Archive

Posts Tagged ‘hatchback’

2016 NAIAS: 2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback

January 13th, 2016 No comments

As enthusiasts, we love to complain about the cars that manufacturers offer in foreign markets but withhold from us in the United States.  One body style that has a tendency to be offered in Europe and Asia but seldom here is the hatchback.  Chevrolet has humored us and decided to offer its fully redesigned Cruze as a sedan and hatchback in the land of the free.  The Cruze hatchback promises the added versatility and utility that is normally restricted on a conventional sedan.  Indeed, the Cruze hatch offers 47.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.  Like the 2016 sedan, the hatch offers a standard 1.4L turbo 4-cylinder as well as support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  We anticipate powertrains and options to largely mirror those of the sedan.  We expect to see the Cruze hatchback on sale next to its sedan sibling in the fall.  Now, if we could just convince Chevy to offer a Cruze wagon…

 

 

 

Video Review: 2015 Volkswagen GTI S Performance Pack

April 12th, 2015 No comments

The GTI has been rewarding drivers with a hard-to-beat combination of performance and practicality since day one and we are thrilled to report that the new seventh-generation polishes the package to near perfection. The turbo four now makes 258 lb-ft of torque starting at just 1,500 rpm so the car provides a smooth and refined punch away from every stop. Add in the Performance Pack hardware like a trick electronically controlled differential and larger brakes and the GTI is a very willing dance partner when the back road traffic disappears. The interior has been bumped up a level to shame anything else in the sub-$30k class and you can still order your hot hatch with a true clutch pedal six-speed manual. Volkswagen truly has the GTI formula figured out. We’re hoping they never change it.

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Video Review: 2014 Mazda3 s Grand Touring Hatchback

January 11th, 2015 No comments

You might be getting tired of reading about the Mazda3’s greatness on these pages, but we’ll never tire of proclaiming it so long as Mazda keeps pushing it to the head of the class. This week’s example is the fully loaded hatchback version with the gutsy 2.5-liter I4. With sweet steering feel, handling that chews up any corner and responsive brakes there really isn’t much left for us to ask Mazda for. That’s especially true now because for 2015 Mazda has listened to the vocal enthusiasts among us who want to do their own shifting with the more powerful 2.5-liter and made the stick the standard transmission with both engines. Better rest up because it sounds like you might be hearing some more about our favorite small car once we get our hands on one of those.

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Video Review: 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT

March 16th, 2013 No comments

 

      There should be a plaque on the dash of every Chevy Spark that the driver would have to recite before turning the key. It would be an adaption of Chief Joseph’s great surrender speech and it would read “I will pass no more forever”. This would put the driver in an appropriate state of mind since you are surrendering driving fun every time you set off in a mini car powered by a 1.25-liter I4 that musters 84 hp. We thanked our lucky stars for the standard 5-speed manual since the optional 4-speed automatic must be positively glacial in its acceleration. Of course once we got used to the lack of power the Spark surprised us with what it does offer. Our loaded 2LT trim came with power windows locks and mirrors, 10 airbags, 15” aluminum wheels, OnStar, even heated seats, satellite radio and a 7” touch screen with MyLink smartphone integration for Pandora, navigation and Bluetooth audio! To say we were a bit surprised at what Chevy has included for $15,795 is an understatement. Of course, compared to even the next class up you should be prepared for a noticeable increase in wind, road and engine noise and other refinement issues like small vibrations coming transmitting through the steering wheel. Still, the car offered a fine ride, 38 mpg on the highway and more than enough room up front—although back seat passengers should be small and cargo room with the 2nd row up is very tight. As for style, the Spark should catch the eye of young, first time buyers who care more about features than foot-pounds of torque and as for us, it’s safe to say we were pleasantly surprised with Chevy’s first mini car in the US.

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Video Review: 2012 Volkswagen Golf R

December 6th, 2012 No comments

 

     The most potent Golf in Volkswagen showrooms has a lot going for it. The iconic shape still offers an airy cabin with plenty of headroom, a useable rear seat once you climb back there (or choose the 4-door and make it easy) and family-friendly hatchback utility. VW’s beloved 2.0-liter turbo engine has been cranked up to 11 and now sends 256 hp to all four wheels and the only way you can get it is with a proper 6-speed manual. The Lamborghini-esque steering wheel makes you feel like you’re in something from the other end of Volkswagen’s empire and our Sunroof & Nav trim came with exactly zero options. So why can’t we recommend it to driving enthusiasts? Because at $36k the hardware isn’t enough to justify the premium over other thrill machines like the brilliant Scion FR-S and even Volkswagen’s own legendary GTI, which will get you 85% of the R’s performance for a whole lot less outlay. And it’s not anywhere on our top 10 priorities list, but even then, 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway is pretty hard to swallow from a 4-cylinder in twenty-twelve. If your best memories have always been in Golf’s you’ll love everything about this one just as we did. Everything but the price, that is.

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2011 Scion tC

October 10th, 2011 No comments

Scion’s Basic Coupe Fails to Meet Some Basic Expectations

     The low priced sporty coupe segment has been creeping upward in price during the last decade. The market used to be speckled with the likes of the Saturn SC, Ford Probe, Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, Mitsubishi Eclipse and Toyota Celica. Not one of those models exists today, but Toyota thinks it has an answer for the niche with the Scion tC. Starting at $18,275 the tC isn’t the cheapest coupe one can find, but does it offer enough sport to lure youthful car enthusiasts from straying to the used car market for their budget minded thrills? We tested a completely base tC to find out just how the Scion fares. Read more…

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Video Review: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

July 24th, 2011 No comments

      Executive Editor Brandon Dye takes the 2011 Chevrolet Volt out for a spin. He also gives a little tutorial on how to charge up your range-extended electric vehicle. Read more…

2011 Toyota Prius

July 7th, 2011 No comments

A Means of Transportation

     When the first generation Prius came along I kind of wrinkled my nose at it and said, well, that is all well and good, a clever science experiment, but it will never take on. Then the second generation Prius came along and my sentiments really hadn’t changed all that much, that’s all well and good, impressive science experiment, but it will never take on. But I ended up eating my words on that one. Toyota has sold over 2 million of the smug little things worldwide and is on to a third generation Prius, the one we are driving today. And I still don’t get it. Read more…

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2011 Audi A3

April 1st, 2011 No comments

Audi’s Entry Level Hatchback Struggles to Earn its Premium Price

      Americans don’t like hatchbacks. Automotive journalists do. These are automotive truths that are as universally understood as the need for frequent oil changes, regular tire rotations and the belief that the Pontiac Aztek fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Possibly just as well understood is that Americans definitely don’t want to pay a premium for said hatchback while automotive journalists seem to embrace the idea. Why then is Audi still offering the A3 to North American consumers?  Read more…

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2011 Lexus CT200h

December 9th, 2010 No comments

Finally, A Hybrid That Handles

     Like John Cleese in a Monty Python production, when it comes to the Lexus CT200h we feel like announcing “and now for something completely different”. That’s because this new entry-level Lexus offers the same hybrid benefits that we’ve seen in one form or another for the past decade, but doesn’t sacrifice driving pleasure on the altar of ultimate frugality. And no, we’re not counting the poor-excuse-for-a-hybrid Honda CR-Z and its piddling mid-30s fuel economy rating. Yes, we too were skeptical when phrases like “fun to drive hybrid” and “a hybrid with attitude” were being dropped by sales executives at the vehicle’s press introduction. But after a day spent driving around Palm Beach, Florida, we found ourselves uttering similar summaries of Lexus’s fifth hybrid. And we didn’t see that coming. Read more…