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Archive for the ‘hatchback’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade

The Worthersee Treffen is one of the more unique auto events on the calendar. It’s far from a traditional auto show, but it’s been home to some pretty incredible debuts over the past few years. Remember, this is the same event where companies like Audi and Volkswagen make yearly concept debuts. VW, in particular, holds Worthersee in high esteem because, in addition to debuting models at the event, it uses the venue to introduce apprentice-built concepts of the Golf GTI the Volkswagen Vocational Training program. This year, 13 apprentices are headed to Worthersee to unveil the newest one-off model of this unique lineage: the Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade.

For those who aren’t familiar with the VVT program, it’s essentially a training ground for up-and-coming designers and engineers. These trainees are given the opportunity to design their version of the ultimate Golf GTI. This year, the Golf GTI First Decade takes center stage as the first GTI concept to feature electric propulsion. While it is a concept car by definition, it’s interesting where these young minds see the future of Volkswagen. Whether an electric future actually happens or not is another issue entirely, but if it does, consider the Golf GTI First Decade as a precursor to what that future could look like.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade.


PostHeaderIcon Fiat 500 Abarth Ares by Pogea Racing

The Fiat 500 Abarth is a cute little ride, isn’t it? It certainly looks the part of one, but being cute and cuddly isn’t the only thing appealing about the 500. It’s also understatedly customizable, which is why we’ve seen so many special edition iterations of the car, not to mention tuning programs from some of the best tuners in the business. Pogea Racing counts itself in the latter group, and it has a real doozy of a kit for the 500 that gives the subcompact hatchback an output of 405 horsepower and 328 pound-feet of torque. Seems fitting then that Pogea Racing has dubbed this creation as “Ares,” after the Greek god of war. This Fiat 500 Abarth is ready to rumble with the best of them.

The program has more than just a fancy name and ridiculous power at its disposal. It also has an extensive menu of carbon fiber parts for the exterior, a well-dressed interior that brings some life to the hatchback’s cabin, and suspension upgrades to help the car’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder handle all that extra power.

The bad news is that this isn’t a program that Pogea Racing is producing in big quantities. On the contrary, the tuner only plans to build five such 500 Ares models and the cost of building one doesn’t come cheap. The upgrades to the engine alone cost more than the car itself so you can imagine what the whole thing will fetch for, donor car and all.

Then again, a 405-horsepower Fiat 500 Abarth doesn’t come cheap, nor should it.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Honda Civic Hatchback – Driven

The Honda Civic has long been a go-to car for practicality and honest transportation. Sure, there have been several hyped models with plenty of horsepower and fun, but the vast majority of Civics are built to handle the daily grind. Say what you will, but there’s merit in that endeavor. Well, Honda knew its customers needed something outstandingly practical, but mixed with some flare and excitement – sort of a witch’s brew of pragmatic and provocative. Enter the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback.

The Hatchback joins the Civic lineup for 2017, two years after the tenth generation debuted for 2015. It shares the spotlight with the popular Civic Sedan and fun-loving Civic Coupe. The trio now gives customers a choice in body style, while still delivering that Civic personality. All three ride on the same platform and share powertrain options.

Since the Civic Hatchback is new, Honda sent an example to test for a week for evaluations. Our tester was the EX-L Navi trim and came equipped with Honda Sensing. Otherwise, the car had no options, giving a full taste of the Civic Hatch’s second-most expensive trim. Even still, the as-tested price only rang up $27,175. That’s not bad for a vehicle with crossover-like interior room, leather seats, tons of in-dash tech, all the latest active safety features, and a turbocharged engine that averages 42 mpg on the highway. Color us impressed.

So how did the 2017 Civic Hatchback do? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Honda Civic Type R Puts On White Suit, Comes to America

The new Honda Civic Type R made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and aside from the usual aggressive looks and high-performance drivetrain, it came with great news for U.S. enthusiasts: it’s finally coming to North America! Come April 2017, and the Japanese hot-hatch made its U.S. debut at the 2017 New York Auto Show.

The North American showcase doesn’t bring anything new spec-wise, but the car displayed at the Javits Center sports the company’s iconic Championship White color. A trademark hue for high-performance Hondas, Championship White, has been used in the past on the first-generation Civic Type R, NSX Type R, and even the Acura Integra Type R. And, needless to say, the new high-performance hatchback looks gorgeous in it.

As a brief reminder, the Type R uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The four-banger mates to a six-speed manual with automatic rev-matching. Race-inspired goodies include adjustable suspension with a Dual-Axis front setup, aluminum lower arms, an adaptive steering system, Brembo brakes, and Continental performance tires.

Standard features will also include a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, navigation, sports seats, a leather steering wheel, and a 540-watt premium audio system. Pricing information is not yet available, but the Type R will likely cost around $35,000 before options. For reference, the base Civic model starts from $19,700, while the range-topping Sport Touring trim retails from $28,000. The Civic Si is expected to retail in the mid-$20,000 range.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Honda Civic Type R Puts On White Suit, Comes to America

The new Honda Civic Type R made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and aside from the usual aggressive looks and high-performance drivetrain, it came with great news for U.S. enthusiasts: it’s finally coming to North America! Come April 2017, and the Japanese hot-hatch made its U.S. debut at the 2017 New York Auto Show.

The North American showcase doesn’t bring anything new spec-wise, but the car displayed at the Javits Center sports the company’s iconic Championship White color. A trademark hue for high-performance Hondas, Championship White, has been used in the past on the first-generation Civic Type R, NSX Type R, and even the Acura Integra Type R. And, needless to say, the new high-performance hatchback looks gorgeous in it.

As a brief reminder, the Type R uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The four-banger mates to a six-speed manual with automatic rev-matching. Race-inspired goodies include adjustable suspension with a Dual-Axis front setup, aluminum lower arms, an adaptive steering system, Brembo brakes, and Continental performance tires.

Standard features will also include a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, navigation, sports seats, a leather steering wheel, and a 540-watt premium audio system. Pricing information is not yet available, but the Type R will likely cost around $35,000 before options. For reference, the base Civic model starts from $19,700, while the range-topping Sport Touring trim retails from $28,000. The Civic Si is expected to retail in the mid-$20,000 range.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Honda Civic Type R Puts On White Suit, Comes to America

The new Honda Civic Type R made its debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and aside from the usual aggressive looks and high-performance drivetrain, it came with great news for U.S. enthusiasts: it’s finally coming to North America! Come April 2017, and the Japanese hot-hatch made its U.S. debut at the 2017 New York Auto Show.

The North American showcase doesn’t bring anything new spec-wise, but the car displayed at the Javits Center sports the company’s iconic Championship White color. A trademark hue for high-performance Hondas, Championship White, has been used in the past on the first-generation Civic Type R, NSX Type R, and even the Acura Integra Type R. And, needless to say, the new high-performance hatchback looks gorgeous in it.

As a brief reminder, the Type R uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The four-banger mates to a six-speed manual with automatic rev-matching. Race-inspired goodies include adjustable suspension with a Dual-Axis front setup, aluminum lower arms, an adaptive steering system, Brembo brakes, and Continental performance tires.

Standard features will also include a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, navigation, sports seats, a leather steering wheel, and a 540-watt premium audio system. Pricing information is not yet available, but the Type R will likely cost around $35,000 before options. For reference, the base Civic model starts from $19,700, while the range-topping Sport Touring trim retails from $28,000. The Civic Si is expected to retail in the mid-$20,000 range.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much

The seventh-generation Golf is entering its sixth year of production for 2018, but instead of updating the model extensively or bringing about a new generation, VW decided to provide some minor updates across the whole line. This includes LED taillights and daytime running lights as standard equipment on the outside to go with new trim panels and material options on the inside. Those looking to upgrade their headlights can now opt for full-LED units as opposed to the Bi-Xenon option of yesteryear. But, when it comes to the 2018 model year, it’s really about technology. Entry level models across the line will see an upgrade that replaces the outdated five-inch infotainment screens with 6.5-inch units. SE and SEL trim levels will now get eight-inch touchscreen units, while the Golf R gets Volkswagen’s digital cockpit as standard equipment.

Golf S models will now get automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and a new chrome grille, while SEL models now include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and an auto-dimming mirror. Do I have any GTI fans out there? If so, you’ll be happy to know that the base Golf GTI gets a power update for 2018 that brings it up to par with the Sport and higher trim levels. Instead of getting 210 ponies and 258 pound-feet (on premium fuel, of course) the base model will now deliver the same 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet available at 4,700 rpm and 1,500 rpm, respectively. All three trim levels of the GTI still get the option of a six-speed DSG or six-speed manual. (Save yourself the heartache and just get the manual, okay?)

The Golf GTI S model gets a new stop-start feature when equipped with an automatic transmission and a new design for those 18-inch rollers. SE trim gets the performance brakes from the Golf R to go with the limited-slip VAQ differential. The GTI Autobahn trim gets new DCC suspension control. You’ll find all of the aforementioned updates, include the LED headlights DRLS, will show up in the Golf R.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much

The seventh-generation Golf is entering its sixth year of production for 2018, but instead of updating the model extensively or bringing about a new generation, VW decided to provide some minor updates across the whole line. This includes LED taillights and daytime running lights as standard equipment on the outside to go with new trim panels and material options on the inside. Those looking to upgrade their headlights can now opt for full-LED units as opposed to the Bi-Xenon option of yesteryear. But, when it comes to the 2018 model year, it’s really about technology. Entry level models across the line will see an upgrade that replaces the outdated five-inch infotainment screens with 6.5-inch units. SE and SEL trim levels will now get eight-inch touchscreen units, while the Golf R gets Volkswagen’s digital cockpit as standard equipment.

Golf S models will now get automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and a new chrome grille, while SEL models now include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and an auto-dimming mirror. Do I have any GTI fans out there? If so, you’ll be happy to know that the base Golf GTI gets a power update for 2018 that brings it up to par with the Sport and higher trim levels. Instead of getting 210 ponies and 258 pound-feet (on premium fuel, of course) the base model will now deliver the same 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet available at 4,700 rpm and 1,500 rpm, respectively. All three trim levels of the GTI still get the option of a six-speed DSG or six-speed manual. (Save yourself the heartache and just get the manual, okay?)

The Golf GTI S model gets a new stop-start feature when equipped with an automatic transmission and a new design for those 18-inch rollers. SE trim gets the performance brakes from the Golf R to go with the limited-slip VAQ differential. The GTI Autobahn trim gets new DCC suspension control. You’ll find all of the aforementioned updates, include the LED headlights DRLS, will show up in the Golf R.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Updates the Golf Line, But Don't Expect Too Much

The seventh-generation Golf is entering its sixth year of production for 2018, but instead of updating the model extensively or bringing about a new generation, VW decided to provide some minor updates across the whole line. This includes LED taillights and daytime running lights as standard equipment on the outside to go with new trim panels and material options on the inside. Those looking to upgrade their headlights can now opt for full-LED units as opposed to the Bi-Xenon option of yesteryear. But, when it comes to the 2018 model year, it’s really about technology. Entry level models across the line will see an upgrade that replaces the outdated five-inch infotainment screens with 6.5-inch units. SE and SEL trim levels will now get eight-inch touchscreen units, while the Golf R gets Volkswagen’s digital cockpit as standard equipment.

Golf S models will now get automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and a new chrome grille, while SEL models now include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and an auto-dimming mirror. Do I have any GTI fans out there? If so, you’ll be happy to know that the base Golf GTI gets a power update for 2018 that brings it up to par with the Sport and higher trim levels. Instead of getting 210 ponies and 258 pound-feet (on premium fuel, of course) the base model will now deliver the same 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet available at 4,700 rpm and 1,500 rpm, respectively. All three trim levels of the GTI still get the option of a six-speed DSG or six-speed manual. (Save yourself the heartache and just get the manual, okay?)

The Golf GTI S model gets a new stop-start feature when equipped with an automatic transmission and a new design for those 18-inch rollers. SE trim gets the performance brakes from the Golf R to go with the limited-slip VAQ differential. The GTI Autobahn trim gets new DCC suspension control. You’ll find all of the aforementioned updates, include the LED headlights DRLS, will show up in the Golf R.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon David Brown Revives the Classic Mini Cooper with Modern Tech

Introduced in 1959, the original Mini Cooper revolutionized the city car market and became so popular that it remained in production until 2000. The nameplate was purchased by BMW and relaunched in a more modern form in 2001, but most enthusiasts agree that things haven’t been the same. Nearly two decades have passed since the original Mini was discontinued and David Brown Automotive is bringing it back to life.

Called Mini Remastered, the new old Cooper is more than just a reproduction replica. While carefully crafted to resemble the original car from 1959, the small hatchback has been remastered to “meet the demands of modern day life.” The exterior may not give away the modern production process of the car (unless you look closely), but the interior has been redesigned to include all sorts of high-tech features, including a premium infotainment system.

The original engine has also undergone a complete transformation. Not only more powerful, it also runs smoother than Mini’s original unit, while returning improved performance and fuel economy. David Brown Automotive says that over 1,000 man hours go into creating each Mini Remastered. Let’s find out why.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Toyota Yaris

The 2017 Geneva Auto Show had plenty of supercar action, but the Toyota booth had quite the nice surprise for performance enthusiasts, in the shape of the new Yaris GRMN. Based on the WRC-spec rally car, the GRMN is the Polo GTi and Fiesta ST competitor we’ve been asking about for years, but it wasn’t the only Yaris show in Switzerland. Alongside the performance version, Toyota also displayed the regular Yaris, which just received a mid-cycle update.

Now sporting a revised front fascia with more angular lines and a sportier bumper and larger taillights around back, the Yaris has taken a more aggressive stance against the competition. The fresh design is backed by a revised interior with new technology and an enhanced safety package, while the drivetrain department has news to share too. On top of the new GRMN model with the supercharged 1.8-liter engine and a mild update to the hybrid version, the Yaris also ditched the 1.3-liter unit in favor of a brand-new, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Powerful yet more efficient, the new unit also makes the Yaris quicker, which is a big plus with so many nippy options on the market right now.

All told, the Yaris gained quite the comprehensive update and it’s now one of the most modern and advanced propositions in this crowded niche. Find out how it compares with the competition in the my review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Yaris.


PostHeaderIcon Toyota Corolla iM – Driven

Ah Scion, Toyota’s youth-market sub brand. Now in 2017, we can only reminisce about bygone days when new Scion hatchbacks, coupes, and toasters sat in showrooms waiting for eager high-school teens to arrive with daddy’s money or senior citizens to stroll in looking for something more economical than their worn-out Mercury Grand Marquis. Those days are gone though, thanks to Toyota shuttering Scion and consolidating a few of its models into the Toyota fleet. One such example is the Scion iM.

The iM was all-new for the U.S. market in 2015, launched beside the Mazda-derived Scion iA sedan. The iM was basically a Toyota Corolla Hatchback, though you’d never hear a Scion salesman pointing that to potential buyers. The car featured the same, 1.8-liter four-cylinder as the Corolla, as well as the six-speed manual or optional Continuously Variable Transmission. But, sadly, the iM and iA couldn’t save the Scion brand. Toyota ended the brand’s 13-year run in August of 2016. Fast-forward to today, and Toyota has rebadged the iA, iM, and FR-S as the Yaris iA, Corolla iM, and the 86, respectively.

I recently got to sample the Corolla iM for a week – living with it during the daily grind. My tester came equipped with the six-speed manual transmission and zero options. It’s rare to have press fleet cars come so equipped. But rather than being a buzzkill from the usual whiz-bang gadgetry and overly complicated nature of many modern cars, the iM’s basic nature proved a welcomed reprieve and rather enjoyable. Heck, my tester didn’t even have floor mats. (I’ve heard Toyota is stingy with their floor mats.)

Of course, the most noticeable feature of this iM is its color – that big, bright, green color. Oh boy. Toyota calls it “Spring Green Metallic.” I call it ugly. Yet the color helped add a particular flare to car it wouldn’t have otherwise had. It also attracted everyone’s attention. I lovingly named my tester Snot Rocket.

Continue reading for the full driven review.


PostHeaderIcon Buyer's Guide: Mazda 3 vs Honda Civic Hatchback

SUVs have the world by storm, getting a second wind after the high-priced fuel crisis of years past, and ultimately forcing automakers to rethink their whole strategy. But, SUVS aren’t the only popular models on the market, as hatchbacks are still a big-ticket item as well. There are so many to choose from – models like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, and even the Mini Cooper have found their way into the hearts of many, but there are two other players in this game that are worth your consideration, and those are the Honda Civic Hatchback and the Mazda3. Both offer aggressive styling, decent power output, and the ability to haul a decent amount of cargo or a few friends with ease.

The Honda Civic has been around for a long time, being introduced back in 1972. It was originally offered in a number of configurations, including three- and five-door hatchback form. The Civic itself has survived well over the years with the tenth-gen model being introduced for 2016. The Mazda3, on the other hand, is relatively a baby in comparison, being introduced just back in 2003. It saw its third generational shift for the 2014 model year and went through a minor revision for the 2017 model year. With Mazda’s latest design language and range of SkyActiv engines, the Mazda 3 is always ready to do battle with the other great hatchbacks in the world, but today we’re going to compare it directly to the Civic Hatchback and help you decide which one you should buy when it comes time to pull the trigger on your next big purchase.

With that said, let’s dive on in and take a good look at each one. Both come to the party with a lot to offer, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. Join me down the page, and we’ll get started.


PostHeaderIcon Honda Releases Industrial Strength Civic Type R Teaser: Video

Hey! You there! Auto enthusiast! Are you excited for the impending invasion of the first Type R’d Honda to ever get shipped stateside? Do you dream of wings and red badges and 20-inch wheels and triple exhaust pipes? Do you spend your days fantasizing about 300 turbocharged ponies rampaging at the dip of your right foot? Well, you’re in luck, because all that goodness will soon become a reality with the arrival of the new Civic Type R. Word has it the first units will arrive sometime this spring, so to tide you over, Honda is offering up this 1-minute teaser video.

The vid is set in an industrial park and showcases the FWD maniac amid a host of hype-building effects – reverse smoke billows, red lasers… that sort of thing. It’s a fun little clip that does a good job in highlighting the CTR’s extreme exterior styling, as well as some of the goodies equipped in the cabin. But make sure to stick around for the end, where we get about eight seconds of burbling, popping exhaust noise as the CTR speeds away at full throttle, cracking through the manual six-speed shifter in the process.

Unfortunately, the whole thing isn’t much more than a shameless teaser to stoke the flames of desire amongst fans, and no new info can be gleaned from watching it. But hey – if you’re CTR lover, ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Sport Compact Invasion – Breaking Down 5 Of The Best Pocket Rockets

Small cars can be really, really fun. Sure, it’s not uncommon to see the compact segment associated with less than thrilling prospects, such as commuter mules and plain-old boring A-to-B transport, but if you do it right, the pairing of diminutive size and low curb weight can be the right recipe to make something thrilling, something to get your juices flowing. Whether it’s attacking cones at the autocross, slinging dirt on a rally cross course, zipping between the apexes on the road course, or charging up a deserted mountain road on the weekends, a sport compact is the right fit for a wide range of speed lovers. This is the realm of the pocket rocket, a giant slayer with a mean little attitude and a whole lot of potential. If you like mixing your performance with a compact body style, there are lots of options out there. Here’s the top five.

For this comparison, we chose the following entries – the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, Mini Cooper Hardtop John Cooper Works, Subaru WRX STI, and Volkswagen Golf R. All are turbocharged and slot in around the $35,000 mark. While there are other options available, these are some of the most popular. As such, we looked at the styling and aero, interior comfort and convenience, engine and drivetrain, chassis and handling, and of course, the price and optional equipment. We also looked at some of the more intangible characteristics of each entry.

Are you looking to get into a new sport compact? Read on for the info you need to know.

Continue reading for a breakdown of five of the best pocket rockets.


PostHeaderIcon Seven Wallet-Friendly Cars Unveiled in Geneva

The 2017 Geneva Motor Show has come to an end and it’s pretty obvious that this year’s event has been a massive success. With more than 60 vehicles on display, Geneva once again proved why its among the most important auto shows of the year.

But, while we drooled upon supercars like the Ferrari 812 Superfast, Lamborghini Huracan Performante, and McLaren 720S, Geneva also brought us quite a few cars for the average Joe. They might not be as spectacular when it comes to performance and technology, but they’re equally important to the automotive industry and deserve all the attention they can get.

Geneva may seem like an event that’s about the glitz and glamour of luxury and performance cars more than anything else, but this is mostly because we all dream of owning cars that can go fast, and keep us comfortable and connected with the latest gadgets. But, once we stop dreaming, we realize that we can’t afford a Lamborghini Huracan and that our daily driver is no-nonsense compact. When that moment comes, have a look at the cool, yet affordable cars you might have missed while rushing to find out how fast the Huracan is around the Nurburgring.

You might need a new daily driver soon. Just saying…

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon This Is How Much You'll Need To Save To Buy The Honda Civic Type R

The long wait is over. Yes, you read that right. The long wait is finally over. The Honda Civic Type R, arguably one of the most anticipated U.S.-bound performance models in a long time is set to make its arrival this summer. The hot hatch is scheduled to go on sale sometime in June or July 2017 – Honda’s press release did say “late spring” – and will carry a price tag that will be “in the mid-30k range.”

Okay so the timetable and price of the Civic Type R are not yet official, but that’s really an academic point, especially for those who have waited years for the hot hatch to make its way in U.S. soil. See, for those who aren’t familiar with the Type R’s history, the model has actually been around since 1997, spanning five different generations, including the one that was unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. In all that time, the four previous-generation Civic Type Rs never made their way to the U.S. Sure, they were sold at one point or another in places like South Africa, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, but the U.S. had always been shut out of the hot hatch despite the fact that the country remains one of Honda’s biggest markets.

None of that matters now though because the 20-year wait is finally coming to an end. The Honda Civic Type R, with its luscious 306-horsepower and 295-pound-feet of torque capabilities will be roaming American streets. It’s worth noting though that the U.S.-spec Civic Type R will carry slightly less power than the international-spec cars, which will have 315 horsepower at its disposal.

The disparity in output probably won’t matter in the long run given how long U.S. customers have waited to get their hands on the car. So while all of us wait for “late spring” to arrive, we can at least look forward to the car making an appearance at the 2017 New York Auto Show where it will be on hand together with the Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Honda Clarity Electric models, both of which will be making their global debuts at the event.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS

For older stateside hot hatch fans out there, it’s probably crystal clear that we’re currently in a new golden age of performance, one that was once relegated to the realm of fantasy and bench racing. High-powered, tear-drop-shaped compacts with an odd number of doors, turbocharged power, and sports car-like handling are finally, finally finding their way to the U.S. market, and after decades of waiting and ogling from afar, U.S. buyers will soon have a chance to get behind the wheel of four-wheeled superstars previously considered forbidden fruit solely for Europe and Japan. Two of the biggest contenders in this space are the Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS, both incredible cars aimed squarely at the enthusiast buyer. But which is better?

You can’t help but put these two compact titans in a side-by-side comparison. Both are roughly the same in terms of cost, both come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, both get manual transmissions, and both offer five-door practicality. Both also carry a long history of making speed lovers smile, and command a veritable army of zealous followers to champion their claim to hot hatch supremacy.

But there are some serious differences as well. While the Focus is an AWD hammer, boasting four corners of grip and some impressive firepower under the hood, the Civic is a FWD scalpel, packing less weight and a history of apex-hunting prowess.

Which will come out on top – the Blue Oval Drift Mode bomber, or the H Badge slice and dice katana? It’s America versus Japan in a hot hatch shakedown. Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full comparison.


PostHeaderIcon Nissan Micra Bose Personal Edition

The Nissan Micra is a good subcompact car that Nissan has relied on to compete against the likes of the Ford Fiesta and the Honda Jazz. It’s certainly made a name for itself in its segment, but the last thing you’d probably associate with the Micra is a premium sound system company like Bose. Then again, the auto industry is a business of never-ending surprises, and we were treated to one such surprise at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Nissan brought with it the Micra Bose Personal Edition, a special edition iteration of the subcompact car that was developed to celebrate the collaboration between Nissan and, you guessed it, Bose.

There is some initial surprise in seeing a car like the Micra get the full Bose treatment, but once that first reaction wears off, you’ll be happy to know that the Micra Bose Personal Edition is actually a pretty interesting offering. Sure, Bose is heavily involved, particularly when it comes to the car’s sound system, but the car isn’t just about Bose either. It also has a choice of unique paint colors and a wide range of added accessories courtesy of the car’s very own personalization program.

Yep, the Nissan Micra has its own version of Porsche Exclusive or McLaren Special Operations, relative, of course, to the quality and price point of its segment. Oh, and while we’re at it, the Micra Bose Limited Edition also has a trove of tech and standard equipment, all thanks to the fact that the whole run of limited edition models – 3,000 in total – are based on the range-topping Tekna trim.

As far as cars with personalities are concerned, the Nissan Micra Bose Personal Edition makes no bones about what makes it special. You can point to the fancy-schematic color scheme or the aforementioned menu of tech and equipment, but at the end of the day, this limited run version of the Micra is all about Bose.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Micra Bose Personal Edition.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Focus

The Ford Focus was first launched in the European marking in 1998 but came to North America for the 2000 model year as a replacement for the Ford Escort and its cousin, the Mercury Tracer. Despite being a “cheaper” model with goofy, bubbly headlights and a somewhat lackluster interior, the Focus was a big hit. The first generation model ran until 2004 and won more than 60 awards during its lifespan. It even found itself on Car and Driver’s Ten Best List. Ford has continued to improve on the looks and overall function of the Focus, and it is currently in its third generation, with a facelift taking place for the 2015 model year.

With the current generation being six years old, it’s not all that shocking that our spy photographers have caught what we believe to be the next-generation Focus out doing some cold weather testing. Oddly, it isn’t under any camo, and it looks quite similar to the facelifted Focus that debuted in 2015. Be that as it may, there are still some significant changes to mention – some that might be hinting that this mule is sporting an old, modified body as a decoy.

While the body may very well be a decoy, we can still make some predictions about the next-gen Focus. Take a little walk with me as I talk about what we see in the photos, and what we can expect when the next-gen Focus is unveiled sometime in the future.

Update 3/15/2017: We have received a second round of spy shots that show the next-gen Focus playing in the snow and on the ice. This time around, however, it’s sporting what appears to be the official body with lots of camo and padding to throw us off. Check out the exterior section below to learn all about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Ford Focus.


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