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Archive for the ‘hatchback’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Mazda 3

The fourth-generation Mazda3 made its global debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The hatchback replaces a six-year-old third-gen model that has been highly successful and established the nameplate as a strong competitor in the compact market. The new Mazda3 is heavily based on the Kai concept on the outside and features a more upscale interior plus an innovative engine.

Part of Mazda’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 long-term strategy, the new Mazda3 debuts the company’s most recent interpretation of the Kodo design language. It also pushed the hatchback higher on the premium ladder and a five-engine lineup. On top of the usual gasoline and diesel SkyActiv units, the Mazda3 debuts the new SkyActiv-X, the first commercial gasoline engine with Spark Controlled Compression Ignition technology. The hatchback also features an all-wheel-drive system for the first time.

PostHeaderIcon Is The 2018 Fiat Panda a Death Trap? Here’s the Crash Test Video

Back in 2015, EuroNCAP rated the 2014 Fiat Panda Cross with three-star safety rating. Four years before, the same organization –
the European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP), tested the car and granted it a rather high four-star rating. Fast forward to 2018, and a recent safety evaluation tallied the Fiat Panda up as erringly bad. It received zero stars after EuroNCAP safety test performed in Brussels.

Is this now a worse car than it was before? How did it devolve? How can anyone buy it?

Well, let me tell you right away, the 2018 Fiat Panda is still the same car that it was in 2011. It did not change – at all. However, the EuroNCAP testing procedure is not the same. It is dramatically stricter, now requiring far more in terms of active safety gear. It also uses different dummies for testing (with a system that recognizes potential injuries better than before), and it tests the car for speed assistance, lane support, seat-belt reminders, and automatic emergency braking. None of this was required back in the day.

To answer the question from the title of this article I have to tell you that the latest 2018 Fiat Panda is not actually a death trap. It is just a simple city car that actually “meets or exceeds federal safety requirements in every market in which it is sold.”

PostHeaderIcon Mazda Says Hell No to a Performance Version of the New-Gen 2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback

The 2020 Mazda 3 was launched at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and looked quite impressive overall. The first two generations of the Mazda 3 were offered with turbocharged versions, moniker’d as MPS, or Mazdaspeed 3, depending on the market it was sold in. However, Mazda decided to break the pattern with the third-gen by not offering the performance version, and it is doing the same with the fourth-generation 3 as well.

PostHeaderIcon The 2019 Mazda 3 Finally Hits the Mark with Spark Controlled Compression Ignition

After months of teasing, Mazda has finally revealed the 2019 Mazda 3. It comes loaded with new features and is packed so nicely with the much-anticipated Skyactiv-X engine with Spark-Controlled Compression Ignition. And, to make the purists happy, the compact car comes with a manual transmission as well! Yes, it gets brownie points for that.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda2 (Mazda Demio) – Driven

If cars were judged based on how cute their face is, then the 2018 Mazda2 (also known as the Mazda Demio in its native market, Japan and some other markets) would be among the best cars in the world. However, it’s obviously not just about looks, since cars nowadays, even small city cars, need to be fully featured, well-rounded vehicles that you can even drive on the highway without it feeling daunting.

Thankfully, the pint-sized Mazda2 proved to be thoroughly competent in all those areas and more – it even surprised me on a few occasions. But returning to looks for a second, the Mazda2 is certainly one of the most daring vehicles in its class, only really matched for visual impact by the Peugeot 208 – in the trinket-laden Peugeot’s presence, the 2 can almost be described as sculptural.

Its interior is equally daring, and even if it can’t match the best in class for fit and finish quality, it’s still pleasant to spend time in it. But what many owners and possible future buyers of the Mazda2 may not know (and never find out if they drive slowly and sedately) is the fact that the little 2 is a hoot to throw around – it has fun but predictable handling, and it really puts a smile on the spirited driver’s face much more so than most rivals.

If you live in North America, you can actually buy a sedan version of the Mazda2, however, it wears a Toyota badge and is called the Toyota Yaris sedan; previously it was known as the Scion iA.

PostHeaderIcon Biomega SIN Concept

A company best known for creating bicycles is dipping its toes in the electric car business with a new concept called the SIN. No, it’s not named after the immoral act; “SIN” is actually a hat tip to the “contemporary urban sprawl of Singapore.” On that note, the Biomega SIN is a simplified electric vehicle that takes a shape similar to a lot of mobility concepts we’ve seen in recent years. A production model is planned for the future, but for now, it’s only a concept that just made its debut at the China International Import Expo.

PostHeaderIcon Here Are the Cars Toyota Might Kill Off

Like every automaker that’s worth its salt, Toyota’s bottom line is the most important thing the company has to take care of. And, with the U.S. car market experiencing a shift in demand the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time, the Japanese automaker is in the process of reviewing its entire U.S. lineup with the possibility of dumping nameplates or models that have become sales anchors on the market. A final decision isn’t expected to happen soon, but with the U.S. auto market getting dominated by SUVs and pickup trucks, Toyota’s model lineup could experience a dramatic shake-up in the near future.

PostHeaderIcon Watching Chris Harris Try to Do a Handbrake Turn with an Electric Handbrake is Very Depressing

Top Gear host Chris Harris’ penchant for performing in-car experiments manifested itself recently when he decided to find out if it’s possible to perform a handbrake turn with an electric handbrake. For this particular stunt — I mean “experiment” — Harris enlisted the help of Top Gear co-host and Extra Gear main man Rory Reid and a Volkswagen Golf R. The goal was simple: Engage the electronic handbrake while the Golf R is traveling at 120 mph and see what happens after that. The result, as you can imagine, isn’t what Harris or Reid expected.

PostHeaderIcon BMW 330i GT xDrive – Driven

BMW’s 3-Series Gran Turismo is the other practical variant in the 3-Series lineup for those who don’t want to buy the wagon. It actually has more carrying capacity than the load lugger, and unmatched passenger room, as well as a hatchback design, so you can load big items into the back fairly easily.

It’s really the amount of interior space that impresses in the 3 GT, a car that is nowhere near as popular as it should be because, from my experience with it, there’s actually a lot to like, and it has a bit of a lovable character. Comfort levels are very high, especially if you avoid the harder suspension of the M sport pack (which apparently ruins the ride quality), and opt for the standard setup with adaptive dampers – it is the most comfortable 3-Series you can buy by quite some margin.

Design and styling may not be to everybody’s taste, certainly, but the fact that it has a bit of extra ground clearance over a regular 3-Series and the fact that it’s slightly taller overall, doesn’t negatively affect the way it looks. I think that for a halfway model whose aim is to convince you not to buy an actual crossover or SUV, it looks more than adequate and for some reason better in person than the 6-Series Gran Turismo – its larger and more expensive 5-Series-based brother.

In the 330i xDrive Luxury spec I tested, it was motivated by a turbocharged four-cylinder which is easily powerful enough for lively acceleration and not terrible on fuel. I wouldn’t call it explicitly sporty, but it is miles better to throw around a twisty road than, say, the BMW X3, which just feels tall and cumbersome by comparison.

BMW is probably not going to make a follow-up model for this 3 GT, due to its low appeal in these crossover crazed times. That means a few years down the line it will be even less of a common sight so as time progresses people may start looking for these as a rare, slightly oddball model, but one with excellent daily driver credentials.

PostHeaderIcon New Mazda Mazda3 caught testing before L.A. Auto Show reveal

Mazda’s new Mazda3 hatchback will be officially revealed later this month at the L.A. Auto Show, but test mules are still clocking up miles in testing. Sadly, the sleek new compact model is still sporting full camouflage in these latest spy shots.

The new Mazda3 is poised to become the best-looking alternative to the Civic or the Corolla if we take into consideration the Kai concept. Sure, not much can be seen under all that wrapping, but the aggressive nose is a sign that some of the concept’s traits have made it into production.

The Japanese manufacturer has released a number of teasers, but these are some of the best images we’ve got of the new Mazda3. What is more, photos of the interior have also emerged and, with a new steering wheel in place, it looks like an interesting proposition.

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Cruze Sport6 SS Concept

Introduced in 2008 as a replacement for the Chevrolet Cobalt (and its Pontiac G5 and Saturn Ion doppelgangers), the Cruze is two years into its second-generation as of 2018. Available in both sedan and hatchback body styles, it’s offered with two gasoline engines and a diesel engine in other markets. But, unlike its predecessor, it isn’t offered in performance-oriented guise yet. This could change soon, as Chevy unveiled a beefed-up concept car at the 2018 Sao Paolo Motor Show.

Powered by an engine that generates almost 300 horsepower, the concept goes by the name Cruze Sport6 SS. The “SS” badge, most famous for adorning the Camaro, is not new to compact GM cars, having been used on the Cobalt SS, a 260-horsepower coupe sold until 2010. On top of the beefed-up engine, the Cruze SS also features more aggressive exterior features and a sportier interior. It actually looks ready to go into production, but the fact that Chevy chose to unveil it in Brazil without much fuss on social media may be a sign that it’s not going into production anytime soon.

PostHeaderIcon Faraday Future Gets GoFundMe Campaign to Keep Employees, But Diagnosis Looks Terminal

The state of Faraday Future has officially turned depressing. It’s bad enough that the company has fallen on hard times and is desperate to raise more money to keep operations afloat, it’s another level of misery when its employees resort to setting a fund-raising campaign on Go Fund Me just to keep their own families afloat. The $50,000 campaign was started by Hector Padilla and Asim Sher, both of whom work for Faraday Future. At the moment, the page has raised over $17,000 since it launched on November 1, 2018. The goal, according to the campaign, is to “help all of those Manufacturing Team members that are in need of financial support because of lay off or mandatory furlough.”

PostHeaderIcon Watch a Golf 7 R Performance Pack Max Out at 163 MPH

Volkswagen had showcased the R400 as a concept in 2014, and it was supposed to lead to a production model known as the R420. This would have been the fastest and most powerful Golf to ever roll of the production line, with some 420 horsepower, but the whole program was axed before production could even start. The closest we’ve come to the R400 or R420 is the Golf R Performance Pack, and someone has decided to put it to the test.

PostHeaderIcon Watch the 2019 Ford Focus ST-Line Make a Top Speed Run on the Autobahn

Most of the autobahn top speed runs we’ve seen over the years usually involve a high-powered German sedan with its governor disabled. This time, we’ve got something a little different. Ever wonder what it’s like to push the new Ford Focus ST-Line to its limits? Now’s your chance to find out, with this point-of-view take from AutoTopNL.

PostHeaderIcon Next-Gen 2019 Mazda3 Headed for L.A. Debut

After almost six years on the market, the current-generation Mazda3 will retire to make way for a redesigned model. The Japanese firm confirmed the new Mazda3 will make its global debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and released a new teaser of the car.

Actually, Mazda previewed two vehicles, as the photo includes images of both the sedan and hatchback versions. Not much can be seen in the photo, but it gives us a glimpse of the sedan’s roof and the hatchback’s rear end.

PostHeaderIcon Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 1 Group B

The Peugeot 205 T16 is the 347-horsepower all-wheel-drive beast from France that had both Lancia and Audi down on their knees in the second half of the Group B era. It was driven by the likes of Ari Vatanen, Bruno Saby, Timo Salonen, and Juha Kankkunen.

The 205 T16, with ‘T16’ standing for ‘Turbocharged 16’ since the car was fitted with a KKK turbocharger and a 16-valve cylinder head, is arguably a strange case in motorsport. As one of the most successful rally cars of the astonishing Group B era, it is criminally overlooked. People idolize the Audi Quattro for its innovative four-wheel-drive system or the Lancia 037 which was the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the WRC constructor’s title, but the 205 remains the unsung hero.

It only debuted in 1984, in the third season since the Group B rules came into effect. This first model was known as the Evolution 1 and lacked the flamboyant, but efficient, aerodynamic elements of the Evolution 2. Unlike your usual 205 GTI, for instance, the rally car had the engine in the middle, and it featured a changeable epicyclic gear train that was used to alter the amount of power sent to either axle.

Once surpassing the inherent issues that arise after debuting a brand-new car, the Peugeot Talbot Sport outfit, led by none other than the future general manager of the Ferrari F1 team, Jean Todt, crushed everyone in its path winning 13 rallies between 1985 and 1986.

PostHeaderIcon Ken Block Is Building Another Escort Cosworth for His 2019 Cossie World Tour

Ken Block made headlines earlier this year when he unveiled a stunning Ford Escort Cosworth RS fully prepped for rallying. The American promptly rolled the Escort RS during the New England Forest Rally and, following the crash, the Ford burnt to a crisp. Now, Hoonigan Racing announced that a new Escort will carry Block and Gelsomino in 2019.

We all know that besides making those crazy Gymkhana videos, Ken Block is an out-and-out fan of proper rallying. That’s why the American never misses out on a chance to try his hand around some special stages, be it tarmac or gravel, or even snow. He’s participated in a number of WRC events over the years in top-of-the-line Ford and Subaru machinery, as well as competing in the Rally America championship.

Brock’s latest project was turning a classic Ford Escort Cosworth RS into a full-blown rally car as a tribute to the Group A-spec rally cars of the mid-to-late-’90s. His original Cossie was crashed during the New England Forest Rally, and it erupted in flames almost immediately. The car was destroyed, but Block and Gelsomino weren’t hurt. Now, they’re aiming to bounce back stronger than ever!

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Golf RLMS by APR

As far as modded cars at SEMA go, the Volkswagen Golf RLMS tuned up by APR seems to be one of the most amazing to appear in Las Vegas. The American tuner of everything Audi and Volkswagen took a year and a half to work on the Golf RLMS which evolved from the hot hatch into something you wouldn’t be afraid to put up against the Nissan GT-R R35. I am not joking. Based on the Golf R, this track-worthy Golf RLMS by APR takes a unique approach to hatchback tuning. An approach I am inclined to call – “let’s make the best freaking hot-hatch.”

They’ve done it – and with so well calculated modifications that turned the Golf R into something a true Volkswagen enthusiast may call the Golf R536. Obviously, this is like my throwback to the Golf R400 super-hatch that had been crafted in the concept guise, but did not reach the production. Dieselgate was to be blamed.

Nevertheless, the R400 may be the first thing to pop into my mind upon seeing this, but this modded Golf RLMS by APR is much more than that.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai N Halo Car Confirmed as “Something Nobody Expects”

After months of speculation, Hyundai has confirmed what we’ve been thinking about all this time: a standalone flagship sports car from the N performance division is coming. It’s still unclear what kind of car we can expect, but a high-ranking Hyundai executive confirmed that the Korean automaker is already working on a halo model for the N division, adding that it’s going to be a car that “nobody expects from Hyundai.” Interesting things are afoot over at Hyundai’s new performance brand. A halo car is coming; we just don’t know what it’s going to look like or how it’s going to be packaged. Then again, the RM16 concept is probably a good basis for what we might expect.

PostHeaderIcon The Next-Gen Skoda Rapid will go by the Name ’Scala’

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry was coming up with a name for the new Skoda hatchback that was going to replace the Skoda Rapid. After all the random guesses, Skoda revealed the name, and it’s “Scala.” The automaker chose to go with this word which means ‘stairs’, or ‘ladder’ in Latin.

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