During the 2009 calendar year, the U.S. will see a myriad of new subcompacts--both '09 models and 2010 models. Here are some highlights of what's to come and, in some cases, what's already here.
Kia's latest forray into the small car world will be the Soul. With it's boxy, funky, and practical shape, Kia could have a winner on its hands. Powered by a 2.0-liter four cylinder, the Soul should provide a good mix of performance, economy, and practicality. Plus, the Soul will have a plethora of dealer options and accessories to personalize the vehicle.
Here to possibly snatch up previous 2004-2006 Scion xB buyers is Nisaan's Cube. Smaller than a second-gen xB, and certainly pumped full of funky styling, the Cube will certainly serve its niche. Like other tall-wagon-style vehicles, it will dish up the practicality in heaps, and should also prove a competent performer, thanks in part to its 122 hp 1.8 liter engine. Like Scion and Kia's Soul, the Cube will have tons of options and unique accessories to make sure you don't look like a square ... er ... do look like a square ... uh ... you get it.
Pontiac G3 and Chevrolet Aveo
For buyers looking to buy a subcompact GM vehicle, The General offers the redesigned Chevrolet Aveo and the new Pontiac G3, which is a badged-engineered Aveo. The Korean-built cousins are powered by a new Ecotec 1.6 liter 106 hp engine delivering up to 34 mpg on the highway. Other features include standard OnStar, standard side-impact airbags, and variable intermittent wipers. The G3 will start at $14,995; the Aveo5 at $12,625. An Aveo sedan is also available.
Toyota Yaris 5-door
Finally, the U.S. gets the five-door Yaris. The extra two doors mean it's easier for passengers to get in the back seat. There was a minor refresh to the front end, too. The Yaris five-door gets decent mileage; an EPA rating of 29/35 for the four-speed automatic, which, by the way, is the only choice of transmission if you want five doors. Although powered by a small 1.5 liter DOHC engine, the car only weighs about 2,300 lbs. Also new for '09 are standard side-impact airbags and a new "S" package for both 3- and 5-door liftbacks.
The 2009 Honda Fit has been for sale already for a few months, but it is an '09 model. Powered by a 117 hp 1.5 liter VTEC engine, the Fit is a fine choice of subcompact. The all-new design is spacious, versatile, and attractive. Like the previous-generation Fit, it has nimble reflexes, great fuel economy (35 highway mpg), and a lot of standard features that many believe make it the king of subcompacts.
2010 Toyota iQ
What could be one of the most anticipated Toyota releases in a while, the Smart-fighting iQ will bring some competition to the micro car market. Debuting as soon as early 2009, the iQ will seat "3+1"people (three adults, and one child), possibly be powered by a 1.5 (via the Yaris) or 1.3 liter engine, and may come with ABS, skid control, and other driving aids. (Full details are not known yet.) There's even a possibility the vehicle could appear under the Scion brand. Stay tuned.
2010 Suzuki Swift ????
For a few years, there have been rumors that Suzuki will reintroduce the Suzuki Swift to the U.S. market. A far cry from the Suzuki Swift most Americans may (or may not) remember, the latest Swift has won over automotive journalists world wide. The car has been on sale in other parts of the world for a couple of years. The U.S. currently gets the Suzuki SX4, which rides on the Swift platform. I haven't heard any news lately on whether or not the vehicle will hit U.S. showrooms or not, however, I hope it does. More to come--hopefully.
2011 Ford Fiesta
The highly anticipated Ford Fiesta is a 2011 model, and unfortunately won't show up on U.S. soil until 2010. So anticipated, the '11 Fiesta has been dubbed Ford's "Best Hope For the Future" by Time magazine.
2009 Pontiac G3
2009 Chevrolet Aveo
2009 Toyota Yaris 5 Door
2009 Honda Fit
2011 Ford Fiesta