$10K-$20K

$10K-$20K

Launched in 1996, the first-generation Mazda2 had very little in common with the current supermini. More a minivan-like, tall hatchback with a boxy design, the Mazda2 , also known as the Mazda Demio, was offered with a couple of small-displacement, four-cylinder, gasoline engines that delivered 82 horsepower (1.3-liter) and 99 ponies (1.5-liter). The first-gen Mazda2 became a hit in Japan and was kept in production until 2002. The second-gen model brought major styling changes to the 2, but the company kept the tall, minivan-like design, while adding new gasoline engines, including a diesel. It was 2007 when the third-generation Mazda2 arrived and the compact started looking more like the supermini we all know today. The third-gen car is also the first Mazda2 to arrive Stateside, following its debut at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. After nearly eight years on the market, the Mazda2 is finally receiving its much-needed overhaul for the 2015 model year.

The supermini follows into footsteps of the Mazda3 and Mazda6 in design and technology, as it comes to life as a production version of the 2014 Hazumi Concept . Set to go on sale in Japan by the end of 2014, the Mazda2 won’t hit U.S. shores until 2015 (2016 model year). But until it does, let’s have a look at what the redesigned supermini has to offer.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mazda2.

The MG3 nameplate was introduced in 2011, when SIAC, the current owner of the MG Motor brand, launched the five-door hatchback in China. The first-generation MG3, also known as the MG3 SW, replaced the Rover Streetwise and it can’t be purchased anywhere else but in China. Although the first-gen car is still in production, MG developed a second iteration to be sold in the United Kingdom as a low-cost vehicle. Previewed by the MG Zero Concept , the MG3 actually shares most of its design cues with the study shown at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show.

Available only as a five-door hatchback with a front-mounted engine, front-wheel-drive configuration, the Euro-spec MG3 is aimed at successful vehicles such as the Ford Fiesta , Renault Clio , and the Volkswagen Polo . The British-built supermini is cheaper than most of its rivals, and although its affordable sticker brings many shortages along with it, the MG3 has a few tricks up its sleeve. Check out our review below to learn more about the pros and cons surrounding the MG3.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 MG MG3.

The Ford Fiesta is already a very fashionable hatchback . It’s up to date, it comes with plenty of options, and its compact body has received a host of cool liveries at various auto shows. However, that didn’t stop the Blue Oval manufacturer from enhancing the car’s trendy appeal by launching a couple of special-edition models.

This time though, Ford is looking into a popular photography trend called "color popping". It’s a technique in which pictures are converted to black and white with only a small portion left to appear in color. Don’t worry though, Ford is not trying to sell you a white Fiesta with yellow mirror covers. These special-edition hatchbacks are finished in contrasting red and black combos and offered in two distinct color schemes.

As it stands, Ford is gunning for customers "with a passion for style and an eye for quality and detail." Is it just me, or the Fiesta Black and Red Editions are the Mini Coopers of the Ford lineup?

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Ford Fiesta Black And Red Editions.

Nissan has been building midsize trucks since 1985, with models stretching all across the globe. Here in U.S., the Hardbody and then Frontier have filled the slot, but overseas in nearly every other country, it’s been the Navara. Now for 2015, the Navara moves into its twelfth generation with the NP300 Navara.

While we were expecting Nissan to announce the U.S.-spec Frontier sometime soon, the automaker has been quiet on the details. We do suspect many if not most of the Navara’s details will transfer over to the Frontier, but we cannot be certain. That’s especially true when considering the powertrain options.

As for the new NP300, the updates are more evolutionary than revolutionary. A more ridged high-strength frame holds still the independent, coil-over suspension up front with a leaf spring suspension out back. Power comes from two — so far — improved engines: a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder, gasoline mill and a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder, turbo-diesel. Both engines are more efficient and powerful, helping the truck do more with less fuel. A seven-speed automatic and a six-speed manual transmission are offered with both engines.

An electric, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system is available and is assisted by Nissan’s Vehicle Dynamic Control system, Hill Start Assist, Hill Decent Control, and Active Brake Limited Slip. That last feature uses the brakes to apply force to a spinning wheel in low-traction situations on both the front and rear axles. The mechanical differential then sends power to the opposite wheel.

These nitty-gritty features all work together to get make the Navara look like a solid contender for Nissan in the upcoming years. As far as the U.S. version, it appears we’ll have to wait a bit longer for any news. But when it comes, rest assured that TopSpeed will have it covered.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan NP300 Navara.

Note: 2013 Subaru WRX Concept pictured here.

The Subaru WRX Concept may become more than just a concept after all. First introduced at the 2013 New York International Auto Show , the WRX Concept wowed just about everyone who saw it. So when Subaru unveiled the production model soon thereafter and it looked nothing like the concpet, a lot of us were disappointed, to say the least.

But Masuo Takatsu finally has some good news for us. Subaru’s WRX Project General Manager recently told Motoring that the design of the WRX Concept could still be used in a production car. Takatsu’s proclamation was confirmed by Subaru designer Mamoru Ishii, who laid out the company’s plans for the new 2016 Subaru Impreza .

According to Ishii, the WRX Concept’s sporty and aggressive look will be given to the all-new Impreza, with the WRX following after that. A bolder, lower body and a tucked roof section are parts of Subaru’s plan for the new Impreza, two design traits the WRX Concept flawlessly conveyed.

Without divulging any more details, Ishii also indicated that Subaru is preparing for an all-new model onslaught. The new Impreza and the subsequent WRX will be leading the pack with designs that will trace their roots to the 2013 WRX Concept.

In the end, Subaru’s reasoning for holding off on using the WRX Concept’s design is really more about timing than anything else. So it’s time to give the company a break.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Subaru Impreza.

Source: Motoring

The relative success of the first-generation Supra left Toyota with a huge task on its hands. It wasn’t enough to just build on the popularity of the sports car ; the company had to exceed it with the new version. So in a lot of ways, the second-generation Supra was created to make sure that it wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan model.

The model ran from 1982 to 1986 and in that time, the Supra evolved and underwent a handful of changes, resulting in the model that cemented the Supra’s place in history as one of Toyota’s finest sports cars .

In the North American market, the second generation Supra, which was still known as the Celica XX in Japan, came in two different versions: Performance Type (P-Type) and Luxury Type (L-Type). Both versions were roughly identical to each other, except for some noticeable changes to the aesthetics and the available technology contained in the models.

The success of the second-generation Toyota Supra turned a lot of people into fans of the sports car, elevating its stature in the eyes of many as one of the best sports cars of its time. It even caught the attention of Motor Trend and Car and Driver, two magazines that awarded the Supra with their own honors, including MT’s "Import Car of the Year" and Car and Driver’s "Top Ten Best List" in 1983 and 1984.

Click past the jump to read more about the 1982 - 1986 Toyota Supra.

Back in the the 1970’s, the Celica was fighting the good sports car fight for Toyota as rival models, particularly the Nissan 240Z , burst into the scene. But it wasn’t until the latter part of that decade when Toyota decided to ramp up its efforts in the sports car market. That’s when the Toyota Supra was born. Based on the Celica until its third incarnation, the Supra became the sports car Toyota put up against some of the best its rivals had to offer. It’s popularity grew to such great lengths that the Japanese automaker even created a new logo just for the Supra.

The Toyota Supra may no longer exist and even with reports of its revival bubbling in the surface for years now, we can always look fondly at the first-generation Supra and say "that’s where it all began."

Click past the jump to read more about the 1979 - 1981 Toyota Supra.

Only one year has passed since Nissan revived its Datsun brand by introducing the GO hatchback , and the Japanese manufacturer has just confirmed its return to the compact car segment (C-segment in Europe) with a brand-new vehicle.

Dubbed Pulsar, a name previously used for a line of compact cars sold in Asia and Australia since 1978 (not to be confused with the Pulsar NX sports car marketed in the U.S. between 1983 and 1990), the new vehicle is a five-door hatchback aimed at models such as the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus .

Nissan ’s recipe for the Pulsar is pretty much simple and includes an instantly recognizable design with styling cues borrowed from the Qashqai , small, turbocharged engine that deliver decent power and return attractive fuel economy, and a price tag that’s likely to put the hatchback below most of its competitors.

A big bet for the Japanese automaker in Europe, the Pulsar is basically insignificant to the U.S. market, with Nissan having no plans to ship it across the ocean. This might very well change depending on vehicle’s success in Europe, but we’re at least a couple of years away from a pertinent verdict. Either way, the Pulsar is a hatchback worth looking at, and that’s what we’re about to do after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan Pulsar.

In our most recent TopSpeed Podcast , Christian, Justin, and myself were asked the age-old question: If you had a reasonable amount of dough to blow on a sports car, what would you get? Well, we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a constant fantasy in our subconscious. The idea of a sporty car with generous power and an accessible sticker price would make any gear head salivate.

To that end, we’ve gathered a list of eight respectably sporty cars that can be picked up for under $20,000. The list includes a mix of foreign and domestic brands with coupes, convertibles, and even a four-door sedan. Of course, this is hardly an exhaustive list that includes every good sports car under $20K, but it’s a good start and will likely generate ideas for other cars if you’re in the market.

And like we said on the podcast, it’s always a smart idea to have a trusted mechanic give the car a once-over before fronting the cash. Even if problems don’t exist on your car in question, it’s always a good idea to know the typical problem areas of that particular model.

So without further rambling, click past the jump for our list of cheap kicks. Oh, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below. It might just get covered in the next podcast.

Click past the jump for our list of cheap kicks

Factory Five Racing has been a front-runner in custom kit cars and hot rods for quite some time, building replicas of cars long since out of production. The California-based company also designed and built its own complete car called the 818 using drivetrain components from a Subaru WRX. However, for the particular car pictured above, the drivetrain takes a completely new spin on performance.

Missing is the usual Subaru Boxer engine, replaced by a AC35x2 motor fed by a 16-kWh lithium iron phosphate battery constructed of two 8-kWh sub-packs. The motor and battery unit is still connected to a WRX five-speed manual transmission that allows for reduced energy consumption and management of the motor’s output.

Speaking of output, the motor zaps out 165 horsepower and 189 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. It might not seem like much, but the entire car will weigh just under 2,000 pounds – even with its body panels attached. Its claimed top speed is 150 mph, and though its still untested, the goal is likely obtainable.

Putting this electrified beast together are two other California companies that know a thing or two about building cars and electricity. EV West is undertaking installing and calibrating the air-cooled, Hi Performance Electric Vehicle Systems-sourced electric motor while the guys at 33 Machine work to incorporate all the components within the modified Factory Five Racing tube chassis.

In a video past the jump, the naked car squirrels around a test track with all the sidewise shenanigans of a V-8-powered muscle car, but of course is completely silent while smoking its rubber.

Click past the jump to read more about 33 Machine’s 818 EV


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