10 Hot Cars You Can’t Have Yet


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, MainStreet talked to car experts to find out which cars will be hitting the marketplace in the next year that everyone will want.

Volkswagen Beetle

Consumers who weren’t a big fan of the car when it was rebooted in 1998 will be happy to know that 2012 is the year of a whole new Beetle.  Or perhaps a whole new old Beetle since Volkswagen’s latest version looks more like the original.

“It’s been completely redesigned,” Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for the car valuation site Kelley Blue Book, says. “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

According to Edmunds.com, Hyundai’s 2012 Veloster has a spacious interior, a 40-mpg highway rating and can be purchased 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 ConsumerSearch.com. 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 2012 Volkswagen Passat from the Super Bowl commercial featuring Darth Vader, 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,” David Thomas, senior editor at Cars.com. 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 complete redesign is the 2012 Mini Coupe, due this fall.

“It’s similar, but much sportier,” Brent Romans senior editor with Edmunds.com says. 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 to the car. 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.

According to Ford, the Focus, which will run on power from a high-voltage lithium-ion battery system, and will have a mileage-equivalency rating that's 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 Nissan Leaf.

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 on MainStreet.

2012 Suburu Impreza

Similar to the Passat, the 2012 Suburu Impreza has undergone a redesign that significant 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 Suburu 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 2012 Nissan Versa sedan 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 Toyota’s 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 pitch-and-bounce control system to maintain its balance on undulating payments.

Due in late summer, Toyota hasn’t set an MSRP yet, but experts believe it will be a few thousand dollars more than the standard Prius, of which 2011 models go for $21,000 to $29,000.

Toyota Prius PHV

According to Romans, also worth mentioning is the forthcoming Prius plug-in, 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. However, Edmunds estimates that it will cost about $4,000 more than standard Prius models.

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 General Motors 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 like 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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