NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Consumers looking to buy a new car may want to hold off. Some noteworthy, and in many cases affordable, 2012 models have yet to become available at local dealerships.
To whet your appetite for a new a set of wheels, we talked to car experts to find out which cars will be hitting the marketplace in the next year that everyone will want.
Some noteworthy and affordable 2012 car models have yet to become available at local dealerships.
Consumers who weren't big fans of the car when it was rebooted in 1994 will be happy to know 2012 is the year of a whole new Beetle. Or perhaps a whole new old Beetle, since Volkswagen's
looks more like the original.
"It's been completely redesigned," says Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for the car valuation site
. "It's a more substantial car, much less precious-looking."
When it debuts this fall, consumers should expect to pay around $18,995 for the base model, Nerad says.
2012 Hyundai Veloster
has a spacious interior, a 40-mpg highway rating and can be bought with a load of attractive options, including a panoramic sunroof, 18-inch wheels, Pandora Internet radio, a rearview camera, a GPS and an upgraded audio system. But it's what's on the outside that makes this car truly unique.
"It's a three-door coupe," says Alex Nunez, automotive senior editor for
. He explains that the car has one door on the driver side, giving it a sleek appearance from that angle, and two doors on the passenger side, which makes it a bit more practical.
"Hyundai's got a lot of other good cars coming out this season, and so they're having a little fun with this one," Nunez says.
The 2012 Veloster is expected to debut in September. Nunez estimates the base model will be in the $17,000 price range.
2012 Volkswagen Passat
You might recall the
from the Super Bowl
, but experts say there are other reasons to remember the vehicle.
Set for release in September, the new Passat marks a vast improvement from the old model.
"It's very large in terms of interior space," says David Thomas, senior editor at
. Also notable: It costs around $7,000 less than the old Passat, with a starting MSRP of less than $20,000. "It's well-equipped in the class," Thomas adds.
2012 Mini Coupe
Another car to undergo a
2012 Mini Coupe
, due this fall.
"It's similar, but much sportier," says Brent Romans, senior editor with Edmunds.com. He adds that the car also has many more distinctive features, including stripes on the exterior and matching plastic trims within the interior.
Romans estimates that when it debuts it will carry an MSRP between $22,000 and $32,000,
depending on which features you'd like added
. The fuel economy is expected to range from 25-29 mpg in the city and 33-37 mpg on the highway.
2012 Ford Focus Electric
Set to debut in late 2011, "This is the car that Ford is introducing to compete with the Nissan Leaf," Romans says.
will run on power from a
and have a mileage-equivalency rating 1 mpg better than the Chevrolet Volt. Its lithium-ion battery pack can also be charged in half the time it takes to recharge the
The car will come with a 120-volt "convenience cord" for charging at any standard outlet and a 240-volt wall-mounted home charging station that charges the car in three to four hours will be available for purchase at an extra cost. The car is also being packaged with an advanced technology system that helps drivers monitor their energy consumption and mileage closely.
The MSRP for the new Focus has not been released, but the Leaf, its major competitor, currently sells for around $33,000.
You can find out more about the costs of electric cars
2012 Subaru Impreza
Similar to the Passat, the
2012 Subaru Impreza
has undergone a redesign that significantly improves its early features. This includes a roomier interior, a lower dash panel, higher seating, more internal compartments and a steeper windshield.
"It looks new inside and outside," Thomas says.
Due in November, the 2012 Subaru Impreza will have an MSRP between $18,000 and $20,000, Thomas estimates. Its estimated mileage stands at 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
2012 Nissan Versa Sedan
With its base model carrying a $10,990 MSRP, the
will be the cheapest new car in America once it hits dealerships at the end of summer. But what makes this car even more notable -- especially since Nissan's Versa has always had a lock on availability -- is the fact the 2012 model has been completely redesigned.
"The old models just weren't very good looking," Nunez says. "This version is much more stylish."
The car, which clocks in at 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, had significant improvements made to its base model's interior and exterior,
including 15-inch rims, better quality fabrics and more noticeable trim work
. It will also now come with a full stereo.
Toyota Prius V
"V" stands for versatility in this alternative to
popular hybrid. The V is also much longer, taller and wider than the original.
"It's got interior room that rivals a small SUV," Nunez says. Aside from being a hybrid, the V also comes with other environmentally friendly features and is extra-fuel efficient. This includes a panoramic roof made of resin instead of glass (to make the car lighter) and a pigeon-bounce control system to maintain its balance on undulating payments.
Due in late summer, Toyota hasn't set an MSRP, but experts believe it will be a few thousand dollars more than the
, of which 2011 models go for $21,000 to $29,000.
Toyota Prius PHV
According to Romans, also worth mentioning is the forthcoming
, known as the Prius PHV, which contains a battery pack with a much, much larger capacity that can be quickly charged at a typical 110-volt outlet. The car is much lighter than the original, largely due to its 3.6-volt lithium-ion battery.
Not expected to hit dealerships in 15 states until spring 2012, Toyota has yet to reveal the MSRP.
2013 Chevrolet Malibu
Another noteworthy hybrid set to debut next spring is the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.
"It's a light hybrid," Nunez says, explaining that because it can't run on electricity alone, the car relies on a lithium-ion battery. It also takes advantage of
E-assist technology, a combination of advanced internal technologies and body enhancements that foster higher fuel economy.
The 2013 model also sports a larger interior, an improved engine and an entertainment system that integrates online services such as Pandora and Stitcher SmartRadio.
Nunez estimates the 2013 Malibu's mpg will be 26 miles in the city and 38 miles on the highway. GM has not released an MSRP for the car, as it won't go into production until early next year.
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