Scion iQ to Reach US in December

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Scion has announced that the Scion will hit showrooms in the United States starting in December.  The Scion’s summer release date was pushed back because of the earthquake in Japan last March. Over the next four months, it will be rolled out across the nation, hitting mid-western states in March.

The micro car sports a 1.3L 4-cylinder engine that gets 94 horsepower.  The iQ’s 12.9-foot turning radius makes it perfect for driving and parking in the city.  At 59 inches tall, 10 feet long, and 66 inches wide, the iQ is still able to provide comparable space between the driver and passenger as the Toyota Corolla, and yes – it’s a four-seater, the smallest of any make sold in the country.  For cargo space, the back seats fold down.

Drivers can expect 36mpg in the city, 37mpg on the highway, and 37mpg combined.  The iQ also comes with 11 air bags, and features include Bluetooth connectivity and keyless entry.

The Scion iQ’s unique exterior reminds some of the Mercedes-Benz Smart car.  Though the Smart car has not been as successful in the states, Toyota Motor Corp. has high hopes the iQ will attract younger, urban dwellers and find success in that market.  The company is hoping to sell between 1,000 and 2,000 vehicles a month once it hits dealerships across the country.

Scion aims for an 18- to 29-year old demographic, which unfortunately has been hit hard by the economic recession.  Despite this, that age group is, according to Jack Hollis, Scion VP, moving back into the city, where a small car will be more sensible.

Scion has also announced an electric version of the iQ, which will be out sometime in 2012.

The iQ starts at $15,995.  Be on the lookout for it next spring at your local Penske Toyota Scion dealership!

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2012 Honda Insight Gets Better Gas Mileage

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Honda has announced the starting price for the 2012 Honda Insight: $19,120.  The price includes a $770 destination and handling fee.

The 2012 model has only undergone a few updates to refresh it for next year.  Such updates include redesigned 15-inch wheels, and a lower front fascia to make it more aerodynamic.  With its new aerodynamic design, the hybrid hatchback gets a better fuel economy, with 41 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway, and 42 mpg combined, giving it the highest EPA fuel economy rating for new vehicles under $20,000.

Honda also redesigned the interior, making it more comfortable for passengers.  Better sound deadening materials give it improved noise insulation, making for a quiet ride.  Backseat passengers can enjoy increased legroom and headroom.  The base model also includes automatic climate control and power windows.  On the outside, a thinner spoiler and a more compact rear-wiper motor give the driver better visibility.

The 2012 Honda Insight comes in three version: base, LX, and EX.  For the Insight LX, which starts at $20,895, drivers can expect better seat fabric, a four-speaker sound system, USB audio interface, security system, map lights, steering wheel audio controls, and more.  For the Insight EX, which starts at $22,585, the benefits increase even more, with automatic headlights, synthetic leather and fabric for seats, a six-speaker sound system, a Bluetooth hands free phone system, and a navigation option that includes a rearview camera.

The Honda Insight was one of the first hybrid electric vehicles to come to the US in 1999.  The first generation of the Insight ran from 2000 to 2006 and used a subcompact hatchback design that only fit two people.  In 2009, Honda released the second generation Insight, this time using an all-new 5-passenger, 5-door platform.

Overall, the new Insight is quieter and more efficient and features a nicer interior, providing drivers with a more comfortable ride.

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