are compact and subcompact models. These smaller introductions include  the Honda Civic, Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus and Hyundai Accent. The notable exceptions to the "small is new" rule are the new Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat. The retro crowd gets attention with a newcomer, the Fiat 500, and also with a redesigned Volkswagen Beetle that shows off a more aggressive look.

Hot Passenger Cars for 2012
All cars are listed in alphabetical order are from the 2012 model year.
Coupes
$15,605 - $22,405

Along with new styling inside and out, the 2012 Civic gets incremental changes to freshen up the compact. Gas mileage has been bumped to a maximum 28/39 mpg city/highway on base coupes with an automatic transmission, though the high-performance Si coupe rates at 22/31 mpg with its manual transmission.

  • Full redesign for 2012

  • Coupe or sedan body styles

  • Manual or automatic

  • Performance Si version

  • Efficient HF version

  • Hybrid version

 

Sedans
$13,735 - $18,495

The Sonic is Chevrolet's replacement for the Aveo, taking its slot as the entry-level offering with a starting price lower than the larger Chevrolet Cruze. On the inside, the Sonic's overall size hasn't changed too drastically from the Aveo, but a new, larger trunk on the sedan is sized similar to much larger cars.

  • New for 2012

  • Fresh four-cylinder engines, including turbocharged option

  • Sedan or hatchback

  • Replacement for Aveo

  • Six-speed automatic transmission

 

$16,500 - $22,700

The new Focus sold in the U.S. is the same Focus sold overseas. Perks of this strategy include a higher-quality interior and new hatchback body style along with a sedan; the previous Focus came in coupe and sedan variants.

  • Fully redesigned for 2012

  • Sedan and four-door hatchback styles

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine

  • Manual or automatic transmission

  • Up to 40 mpg on highway

  • Self-parking option

 

$16,500 - $22,700

Along with new styling inside and out, the 2012 Civic gets incremental changes to freshen up the compact. Sedans achieve a maximum 28/39 mpg city/highway rating in base models with an automatic transmission, while a high-efficiency HF model and gasoline-electric hybrid get even better mileage.

  • Full redesign for 2012

  • Coupe or sedan body styles

  • Manual or automatic

  • Performance Si version

  • Efficient HF version

  • Hybrid version

 

$12,445 - $15,795

Hyundai's entry-level Accent is all-new for 2012 and packs standard features that are rare in  this segment. These include a trip computer, height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seat and center armrest. Sedan models are available only in the base GLS trim level with minimum feature availability, while hatchbacks are better equipped (and more expensive) in GS and SE trims.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Six-speed manual or automatic

  • Direct-injection four-cylinder

  • Sedan or four-door hatchback

  • Improved gas mileage

 

TBA

The Rio is all-new for 2012. While it may be Kia's least expensive car, the new Rio borrows styling cues from the Optima, including its grille and wraparound headlights.  The inside  also has  Optima-like styling. Gas mileage for the sedan and hatch is rated at 30/40 mpg city/highway.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Sedan or hatchback

  • Four-cylinder with direct injection

  • Optional auto-stop fuel-saving technology

  • Six-speed manual or automatic

 

$15,800 - $22,770

The Mazda3 doesn't get a major overhaul for 2012, but the distinctive love-it-or-hate-it front smile gets toned down in favor of straighter face. Under the hood, a more efficient engine boosts fuel economy of the sedan with automatic transmission by 21 percent, to 28/40 mpg city/highway. A new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the old five-speed unit.

  • Sedan or four-door hatchback

  • Light exterior restyling

  • Interior tweaks

  • Up to 40 mpg on highway

  • New seat fabric patterns

  • Manual or automatic transmission

 

$10,990 - $18,390

The Versa is all-new for 2012 with a redesigned interior and exterior. The small car is Nissan's least-expensive model, which happens to be the least-expensive new car in the entire market. For 2012 the new model is  only available as a sedan. Those looking for a Versa hatchback will have to settle for the old design, as the 2011 style is carried over for 2012.

  • Redesigned sedan for 2012

  • Hatchback carries over

  • 1.6-liter (sedan) or 1.8-liter four-cylinder (hatchback)

  • Manual or automatic

  • Low base price

 

$17,495- $22,595

On top of an all-new exterior and interior design, the 2012 Subaru Impreza gets an impressive 36 mpg highway rating with its standard all-wheel drive and optional automatic transmission. There's new technology under the hood to help its gas mileage, plus additional backseat and trunk space.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Sedan or four-door hatchback

  • New 2.0-liter four-cylinder

  • Manual or CVT

  • Standard all-wheel drive

  • Larger interior

 

$21,955 - $29,845

The Camry is restyled for 2012 but doesn't get an aggressive overhaul like the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata have in recent years. It still looks like a Camry but gets incremental improvements in gas mileage, size and driving dynamics.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Four-cylinder or V-6

  • Standard automatic transmission

  • 2 mpg better gas mileage

  • Larger trunk

 

$19,995 -$32,950

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat sold in the U.S. is tailored toward U.S. buyers with an all-new design and larger size inside and out. To appeal to a wider audience, the Passat's entry-level price has dropped $7,200, now starting sub-$20,000.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Choice of three engines, including a diesel

  • Standard dual-zone automatic climate control

  • Optional Fender stereo

  • Built in America

 

Convertibles
$19,500 - $23,500

Fiat's return to the U.S. starts with the 500, a retro-styled hatchback that competes with the Mini Cooper and new Volkswagen Beetle. Along with a hatchback model, the 500c convertible offers an open-air experience with a large canvas roof.

  • Fiat's first U.S. model since the 1980s
  • Two-door hatchback sold globally
  • Available cloth-top 500c
  • Seats four
  • Sold at Chrysler dealerships
  • Similar in size to Mini Cooper

 

Hatchbacks/Wagons
$13,735 - $18,495

The Sonic is Chevrolet's replacement for the Aveo, taking its slot as the entry-level offering with a starting price lower than the Cruze. On the inside, its size hasn't changed too drastically from the Aveo. The hatchback gains more room behind the rear seat even though overall cargo room is down.

  • New for 2012

  • Fresh four-cylinder engines, including turbocharged option

  • Sedan or hatchback

  • Replacement for Aveo

  • Six-speed automatic transmission

 

$15,500 - $19,500

Fiat's return to the U.S. starts with the 500, a retro-styled hatchback that competes with the Mini Cooper and new Volkswagen Beetle. Along with a hatchback model, the 500C convertible offers an open-air experience with a large canvas roof.

  • Fiat's first U.S. model since the 1980s

  • Two-door hatchback sold globally

  • Available cloth-top 500c

  • Seats four

  • Sold at Chrysler dealerships

  • Similar in size to Mini Cooper

 

$16,500 - $22,700

The new Focus sold in the U.S. is the same Focus sold overseas. Perks of this strategy include a higher-quality interior and new hatchback body style along with a sedan; the previous Focus came in coupe and sedan variants.

  • Fully redesigned for 2012

  • Sedan and four-door hatchback styles

  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine

  • Manual or automatic transmission

  • Up to 40 mpg on highway

  • Self-parking option

$12,445 - $15,795

Hyundai's entry-level Accent is all-new for 2012 and packs standard features that are rare in  this segment. These include a trip computer, height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seat and center armrest. Sedan models are available only in the base GLS trim level with minimum feature availability, while hatchbacks are better equipped (and more expensive) in GS and SE trims.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Six-speed manual or automatic

  • Direct-injection four-cylinder

  • Sedan or four-door hatchback

  • Improved gas mileage

$17,300

Replacing the Hyundai Tiburon is the Veloster, an all-new model that will take three-door hatchback form. There are two doors on the passenger side that open traditionally and not in a reverse-hinged configuration, and there's just one door on the driver's side.

  • New hatchback replaces Tiburon

  • Four seats

  • Curbside rear door

  • 1.6-liter four-cylinder

  • Six-speed manual or automatic

  • Introduces Blue Link Telematics

TBA

The Rio is all-new for 2012. While it may be Kia's least expensive car, the new Rio borrows styling cues from the Optima, including its grille and wraparound headlights.  The inside  also has  Optima-like styling. Gas mileage for the sedan and hatch is rated at 30/40 mpg city/highway.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Sedan or hatchback

  • Four-cylinder with direct injection

  • Optional auto-stop fuel-saving technology

  • Six-speed manual or automatic

$13,900 - $19,600

The 2012 Soul's most notable changes come under the hood, where there are new, more efficient power plants. Adding a six-speed-automatic transmission helps the stronger 2.0-liter reach 27/35 mpg city/highway, up from 24/30 mpg. Also added are standard LED taillights, while LED running lamps up front are optional.

  • More powerful and fuel-efficient drivetrains

  • Styling updates

  • Standard USB/iPod input

  • Available backlit speakers

 

$15,800 - $22,770

The Mazda3 doesn't get a major overhaul for 2012, but the distinctive love-it-or-hate-it front smile gets toned down in favor of straighter face. Under the hood, a more efficient engine boosts fuel economy of the sedan with automatic transmission by 21 percent, to 28/40 mpg city/highway. A new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the old five-speed unit.

  • Sedan or four-door hatchback

  • Light exterior restyling

  • Interior tweaks

  • Up to 40 mpg on highway

  • New seat fabric patterns

  • Manual or automatic transmission

$17,495 - $22,595

On top of an all-new exterior and interior design, the 2012 Subaru Impreza gets an impressive 36 mpg highway rating with its standard all-wheel drive and optional automatic transmission. There's new technology under the hood to help its gas mileage, plus additional backseat and luggage room.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • Sedan or four-door hatchback

  • New 2.0-liter four-cylinder

  • Manual or CVT

  • Standard all-wheel drive

  • Larger interior

 

$14,115 - $16,400

For 2012, the new Yaris looks more angular and less bubbly than the outgoing model. A sedan is no longer offered, so the Yaris comes in a two- or four-door hatchback. Also gone for 2012 is the instrument gauge cluster with the speedometer in the center of the dashboard; those important gauges now sit in front of the driver.

  • Redesigned for 2012

  • No sedan version

  • New version larger than previous model

  • All-new interior

 

© Cars.com 10/14/2011