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Archive for the ‘hatchback’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Micra Receives Its First Special Edition In Geneva

Nissan has launched the first special edition for the fifth-generation Micra subcompact car. It’s called the Bose Personal Edition and it features some wild color accents on the outside, an even wilder interior color scheme, and of course, an upgraded Bose sound system. Nissan is making 3,000 examples available to Europeans starting in the summer of 2017.

The Bose Personal Edition is based on the Micra’s range-topping trim, the Tekna grade. Both the turbocharged 0.9-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine and the 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel will be available. But the drivetrain options aren’t the story. Rather is the attention-grabbing color scheme and blaring radio.

The Micra comes in a choice of Enigma Black or Gunmetal Grey – both accented by the bright Energy Orange stripes and wheel inserts. The orange color is also found on the side mirrors. Special badging on the B-pillar denotes this being a Bose Personal Edition.

Inside, the black interior is heavily brightened by the fiery orange color. The seats have orange accents along the bolsters and down the backrests. The Center console gets padded leather pieces colored in the stuff. Even the center dash section burns brightly with Energy Orange. Quite honestly, the finished product isn’t terrible looking. In fact, it adds quite the personality to Nissan’s little economy car.

But the biggest news is the stereo. It only uses six speakers but maximizes sound via Bose’s latest signal processing technology. “We engineered the Bose Personal sound system to deliver unexpectedly big sound from a limited number of components,” said Marc Mansell, VP at Bose Automotive Systems. “Using just six high-performance speakers and our latest signal processing technology, the system rewards Micra owners with a superior, fully-customizable audio experience unlike anything else available today.”

Beyond the stereo, the car includes navigation, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist, and Intelligent Lane Intervention. Options include Nissan’s Around View Monitor, heated front seats, and a spare tire.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Nissan Micra Receives Its First Special Edition In Geneva

Nissan has launched the first special edition for the fifth-generation Micra subcompact car. It’s called the Bose Personal Edition and it features some wild color accents on the outside, an even wilder interior color scheme, and of course, an upgraded Bose sound system. Nissan is making 3,000 examples available to Europeans starting in the summer of 2017.

The Bose Personal Edition is based on the Micra’s range-topping trim, the Tekna grade. Both the turbocharged 0.9-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine and the 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel will be available. But the drivetrain options aren’t the story. Rather is the attention-grabbing color scheme and blaring radio.

The Micra comes in a choice of Enigma Black or Gunmetal Grey – both accented by the bright Energy Orange stripes and wheel inserts. The orange color is also found on the side mirrors. Special badging on the B-pillar denotes this being a Bose Personal Edition.

Inside, the black interior is heavily brightened by the fiery orange color. The seats have orange accents along the bolsters and down the backrests. The Center console gets padded leather pieces colored in the stuff. Even the center dash section burns brightly with Energy Orange. Quite honestly, the finished product isn’t terrible looking. In fact, it adds quite the personality to Nissan’s little economy car.

But the biggest news is the stereo. It only uses six speakers but maximizes sound via Bose’s latest signal processing technology. “We engineered the Bose Personal sound system to deliver unexpectedly big sound from a limited number of components,” said Marc Mansell, VP at Bose Automotive Systems. “Using just six high-performance speakers and our latest signal processing technology, the system rewards Micra owners with a superior, fully-customizable audio experience unlike anything else available today.”

Beyond the stereo, the car includes navigation, Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Recognition, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Assist, and Intelligent Lane Intervention. Options include Nissan’s Around View Monitor, heated front seats, and a spare tire.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon The Toyota i-TRIL Concept Is Like A Four-Wheeled Reliant Robin From 2030

I’m always eager to get the full rundown when the Japanese give us a brand-new concept car. Because while the Italians usually give us concepts that are beautiful, and the Germans usually give us concepts that are clever, the Japanese concepts tend to be way off the beaten path. The Toyota i-TRIL that just debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show is one good example. I mean, just look at it – weird, right? It’s like some kind of futuristic transportation bubble out of a cartoon. I half expect it to talk and have feelings. And although it’s not quite sentient, this machine does offer a few unique ideas about the future of urban and suburban mobility, from the way it handles the road, to the way it’s controlled, to the interior layout and use of space.

It also looks pretty wild, with an open-vee exterior shape that gets narrower as you move towards the rear. The i-TRIL was built by Toyota Motors Europe, working in collaboration with designers at the ED2 studio in Nice, and it’s framed as a “more engaging” environmentally friendly alternative to traditional EVs, public transportation, and motorcycles.

Who would buy this thing? Toyota says the target consumer is a “sophisticated, single, 30 – 50 year old active female with two children and a vibrant lifestyle.” This imaginary customer also lives in a “small to medium sized town,” which means the i-TRIL should be ideal for quick trips and short errands.

Read on for the specifics and the weirdness.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon The Toyota i-TRIL Concept Is Like A Four-Wheeled Reliant Robin From 2030

I’m always eager to get the full rundown when the Japanese give us a brand-new concept car. Because while the Italians usually give us concepts that are beautiful, and the Germans usually give us concepts that are clever, the Japanese concepts tend to be way off the beaten path. The Toyota i-TRIL that just debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show is one good example. I mean, just look at it – weird, right? It’s like some kind of futuristic transportation bubble out of a cartoon. I half expect it to talk and have feelings. And although it’s not quite sentient, this machine does offer a few unique ideas about the future of urban and suburban mobility, from the way it handles the road, to the way it’s controlled, to the interior layout and use of space.

It also looks pretty wild, with an open-vee exterior shape that gets narrower as you move towards the rear. The i-TRIL was built by Toyota Motors Europe, working in collaboration with designers at the ED2 studio in Nice, and it’s framed as a “more engaging” environmentally friendly alternative to traditional EVs, public transportation, and motorcycles.

Who would buy this thing? Toyota says the target consumer is a “sophisticated, single, 30 – 50 year old active female with two children and a vibrant lifestyle.” This imaginary customer also lives in a “small to medium sized town,” which means the i-TRIL should be ideal for quick trips and short errands.

Read on for the specifics and the weirdness.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Kia Picanto Shows its New, Sporty Face in Geneva

After six years on the market, the tiny Kia Picanto was redesigned from the ground up and unveiled in January 2017. Come March, and the hatchback aimed at the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Aygo made its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Upgraded to the company’s new styling language, the new Picanto sports a more youthful design with more angular features. The “tiger-nose” grille adds a bit of aggressiveness up front, while the dual exhaust and diffuser-like element around back enhances the sporty appearance. The cabin gained higher quality materials and new tech, including a seven-inch touchscreen with navigation and optional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Kia claims that the new hatchback offers “best-in-class packaging efficiency” and more legroom and headroom than more popular rivals in the A-segment.

Under the hood, the Picanto carries over with the 1.0-liter three-cylinder and 1.25-liter four-cylinder engines from the previous model, but with upgrades for improved efficiency and driveability. The 1.0-liter cranks out 66 horsepower and 96 Nm (71 pound-feet) of torque and uses a new exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head and a new cooling system with shut-off valve. The 1.25-liter delivers 83 horsepower and 122 Nm (90 pound-feet) of torque. This engine was upgraded with an optimized valve timing and new cooling system with shut-off valve. Later in 2017, the Picanto will also get a turbocharged 1.0-liter engine good for 99 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of twist.

Kia also made several upgrades in the safety department. With 44 percent of the body shell cast in Advanced High Strength Steel, the car is lighter but stronger, while torsional stiffness has been improved by 32 percent. Standard features include six airbags, Vehicle Stability Management, and Electronic Stability Control.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon This Renault ZOE Concept Is as Quick as the Lamborghini Huracán!

Often slammed for producing cheap cars that do not compare with premium offerings from Germany, Renault is one of the very few automakers that actually has a solid racing program. Involved in Formula One, endurance racing, as well as several single-seat or production-based series, the French carmaker builds a few outstanding performance vehicles. When it comes to road-legal cars, the Clio and Megane are the best RenaultSport products you can buy, and a third model based on the ZOE could be underway.

Launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the ZOE e-sport concept is a standard hatchback on steroids in terms of both looks and performance. It’s like Renault used everything it learned from the Clio RS to build a pocket rocket, but this concept is different from any other performance model from the brand. What sets it apart? The drivetrain is electric.

Specifically, the ZOE e-sport concept draws on Renault’s three years of success in the FIA Formula E Championship and uses a similar drivetrain. Featuring a lightweight body structure made of carbon-fiber and two electric motors that deliver close to 460 horsepower and 640 Nm (472 pound-feet) of torque, the car accelerates from standstill to 62 mph in only 3.2 seconds. As in Formula E, an air-and-water cooling system with a front-mounted radiator is used to make sure that the battery and control systems operate at the ideal temperature, while the tubular steel chassis is based on those used by RenaultSport cars competing in hill climbs and ice races. The Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers are also borrowed from motorsport and can be adjusted to suit different tracks or driving styles, similar to those offered in the Renault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy-R.

The unique drivetrain is backed by a custom exterior wrapped in a livery that matches that of the Formula E Renault e.dams team. The Satin Blue body has flashes of bright yellow on the front bumper, mirror caps, and rear diffuser. The carbon-fiber finish bumpers, lip spoiler, and air intake surrounds, and the 20-inch diamond-cut aluminum wheels in black and Shadow Chrome complete the look. The interior was also transformed to reflect the sportier nature of the concept, receiving Recaro bucket seats and a rectangular steering wheel, both wrapped in Alcantara, blue accents, and aluminum trim.

Unfortunately, Renault didn’t say how these modifications affect the car’s 250-mile range

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Toyota Yaris GRMN Takes the Hot-Hatch Market by Storm

Introduced in 1999, the Toyota Yaris evolved into a strong competitor for the supermini market, gaining popularity thanks to its affordable sticker, roomy interior given the small size, cheap maintenance, and good fuel economy. But even though the Yaris has become significantly better with each generation, Toyota received a lot of heat for not developing a higher performance version. Now, critics can finally rest as the Japanese firm introduced the Yaris GRMN at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

Inspired by the Yaris WRC rally car built in cooperation with Gazoo Racing, the Yaris GRMN is the Volkswagen Polo GTi and Ford Fiesta ST competitor that Toyota enthusiasts have been requesting for years. Based on the 2017 upgrade for the standard Yaris, also unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the GRMN has a sportier exterior highlighted by a unique front grille and foglamps, a more aggressive rear bumper with a center-mounted exhaust, a tailgate spoiler, and black and red paint accents. It also rides on 17-inch, BBS wheels.

Inside, the GRMN features sports seats designed for this car by Toyota Boshoku, a leather-wrapped steering wheel taken from the GT86, and aluminum sport pedals.

But arguably the most important feature of the car is the supercharged, 1.8-liter engine. Rated at “more than 207” horsepower and mated to a six-speed manual transmission, it promises to deliver “best-in-class times both for the sprint from nought to 100 km/h and acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h in fourth gear.” Specific data is not yet available, but the GRMN needs to hit 62 mph in less than 6.5 seconds for this statement to be true.

The drivetrain is backed by a custom, reinforced chassis with additional bracing, a suspension system tuned through extensive testing at the Nurburgring track with input from Gazoo Racing, and a Torsen limited-slip differential. Shorter springs, dedicated shock absorbers developed with Sachs, a larger diameter front stabilizer bar, and performance brakes round off the package.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon The new Suzuki Swift Is Lighter and More Fuel Efficient

Although not the best looking and most practical car out there, the Suzuki Swift has been a popular choice in some European market thanks to its affordable sticker and cheap maintenance. It has fallen a bit too far behind the competition in recent years, but the new-generation Swift that just made its European debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show should put Suzuki back on the map in the challenging subcompact hatchback segment.

As we learned back in December 2016 when the car made its global debut in Japan, the new Swift is a big step forward in terms of styling, following in the footsteps for the similarly sized Baleno. The hatchback also rides on new underpinnings that are about 15 percent lighter and provide better driving dynamics and help improve fuel economy.

The dated styling of the previous Swift is finally gone, replaced by modern features and an overall sportier stance. The smaller headlamps, the larger grille, and the dynamic looking front bumper give the Swift a front fascia that can stand out next to any other competitor in this segment. Although simple, the rear section feels fresh and practical at the same time, with the wider tailgate providing easier access to the trunk.

The cabin is also a big improvement over the previous design. The larger infotainment screen, the round A/C vents and the sportier instrument cluster make the Swift a nice place to spend time in. Tech includes a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay connectivity, maps, music, and USB port.

As usual, motivation is provided by small-displacement engines, starting with the 1.2-liter Dualijet rated at 89 horsepower and 89 pound-feet. The 1.0-liter, three-cylinder Boosterjet with 109 horses and 125 pound-feet is available in the more expensive trims. Just like the Baleno, the Swift uses the SHVS mild hybrid system with lower emissions. Suzuki also introduced a revised version of its AllGrip Auto four-wheel-drive system, which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling.

Pricing is not yet available, but the new Swift goes on sale in the U.K. on June 1st.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Smart ForFour Crosstown Edition

Am I the only one who thinks that there’s something redeemable about the Smart ForFour? The four-door compact car hasn’t been as well-received as Smart would’ve liked, but it still has some qualities about it that make it an appealing choice for urban-goers. Say what you will about the ForFour, but you can’t deny that it has enough merits to warrant a special edition model, which is exactly what we’ll be getting when Smart brings the ForFour Crosstown Edition at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

I get the skepticism about the car; I really do. I get it that people think that it’s still too small for their liking. I get it that it’s still hilariously underpowered. I even get it that the car hasn’t changed much since the second-generation model was launched in 2014. All fair points, but give credit to Smart for not only soldiering on with the ForFour, but for also doubling down on it with the Crosstown Edition.

As you can expect, the special edition ForFour features a wide range of enhancements and packages, all of which were added to give the ForFour an exclusive look to it that the model rarely gets. Think of the ForFour Crosstown Edition then as a Smart catalog on four wheels that’s meant to showcase a lot of the equipment and appointments that usually come as added options on standard models.

The special edition ForFour doesn’t have any engine enhancements, so don’t expect anything in that regard. But there are some notable features elsewhere around the car, and in the absence of anything exciting happening under its modest hood, Smart makes up for it with some interesting upgrades both inside and outside of the ForFour Crosstown Edition.

So give it a look. You might end up liking it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Smart ForFour Crosstown Edition


PostHeaderIcon Ford Fiesta ST

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta was launched in the summer of 2016 and arrived in dealerships for the 2017 model year. It’s been less than a year since the new hatchback broke cover, and Ford is already launching the performance-oriented ST version. Unveiled ahead of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the new hot-hatch will make its public debut at the Swiss event and join both European and North American markets shortly after.

Sporting the same styling language as the standard model, the new Fiesta ST arrives with a sporty exterior package and an interior that stands out by means of badge-specific features and extra standard equipment. The ST was also redesigned under the hood, where the previous four-cylinder engine was replaced by a three-pot unit. The new ST also features three drive modes, a first for the nameplate, and various modification to the chassis.

“Our next generation Fiesta ST is true to the philosophy of delivering cutting-edge technology to enhance every facet of the responsive Ford Performance chassis and powertrain,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “With selectable Drive Modes and an all-new EcoBoost engine delivering an unprecedented combination of performance and fuel-efficiency, the new model will deliver the most versatile, fun, engaging and rewarding Fiesta ST driving experience yet.”

Although Ford revealed plenty of details about the car, there’s more to come at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, so make sure you stay tuned for updates.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta ST.


PostHeaderIcon Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest

Here’s the scenario – you want a car, but it has to be the right car. It’s gotta be practical and comfortable, but it can’t be a complete snooze-fest behind the wheel either. You don’t want a crossover, and a sedan isn’t gonna cut it. What you want is a hatchback, something with a little zest and personality, but something that won’t break the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there, but which to choose? To help you decide, we’ve gathered six of the top contenders and put them head-to-head in the following comparison article. Let’s get ready to rumble.

To keep it all apples-to-apples, each of the entries in our comparison comes packaged in a five-door body style, gets standard FWD, and is instilled with at least a hint of sportiness. Each is also tagged with an MSRP around the $20,000 mark. With criteria like that, we decided to include the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda 3 Hatchback, Mini Cooper Hardtop Four-Door, and Volkswagen Golf GTI.

While all six of these hatchbacks are solid choices in their own right, the question remains – which is the best? Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full comparison.


PostHeaderIcon Toyota Yaris GRMN

Introduced for the 2015 model year, the current-generation Toyota Yaris is one of the most popular hatchbacks in its class and is already considered one of the most reliable and cost-friendly options on the market. However, Toyota has received a lot of heat for not offering a higher-performance version to go against the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTi. Well, it seems that the Japanese automaker listened and the 2017 facelift brought the first performance-oriented version of the Yaris. It’s called the Yaris GRMN and broke cover at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

Inspired and influenced by Toyota’s return to the World Rally Championship in 2017 with the Yaris WRC, the GRMN gets its juice (surprisingly enough) from a supercharged engine and it’s the company’s first foray into a niche dominated by Volkswagen and Ford. Developed with Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s motorsport division, and tested on the Nurburgring, the Yaris might have what it takes to give the Polo GTi and Fiesta ST a run for the money.

Having a new performance, subcompact hatchback in dealerships is as exciting as it gets, but the Yaris GRMN needs to check a few important boxes in order to make a difference. Find out more about that in my review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Yaris GRMN.


PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport by ABT Sportsline

When you have a car that already holds the Nürburgring lap record for a front-wheel drive production car, there’s little reason to expect the car to be capable of bigger and better things. While that may be true in a production sense, the aftermarket world is a different beast altogether. Previously thought of to be improbable are being made possible with the right program and no more is that evident than ABT Sportsline’s newest aftermarket program, one that specifically takes on the record-setting Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport, otherwise known as the king of the ‘Ring as far as FWD cars are concerned.

So how exactly did ABT Sportsline get to improve on a car that already packs 261 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in standard guise and a ridiculous 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque in its more powerful “S” configuration? The short answer, of course, is tuning know-how. The German automaker is one of the most respected tuners in the aftermarket scene, a level it has attained after years of churning out impressive tuning kits for a wide range of makes and models.

ABT’s program for the Golf GTI Clubsport is no different as it packs a comprehensive list of upgrades that includes a new aero kit, interior upgrades, suspension improvements, and of course, an engine program that revolves around the tuner’s award-winning New Generation tuning module.

The results on the Golf GTI Clubsport and the Clubsport S are significant. The GTI Clubsport, for example, gets its power up to 335 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque while the Clubsport S sees its output shoot up to 365 ponies and 339 pound-feet of torque. For a hot hatch that already boasts of being the standard-bearer among all hot hatches, it seems unfair that both versions of the Golf GTI Clubsport still has a room for improvement.

Then again, that’s why ABT Sportsline is considered as one of the best in the business.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport by ABT Sportsline.


PostHeaderIcon Honda's Most Highly-Anticipated Model Will Finally Arrive in Production Form In Geneva

The 2017 Geneva Motor Show is expected to host a treasure trove of world debuts, be it of the production or concept variety. That much is known as some of the biggest automakers in the world will be in attendance, ready to showcase its new wares to the entire industry. That list of companies includes Honda, which is bringing with it the production version of a car that we’ve been waiting a long time to see. Fasten your seat belts, everyone, because the production-spec Honda Civic Type R is finally coming.

First debuting as a concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show last September, the wait for the production version has been excruciatingly long. Ever the tease, Honda even mate the auto show rounds bringing the concept version with it with little trace of the production model. But all that’s going to change in Geneva as the Japanese automaker is now prepared to pull the covers off of the production-spec Civic Type R, much to the delight of everyone who has been waiting a long time for this moment to arrive.

Granted, details about the road-ready Civic Type R are still under wraps, but previous reports have suggested that the hot hatch will make use of a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will produce more than 300 horsepower and with all that power sent to the two front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. That number has yet to be confirmed by Honda, but for the sake of the Civic Type R and all the hype it’s been generating, it better breach the 300-horsepower barrier. That’s especially true if it hopes to compete against some of its expected rivals, including the 350-horsepower Ford Focus RS and the 305-horsepower Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S, the current king of Nürburgring lap times among front-wheel-drive cars.

For what it’s worth, though, the data and the figures can wait for the time being since they’ll be revealed in Geneva anyway. What’s important is that the production version of the Honda Civic Type R now has a timetable for its debut. I know what you’re all thinking because I can’t wait for Geneva, either.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Audi RS 3 Sportback

Audi launched production of the A3 compact three-door hatchback in 1996 with the introduction of the original Typ 8L A3 for the European market. Using the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf and Seat Leon, the first A3 offered an inline four-cylinder engine in both gas and diesel trim. In 1999, Audi introduced the sportier S3 model, which was equipped with a range-topping 222-horsepower turbo four-cylinder. In 2003, the second-gen A3 was released, followed by the second-gen S3 in 2006. Finally, in 2011, the RS 3 Sportback was revealed, rocking a five-cylinder 2.5-liter engine and 335 horsepower. The latest-gen RS 3 arrived in 2015 following the third-gen A3’s release in 2012, and now, Audi is introducing a face-lifted model for the hot-to-trot RS hatchback. The latest RS 3 Sportback arrives on the heels of the RS 3 Sedan, which was revealed just last year at the Paris Motor Show. Now, the hatch heads to Geneva for its official public debut, packing even more power under the hood, updated styling, the latest infotainment gear, lots of luxury, and a decent amount of practicality in the rear.

With the new RS 3 Sportback now in the open, Audi’s sport compact offerings are looking solid, with a full complement of four-doors, coupes, drop-tops, and hatchbacks. However, what really makes the new RS 3 Sportback stand out from the crowd is its powerplant. Making the go in this thing is the most powerful production five-cylinder engine in the world. Granted, high-performance five-cylinders aren’t exactly common, but still, it’s a pretty impressive title all the same.

While stateside customers will be able to enjoy the lovely RS 3 Sedan by this summer, the RS 3 Sportback model is unfortunately not slated for U.S. consumption. And that’s a shame, but it doesn’t mean we can’t ogle it from afar. Read on for all the specifics.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi RS 3 Sportback.


PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Brings i30 From Across The Pond, Calls It Elantra GT

Sure, crossovers are still the hot-ticket body style, but if you’re looking for practicality in a more car-like package, the tried-and-true compact hatchback formula isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Case in point – the hugely updated new Elantra from Hyundai. It’s called the Elantra GT, and it was just introduced for the 2018 model year at the Chicago Auto Show. Essentially an Americanized version of the i30 Euro hatch, the Elantra GT will be offered in two trim levels, including the base model, and the hot-to-trot GT Sport. Both get refined styling cues, tons of cabin space for people and things, and a solid lineup of tech features, while the faster GT Sport throws in bigger wheels, independent rear suspension, and 200 horses under the hood.

Outside, you’ll find a body that’s now longer and wider than before, and it sits closer to the ground. LEDs were used for the daytime running lights, while additional LEDs can be had for the high beams and low beams.

Moving inside, the Elantra GT offers nearly 25 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear bench, while up to five passengers get 96.5 cubic feet of passenger room. There’s a standard 8.0-inch display screen, plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. There’s also Amazon Alexa integration for remote start and heating features.

Options include dual-zone climate control, a wireless phone charger, leather upholstery, and alloy pedals. Safety and convenience tech incudes available adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and lane keep assist.

Under the skin, Hyundai used additional high-strength steel, making the new Elantra GT 22 percent more rigid and 60 pounds lighter. There are two engine options, both four-cylinders, starting with a 2.0-liter producing 162 horsepower, or alternatively, a turbo 1.6-liter making 201 horsepower. It should also handle decently, given Hyundai developed the car’s suspension at the Nurburgring.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT will go on sale this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but we expect it to slot in under the $20,000 mark.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Elantra GT

Hyundai introduced the Elantra for the 1991 model year, but at that time, even this now well-regarded model was considered a throw-away econobox at best. Hyundai has evolved as a brand a lot over the last 31 years, as has its long-running Elantra nameplate, which entered its sixth generation for the 2016 model year. As was the case with the previous-gen model, the new Elantra has been expected to spawn a GT model, and sure enough, Hyundai showed up to the 2017 Chicago Auto show with not one, but two variants in tow. Offered with either a 1.6-liter, turbocharged mill in Sport trim or a 2.0-liter NA mill in the entry-level trim, the GT can be had with either 201 horsepower or 162 horsepower, respectively. The new GT is now more rigid than before (by 22 percent,) sits lower, is wider, and shed a total of 62 pounds. Because of its hatchback nature, the GT can hold 25 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats in the upright position and more than double that the rear seats laid down.

What’s more important here is that the new Elantra GT will have its work cut out for it on the market. After all, the Elantra GT doesn’t exactly spring to mind when someone mentions hot hatches, despite the fact that it competes against some strong models like the Mazda3 and Ford Focus hatchback, among others. So, will the new Elantra GT have what it takes to drive folks into Hyundai dealers for the brand’s latest hatch? Well, things look promising but Keep reading to see what we think about it and to learn more about how it compares to the competition.


PostHeaderIcon Gather Round Hot-Hatch Fans, Toyota Will Unveil a 210-HP Yaris Soon

Except for a few nameplates that had the looks and sometimes the performance that recommended them for the sports car market, Toyota is mainly known as a maker of dull-looking and not-so-powerful, yet affordable and reliable vehicles. This has changed a bit recently though, as the Japanese company began using sportier designs and installing better materials in some products. More recently, Toyota took the small, city-friendly Yaris and turned it into a full-fledged rally car, feeding the imagination of those dreaming about a road-legal, performance-oriented hatchback. This dream is about to become real as Toyota just announced a sporty Yaris for the street.

The Japanese firm didn’t have much to say about the upcoming, yet unnamed hatchback, but did confirm that it will be unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March. The higher-spec Yaris will break cover alongside the new Yaris WRC, which makes its competition debut at the Monte Carlo Rally in January. The higher performance Yaris also signals a big update for the entire range, which will gain “new front and rear styling and a modernized interior.” Toyota also promises “a raft of technical modifications to improve overall comfort and handling.”

But, arguably, the biggest news is that the new range-topping Yaris will be based on a three-door version and will be powered by an engine “producing more than 210” horsepower. For reference, the most powerful Yaris available right now gets 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

There’s no word as to what engine will motivate the new hot-hatch, but Toyota could use a toned down version of the 1.6-liter four-banger found in the WRC car. The race-spec engine cranks out 300 horsepower and 309 pound-feet, but expect that to drop to less than 230 horses and 240 pound-feet. Of course, the engine in the road car will be devoid of most race-prepped components. I also expect Toyota to add a bespoke, quick-shifting transmission and a significantly beefed-up chassis for sportier dynamics.

Stay tuned for the details, we’ll be back as soon as we have them!

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon If You Plan to Haul More Than One Passenger, Don't Buy the Ford Fiesta

I like to take in all of the little details, so when I was at Cobo in Detroit for the press preview days of the Detroit Auto Show, I made it a point to sit in just about every vehicle I could. Pictures are worth a thousand words, sure, but they can also be a bit deceiving as I found out when it came to the Ford Fiesta. I’ve always been big into hatchbacks, and the Fiesta has intrigued me in recent years, but as soon as I laid eyes on it at the show, I realized just how small this car really is. There’s nothing wrong with a small car as long as there’s enough room inside, but when it comes to the Fiesta, that just isn’t the case.

As a larger guy, I knew the Fiesta wouldn’t be that comfortable to me, but I didn’t realize just how cramped the rear of the cabin would be. To put it simply, there’s next to no foot or legroom back there. This made getting inside of the car through the small doors even more difficult, but still achievable. Once I was there, I found that there wasn’t a single position I could get into and actually be comfortable. At five-feet 10 inches, my feet were forced under the front seat and my knees embedded into the seat back – luckily, this model doesn’t have a plastic frame on the rear, or it would have been sheer hell. Moving the seats all the way forward yielded a little more room, but it still wasn’t comfortable, and it would have definitely put a damper on the comfort of the driver or front passenger.

But, it wasn’t all bad. The seat cushion and seat back in the rear was pretty soft, so that was pleasing to the back and rump, but outside of that, you couldn’t pay me enough to ride back there for any extended period of time unless it was absolutely necessary. And, if you weigh more than 250 pounds, you might want to bring some butter and a shoehorn, because getting out isn’t exactly easy. Up front, however, you’ll find that the seats are more than suitable for full-sized adults or those with a little extra meat on their bones. The seats slide back quite far for a small car; the seat belts had plenty of length, and the front was pretty comfortable to sit in. The doors are pretty small, so entering and exiting the vehicle isn’t exactly a breeze, but it isn’t really difficult either. Either way, if you have older kids, or plan to haul around your friends, do everyone a favor and buy something bigger – maybe the Ford Focus, for example. There’s significantly more room in that baby.


PostHeaderIcon Honda Civic Type R Black Edition

There’s been a lot of excitement surrounding the new Honda Civic Type R, largely because it’s finally coming to the U.S. But what’s gotten lost in the understandable hype surrounding the new Civic hot hatch is the fact that it isn’t scheduled to hit dealerships at least until the latter half of 2017. For now, the predecessor to the 2017 model is still holding court, or at least just finished doing so since the last of current Civic Type R models has just come off the production line. And like most models that pull at our emotional heart strings, Honda has decided to commemorate the end of the current Civic Type R by launching a special edition version called the Black Edition.

The model is formally known as the Civic Type R Black Edition, but let’s not get into any debates about that. The important thing is that it’s limited to just 100 units and with the how the hot hatch Civic is trending up in the eyes of collectors, it has the potential to be a diamond in the rough and turn into a sought-after car years from now.

For now though, the Civic Type R Black Edition is what it is. It has a number of extra upgrades and features that sets it apart from all other Civic Type Rs that came before it. It also has features the same power and performance credentials, thanks in large part to a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that packs an incredible 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel it from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds before peaking at a top speed of 167 mph. That kind of performance even took the Civic Type R to the top of lap time records for front-wheel drive cars at the Nurburgring before it was usurped by the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S.

It’s safe to say that the Honda Civic Type R is one of the purest performance cars on the road today. Now it’s getting its own special edition model? Evidently, Honda knows how to end the production of the model on a high note.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Honda Civic Type R Black Edition.


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