Browsing all articles from March, 2013
Mar
25

The 2013 Chevy Sonic vs. the 2013 Ford Focus

Author JoeC    Category Compacts     Tags
2013 Chevy Sonic

2013 Chevy Sonic Hatchback

If you’re in the market for a new car that offers style, safety, urban maneuverability, and great-fuel economy, there has never been a better time to go shopping. As the North American car market shifts away from mammoth, military-inspired SUVs towards sleek, compact eco-machines, the decades of innovation that have gone into perfecting the compact car in Europe and Asia are showing up in car dealer’s lots all across America.

2013 Ford Focus

2013 Ford Focus

The Small-Car Renaissance

This resurgence of small cars isn’t happening only because the miniaturized offerings from Asian automakers like Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai are gaining steam: the Detroit three—Ford, GM, and Chrysler—are all rolling out their own stylish and economical compact and subcompact cars. But there’s one question on the minds of many prospective small-car owners: how small do I want to go? To help unknot this quandary, we’ll take a look at the Chevy Sonic and the Ford Focus. Both are the second-smallest offerings from each automaker, but the Sonic is a subcompact, while the Focus is a compact. With their various trim packages, however, the price ranges of these vehicles overlap, so they’re definitely worth comparing.

Compact vs. Subcompact

You’d think the labels of “subcompact” and “compact” would be useful indicators of a vehicle’s size, but the Chevy Sonic compares quite favorably to the Ford Focus in terms of passenger space. The Sonic is only marginally smaller than the Focus in measurements like rear head room, hip room, front leg room, and shoulder room – and it actually outdoes the Focus on rear leg room and front head room.

Equally Efficient

The Ford Focus gets bumped up to the Compact category not because of its interior space, but because of its slightly longer nose, which accommodates a slightly larger engine, which gives you just a smidge of a boost in fuel-economy: 36 mpg highway vs. the Sonic’s 35 mpg.

The Verdict: Full-Featured Value

If you’re looking to buy a sub-$20,000 vehicle, you’re probably looking for something that packs a lot of value into a budget-friendly package. And no matter what trim level you get on the Chevrolet Sonic, you’re getting more than you bargain for, which is a good thing, in this case. Comparing the base-model Sonic to the base-model Focus, you pay about $2,000 less for the Sonic. While the base Sonic doesn’t offer power windows, it more than makes up for it with a slew of great standard features like Bluetooth Connectivity, reading lights, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

If you’re looking to pay a few thousand dollars more for features like cruise control, single zone climate control, and heated driver seat, the Sonic’s LTZ trim offers a better value than the Focus SE. The deal is thoroughly sealed by Chevy’s warranty package, which simply outclasses Ford’s offering. Ford is obviously working hard to make their mark in the small car arena; but the Chevy Sonic is the clear winner in this round.

Mar
25

The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco vs. the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid

Author JoeC    Category Hybrid     Tags
2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

The 2013 Chevy Cruze Eco is an incredibly fuel efficient vehicle that opens up a whole new world of possibility for drivers. It’s priced very low at only $20,490, making it an excellent investment for Chevy fans. However, the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid is a nearly identical vehicle compared to the Cruze Eco, right down to the extremely close price of $20,395. So, which of these vehicles is the best?

2013 Civic Hybrid Sedan

2013 Civic Hybrid

Fuel Efficiency

Both of these cars are designed to be incredibly fuel efficient, and their ratings are so close that they’re nearly impossible to choose between. The Cruze has a slightly lower city rating at about 28 mpg compared to the 29 mpg of the Civic. However, the Cruze also has a slightly higher highway rating of 42 mpg compared to the 41 mpg of the Civic. This means they average out to about the same, making it extremely difficult to base your choice on efficiency alone.

Engine Power

Again, both vehicles come with nearly identical engines. The Cruze sports a turbocharged V4 compared to the normal V4 of the Civic, but Honda offers a slightly larger engine at 1.8L compared to 1.4L of the Cruze. Chevy puts 138 hp compared to the Civic’s 140 hp, hardly a huge difference, but the Cruze can pull 148 lb-ft of torque compared to the 128 with Honda. Overall, these slight differences seem to give the Cruze a small advantage: a smaller engine that produces very similar power and much higher torque can make a huge difference.

Warranty Options

So far, it seems the 2013 Chevy Cruze Eco has a slight advantage over the 2013 Honda Civic hybrid. However, the Cruze vaults itself to the top with its warranty options. Both vehicles offer an identical 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, but the Cruze has a superior 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; Honda can only give you 60,000 miles. The Cruze also offers drivers a 3-year/36,000-mile rust warranty as well as a 5-year/100,000-mile roadside assistant package. The Civic offers neither of these options.

Picking between these two vehicles was very difficult, but the Cruze offers just a bit more value for the purchase. Its excellent warranty options and top-of-the-line in-class performance eek out a victory over the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid.

Mar
20

The 2013 Chevy Corvette ZR1 vs. the 2013 Porsche 911 Coupe S

Author JoeC    Category Performance     Tags
2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The Chevy Corvette is legendary among car fans for its incredible performance and luxurious amenities, and the $112,595 2013 ZR1 is no different. However, Porsche is also known for creating some of the most top of the line vehicles imaginable. Their 2013 Porsche 911 Coupe S is available for a pricier $161,650. Is it worth the extra investment or should you stay with the Corvette this year? Make sure to choose carefully as both are big investments.

2013 Porsche 911

2013 Porsche 911

Engine Power

Engine power is important in high performance vehicles. The 2013 Chevy Corvette ZR1 comes with a 6.2L Supercharged Gas V8 which produces 638 hp. The Porsche 911 simply can’t compare: it comes with a 3.8L turbocharged gas flat-6 engine that produces 530 hp. This is a huge difference in power and displacement, and one contest that Chevy wins hands down. To be fair, the Porsche does have all-wheel drive as opposed to the rear-wheel drive of the Corvette, but it seems like a huge price to pay for such a large power difference.

Interior Options

So you’re thinking that maybe the Porsche is a much more comfortable car. It does come with some great options like side impact air bags, cruise control, climate control, power windows, and power driver seats, but the Corvette comes with all of these options and more that aren’t even available on the 911. These include:

  • Rearview camera
  • Passenger airbag sensor
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Keyless vehicle start
  • Onboard handfree communications system
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror

We honestly figured that, with its higher price, the Porsche 911 Coupe S would offer more in the way of luxurious interior options, but it turns out we were wrong.

Warranty Options

Again, maybe Porsche 911 can make up some lost ground with its warranty options. It does have better bumper-to-bumper coverage, offering a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty; Chevy offers a 3-year/36,000-mile package. However, the Corvette offers a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty compared to the 4-year/50,000-mile coverage of the Porsche 911. The Corvette also offers a rust warranty, totally unavailable with the Porsche.

Mar
13

The 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid vs. the 2013 Toyota Prius

Author JoeC    Category Fuel Efficiency     Tags
2013 Ford C-Max

2013 Ford C-Max

With gas prices continuing to increase, car shoppers are searching for vehicles that deliver strong fuel economy at a great price. Two cars that come to mind are the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid and the 2013 Toyota Prius. There isn’t much difference in price between the two, with the C-MAX starting at $25,200 and the Prius at $26,650, but in the long run, which vehicle is worth buying? Let’s see exactly what each hybrid offers.

Fuel Efficiency

The big draw to both the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid and the 2013 Prius is their astounding fuel efficiency numbers. The Ford C-MAX delivers an EPA-estimated 47 mpg city and 47 mpg highway, while Toyota’s Prius offers a slightly better 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway. While the Prius may offer better mileage, the Ford hybrid does have a larger fuel tank, holding 13.5 gallons compared to the 11.9 with the Prius. Either way, you’re saving a ton on fuel.

Powertrain

Both the C-MAX and the Prius come powered by a four-cylinder engine. The difference is that Ford’s engine displaces 2.0L compared to Toyota’s 1.8L. Ford’s C-MAX also delivers more power than the Prius, offering 188 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque, while the Toyota only produces 134 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers will result in quicker top speeds and pickup.

Comfortability

For their size, both vehicles offer plenty of interior space. The C-MAX offers 41 inches of front head room and 43 inches of front leg room, while Toyota delivers close to 39 inches of front head room and 42.5 inches of front leg room. In the rear, the C-MAX gives a little over 39 inches of rear head room and 36.5 inches of rear leg room. The Prius delivers close to 38 inches of rear head room and 36 inches of rear leg room. Very similar, but Ford does inch out over Toyota.

Which to Choose?

As you can see these vehicles are very similar, but the only true way to see which one is right for you is to head to your nearest Ford and Toyota dealerships for a couple of test drives. The road has your answers!