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Archive for the ‘hatchback’ Category

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.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Golf R-Line Package

The Volkswagen Golf may not be regarded as a flagship model but it is an important one to the German automaker as it continues to pick up the pieces left behind by the disaster that was Dieselgate. With the model having recently undergone a facelift, the Golf is beginning to exude confidence again, which is likely a big reason why Wolfsburg is releasing a new optional R-Line package specifically for the hatchback and wagon versions of the company’s little mighty mouse of a car.

Nope, the Volkswagen Atlas isn’t the only one getting the R-Line treatment. The Golf is getting one too, and judging by the options included in this particular package, there are plenty of them to go by for discerning would-be Golf owners. Exterior and interior upgrades abound in the Golf R-Line, most of them coming in aesthetic and cosmetic varieties. Some of these options come with aerodynamic improvements too so that’s another pretty important selling point, especially when you take into account one of the R-Line package’s most important attributes.

Essentially, think of the Golf R-Line in the vein of the model’s range-topping variant, the Golf R, minus the extra power that the latter has at its disposal. The Golf R-Line doesn’t carry the same power and performance numbers as the actual Golf R, but at the very least, the package helps the Golf look a lot like its more powerful sibling. That in itself makes the Golf R-Line that more appealing because ultimately, if you can’t add on to a car’s power numbers., might as well just make the said car look the part of one instead.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf R-Line Package.

PostHeaderIcon Would you Option the New Civic Type R with a CVT Transmission?

The Civic Type R was unveiled to the world in prototype form at the 2016 Paris Auto Show and almost immediately the internet went wild with discussion about the upcoming performance hatch. Set to tackle some of the greats like the Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus RS, the Civic Type R has a lot to live up to if it’s going to dominate the hot hatch market like it’s intended to. Based on the looks of the prototype we know it it’s got the aggressive looks, but things like engine designation, power output, and official performance figures are a mystery. Back in November CARmagazine published a story in their printed magazine that exposed some new information about the new Civic Type R, with the most significant being that it will be offered with the option of having a CVT transmission!

I’m sure there were a few guys out there that wanted nothing more than to gouge out their eyes when the first read the news, but it’s not all bad. In the article, the head engineer of the Type R, Mirsuru Kariya; the lead designer, Tsutamori; and the head of Honda Europe, Katsushi Inoue, exposed the world to a few interesting facts about the upcoming Type R. The six-speed manual transmission will still be the standard unit, so you’ll still be able to row your own if you want, but for those who are ready to give up that third pedal, the CVT will be a viable option. It was also said that the Type R will be front-wheel-drive only, despite the rumors that it would come ready to battle the Focus RS with a real AWD system. They also said that it will have a lower center of gravity compared to the standard Civic hatchback.

Along with the news that Honda’s CVT will be an option came the news that there will be no option for a dual-clutch unit – news that will certainly disappoint some who have come to appreciate the performance and quick shifting that comes along with a DCT. For now, the muscle behind the car remains a mystery, but as we’ve mentioned in our review of the Type R concept and our speculative review of the upcoming Type R, it will likely get an updated versions of Honda’s current 2.0-liter. In current form, it pumps out 305 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of Japanese bliss, but we’re expecting Honda to up the ante on its new performance hatch and bring those numbers a bit higher to help the car take on the Focus RS. At this point, some sources say 325 horsepower, but it could even go as high as 340.

Update 01/05/2016: A Honda spokesman reach out to outlet Jalopnik and confirmed that the Civic Type R will be offered with a six-speed manual transmission only. No option for a CVT or DCT transmission will exist at the time of launch.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

PostHeaderIcon Skoda Octavia vRS

For a while, Skoda was soldering on as a dated company that produced less-than-modern vehicles, but all that changed in 1996 when the brand introduced the Skoda Octavia. The car has since gone through a couple of redesigns and, for the 2017 model year, it went through a facelift. This facelift brought an even more modern design outside while upping the Octavia’s interior game and bringing some updates to the powertrain department as well. Skoda revealed the facelifted Octavia back in November of 2016, and just over a month later, the brand announced a range-topping version of its resident four-door: the Octavia vRS. The vRS brings a more aggressive set of fascias on the outside, some performance-focused tweaks to the chassis and suspension, and a small increase in power that’s enough to make it the “fastest series-production model in the history of the Octavia.”

Needless to say, Skoda is really excited about its new vRS, and in all honesty, it probably should be. But, you really need a trained eye and a good sense of logic to get through all of the PR talk that comes along with the announcement for this new “performance” model. Highlights do include an increase in 10 horsepower over that of the standard model, a slightly lowered suspension system, and it even comes stock with a pair of 18-inch wheels that can be swapped out for 19-inch models if you desire to do so.

All told, the vRS looks to be a fairly decent little compact car, and its looks certainly float the bill for something that will be passed off as a range-topping model. But, is there more to it than what meets the eye? Well, let’s dive on in and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Skoda Octavia vRS.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Volkswagen Golf R Comes With More Power And Better Looks

In November 2016, Volkswagen launched the facelifted, seventh-generation Golf, unveiling all versions of the popular hatchback save for the range-topping R. With 2017 just around the corner, the German car maker has quietly revealed the Golf R too. As expected, the beefed-up hatchback arrives with a slightly more powerful engine and an updated exterior.

Design-wise, the R model received the same updates as the rest of the Golf lineup. Up front, there’s a revised radiator grille with a chromed lower strip that extends through the new LED daytime running lights. The LED headlamps are also new and included in the standard package. Below, there’s a redesigned bumper with a larger opening in the middle and revised side vents with black-painted surrounds. The new bumper gives the Golf R a more aggressive stance compared to the outgoing model, which looked rather bland. Around back, notable changes include taillights with a new LED pattern and larger lamps in the bumper. The hatchback also rides on new, double-five-spoke wheels.

Inside, the R carried over with almost no changes in terms of styling, but got a wide array of new tech, starting with a new touchscreen with gesture control. There’s also a new fully digital instrument cluster measuring 12.3 inches and offering five different information profiles. Other novelties include the Media Control App, which provides an infotainment interface for tablets and smartphones, the Security & Service package with various apps and access to immediate assistance in the even for a crash or a breakdown, and an online anti-theft alarm.

Under the hood, the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine received a mild power hike. Much like the Seat Leon Cupra, the Golf R now benefits from extra 10 PS (10 horsepower), which takes the total output to 310 PS (306 horsepower). The hatchback needs 4.6 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. European pricing starts from €40,675 for the hatchback with the manual transmission and from €44,800 for the Variant wagon version with the DSG. U.S. pricing information is not yet available.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Fiat 500L

Fiat reintroduced the 500 nameplate back in 2007, and since then the subcompact has seen just one update that came for the 2016 model year. As such, it’s now time for Fiat to begin updating other variants of the 500, and we’ve finally got a tip on the next model that’s up for revision: The 500L. With the 500 being nearly 10 years old, you would think Fiat would have seen fit to give the car a full update, but instead, it got a mild facelift. And, the spy shots we have received of the 500L show that Fiat is following suit and giving the 500L the same minor updates that came to its smaller counterpart. This means you can expect updated fascias and light units outside to go with new color options, a new steering wheel, and a refreshed dashboard inside.

The standard 500 is a funky little car that harkens back to the original in some aspects while providing a modern feel that we all love. But, when it comes to the 500L, let’s just say it’s not the best looking car out there. It’s disproportionate in some areas and just odd looking in others – that’s just the nature of MPVs, though. Some might argue that Fiat really needs to ditch the MPV altogether and redesign the 500 L into a full-fledged SUV, but the facelifted version won’t hit the dealers until the 2018 model year, which means a redesign could be as much as a decade away if history is any indication of Fiat’s motivation to update the 500.

With that said, let’s take a good look at these spy shots and talk a little more about what’s to come to the updated Fiat 500L.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Fiat 500L.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Fiesta WRC

Ford ushered in a new generation of the Fiesta for 2017, with a focus on new looks, lots of interior amenities, new drivetrain options, and a desire to be the absolute best hatchback out there. As is the usual case with sporty little hatchbacks that go through a generational change, the new model is also making its way into sporting events, and in this case, we’re talking about WRC. The model you see here is M-Sports fighter for the 2017 FIA WRC season, and it comes complete with all of the goodies afforded by new FIA regulations that allow more power, better performance, new technology, and a unique look for each car.

According to the accompanying press release, 95 percent of this WRC racer has been designed from scratch and, while it’s based on the road-going Fiesta, there is little about this car that is stock. It’s got 380 horsepower on tap, new fully adjustable suspension, and at least 35 liters or 1.23 cubic feet of energy-absorbing foam over the current model. M-Sport’s Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, Said, “Entering a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship, there is a real sense of excitement throughout the team, and rightly so as I believe we have created something extremely special in the new Ford Fiesta WRC. Having driven the car myself, I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive we have ever produced. It’s exciting to drive; it sounds fantastic, and it looks absolutely sensational.”

With that said, M-Sport has clearly put a lot of work into its WRC racer for the 2017 season, so let’s dive on in a take a better look at it.

PostHeaderIcon Mini Countryman

Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman just got even larger with the second-generation model.

The new Countryman was spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014. Two years have passed and the crossover was unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. Significantly larger than its predecessor, the new Countryman boasts a new exterior and a revamped interior with modern features and new technology. Although Mini claims that the new crossover “remains firmly rooted in the tradition of the British brand,” the modern-day Countryman has very little in common with the original two-door estate from the 1960s.

This will be highly noticeable among purists, some of which might be offended by the comparison, but open-minded fans will probably appreciate the enhanced roominess and larger trunk space that come with a longer and wider body. The redesigned crossover will hit North American shores starting March 2017. Stay tuned for updates.

Updated 12/07/2016: Mini announced prices for the 2017 Countryman which will go on sale in March 2017.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 Mini Countryman.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Autonomous Ioniq Concept

The Hyundai Ioniq was unveiled to the public in early 2016, after a couple of years of speculation and spy shots of camouflaged test cars. Developed to compete against the popular Toyota Prius, the Ioniq sports a modern design that combines the company’s latest styling language with a few unique design features of its own. Available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions at launch, the Ioniq is also set to get an all-electric variant in 2017. At the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai confirmed that the EV will also get an autonomous system and showcased a concept car featuring the new technology.

Essentially identical to the hybrid inside and out, the Autonomous Ioniq is one of the few self-driving cars in development to have a hidden LiDAR system in its front bumper instead of on the roof and Hyundai says that its goal is to keep the self-driving systems as simple as possible. This will be accomplished by using the Ioniq’s Smart Cruise Control radar, along with its Lane Keep Assist cameras and integrating them with LiDAR technology.

Hyundai also announced that it’s developing its own autonomous vehicle operating system, which will result in a low-cost platform that can be installed in future Hyundai models that should be more affordable. A display-only model in L.A., the Autonomous Ioniq will be further showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2017, where two cars will be found driving on the streets of Las Vegas.

There’s no specific timetable as to when the production car will arrive, but Hyundai is already testing three autonomous Ioniqs and two autonomous Tucson Fuel Cell SUVs at its research and development center in Namyang, South Korea. The second half of 2017 sounds like a reasonable launch date.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Autonomous IONIQ concept.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen e-Golf

Unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the e-Golf went on sale globally in the summer of 2014, about two years after the Golf Mk7 it is based on made its public debut. In the U.S., the e-Golf arrived in late 2014 as a 2015-model-year vehicle. Essentially a standard Golf with the gasoline engine swapped for an electric motor and a battery pack, the e-Golf crossed the pond to North America with 115 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rated the hatchback at 83 miles on a single charge, which put it on par with EVs like the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf. For 2017, the e-Golf received a comprehensive update that added new technology, a new battery, more power, and an extended range.

Unveiled only a few weeks after Volkswagen debuted the regular Golf range, including the performance GTi model and the GTE hybrid, the facelifted e-Golf benefits from the same upgrades as the standard hatchback. While exterior changes are minor, customers now have access to new technology and features, including the optional gesture control function that Volkswagen unveiled in 2015. The revised e-Golf offers better performance, with the tweaked motor and larger battery delivering more horsepower and torque. Also quicker and able to reach a higher top speed, the e-Golf comes with 50-percent more range than the outgoing model.

The new tech and powertrain puts the e-Golf above its traditional rivals, but it’s not yet ready to go against the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt. Find out how it compares with its most important competitors in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen e-Golf

PostHeaderIcon The Grand Tour Isn't Too Fond Of The Toyota Prius

Yes, those are three Toyota Priuses, or at least they were Priuses before they became the unwitting victims of The Grand Tour’s latest promotional stunt. It’s widely known that Jeremy Clarkson isn’t a big fan of the Toyota hybrid and, apparently, his disdain for the car has been turned into a marketing and branding ploy to raise even more awareness of The Grand Tour’s impending debut, as if it needed any more hype to begin it.

One of the three Prius models can be found in London while the other one, or what’s left of it, is in Berlin, Germany. A third one popped up much later and guess where it’s located? America! The one in London just in front of King’s Cross station looks to have survived its crash far better than its counterpart, but the front section of the second-guess Prius is in pretty bad shape as the hood has been crumpled up and the bumper and fenders have been completely dislodged. Still, it fared much better than the third-generation Prius found in Berlin’s Hackescher market and Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, just beside some of stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The one in Berlin, for one reason or another, appears to have burst from the floor before getting stuck halfway through its apparent escape. Then there’s the one in LA, which looks to have made a beeline straight through the floor, before getting stuck in its own right as well.

Obviously, these three setups are nothing more than gratuitous branding for The Grand Tour. It’s the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. If for nothing else, these setups were excellently executed because we’re talking about them today, just as we’ll do when the show premieres on November 18.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Volswagen Golf R – Driven

The Volkswagen Golf R has been long awaited here in the U.S. where customers have pining for this Europe-only car to make its appearance Stateside. Now with the 2016 model year, that wish has finally come true. The anticipation is justifiable when considering Volkswagen first debuted the Golf R32 back in 2003. It featured the first dual-clutch gearbox in any production car and had VW’s then-new 3.2-liter VR6. It set the bar extremely high in the hot hatch segment.

Volkswagen has plenty of competitors out there, but the Golf R still holds its own. It comes with 4Motion AWD, a standard six-speed manual or the optional six-speed DSG automatic, and of course, the 292-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Those mechanicals are good for a sub-five-second launch to 60 mph and more fun on public roads than Johnny Law will allow.

At the same time, the Golf R is still… well, a Golf. It boasts 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room with the second row folded. There’s still 22.8 cubic feet of room with the second row locked in place. That means the Golf R is not only fun, but it’s functional. Obviously, that’s the appeal of a hot hatch. There’s little compromise unlike a 2+2 sports coupe or larger, heavier crossover.

I recently spent a week with the Golf R fitted with the DSG, DCC, and no N-A-V. Punny acronyms aside, the car was well equipped, but not loaded. Thankfully it had Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto) so I was able to use my iPhone for navigation. So what’s it like to live with the Golf R? I’ll let you know below.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

PostHeaderIcon Seat Leon

The latest-generation Leon came to be in 2012, some 14 years after Seat launched the nameplate. The third-gen car brought many improvements over its predecessor, being significantly lighter and incorporating more technology. The exterior was also redesigned with sportiness in mind, while the interior gained better materials and a more upscale look. Sharing its platform with the Volkswagen Golf and the Audi A3, the Leon also borrowed its drivetrain from its German counterparts. In 2016, the third-generation model received its mid-cycle facelift.

Although facelifts operated by the Volkswagen Group aren’t exactly comprehensive, the revised Leon arrived with many new exterior features, as well as a significant amount of new technologies in the infotainment and safety departments. The hatchback also gained a couple of new engine options, which make it a more versatile car compared to its main rivals, including the Golf it is based on. Like the outgoing model, the refreshed Leon will be offered in three body styles: the five-door hatchback, three-door hatchback (Sports Coupe), and the five-door station wagon (Sports Tourer).

The facelifted Leon will hit showrooms in early 2017, about the same time Volkswagen is expected to start selling the revised Golf. The Spanish hatch will face massive competition in Europe from the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i30, and Kia Cee’d, among other nameplates. Find out how it compared with its most important competitors in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Seat Leon.

PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line

The annual SEMA show is just around the corner, and with its imminent arrival comes a long lineup of spruced-up, tricked-out, customized automobiles to ogle and lust after. The latest batch comes from Chevrolet, which just announced plans to drop cover on more than 20 individual models at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Among them are two new examples from the Blue Line series, including the 2017 Cruze RS five-door you see here. Bearing both concept-exclusive and production-ready accessories, the Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line is a mild upgrade over the stock vehicle, and will arrive in Vegas with new exterior styling components, a snazzier interior, a few extra horses under the hood, and crisper handling.

All in all, the hatch is pretty unremarkable compared to the average SEMA car, but it does do a decent job in showing off the Bowtie’s catalogue of accessories. If you’re a Chevy Cruze hatchback owner, then this thing might provide the inspiration needed to start modding.

Either way, Chevy says it’ll debut the Blue Line’d Cruze as a means to test the waters and see how the public reacts. You’ll have to wait until November 1st for the full public reveal, but for now, check out our review for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Cruze RS Hatch Blue Line.

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