compact cars

compact cars

  Compact car is a largely North American term denoting an automobile smaller than a midsize car, but larger than a subcompact car. Compact cars usually have wheelbases between 2.54 metres (100 inches) and 2.67 metres (105 inches). Another definition specifies between 100 ft³ (2800 L) and 109 ft³ (3000 L) of interior volume.

Since the new Acura RDX made its market debut in the the 2013 model year, the SUV has become a popular one for customers, posting 22 straight monthly sales record as of February 2014. For the 2015 model year, the RDX packs most of what made it such a desirable model, including with the same V-6 engine that nets 270 horsepower and Acura’s innovative Technology Package.

While other models look better than the RDX, there is a certain amount of appeal to the SUV’s rather no-frills character. The all-business look lends to its strong and fuel efficient V-6, and when you add all the standard equipment put into the RDX, it usually translates to strong customer appeal and, in turn, high volume of sales.

Acura’s hitching its wagon to the belief that the popularity of the RDX will remain for the 2015 model. It’s a precarious position to be in, but for the most part, the company is adhering to the "if it ain’t broke, why fix it?" adage.

The RDX has been successful far so there’s little reason to believe that it can’t do it again, at least for another year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Acura RDX.

Mini owners, pack your bags, get your car serviced and then get your butt to San Francisco; the Mini Takes the States road rally is back! This biennial event is the largest official Mini road rally covering 18 states, 15 cities and more than 5,000 miles. The trip will begin on Saturday July 26 in San Francisco California and will end two full weeks later on Sunday August 10 in Boston.

Along the way, you will get the chance to see much of our great country as the journey winds West into Colorado, then cuts south into Texas. From there you head towards Memphis, Tennessee and up to Chicago finishing with a northern detour to Buffalo, NY and finally arriving Boston. There are several more stops scattered through the middle as well.

While the cost for the trip will be what you make of it, Mini has thankfully made the entry and registration fees decidedly affordable at $45 per person with kids under 12 and all pets being freebies. If you decide that a 14-day cross-country vacation is not quite your cup of tea, Mini happily invites you to join for any portion of the festivities you prefer.

Whether you own a Cooper Hardtop , Clubman , Countryman or any other member of the Mini brand, join in and have fun.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Takes The States Event.

Oh there are some really, really savvy spy photographers out and about these days and this time they caught the mother of all shots. The Barracuda has been an on-and-off venture for Chrysler for some time now, but we now have proof — via these exclusive spy shots — that it will debut this year at the New York International Auto Show in April. What’s more, it’s nothing like any of us imagined it would be...

We so happen to have a little "birdie" that works in the printing department at a large monthly automotive publication, and he noticed that the "boss man" was making sure only a select few saw the inside of this magazine. When he happened across a stray copy, he was as shocked as we are to see that the Barracuda will return not as a muscle car , but as a rebadged Dodge Dart .... sigh.... Our dreams are now crushed.

He managed to whip out his cell and snap off a few quick pictures, and this was the clearest one he could get, as he worried his boss could come around the corner at any second. We cleaned it up a bit by changing it to black and white, as the colors were a little messy from the poor lighting.

According to our source, the Barracuda features the same Fiat Compact platform as the Dart and Chrysler 200, but with some extra performance goodies. On top of the images, he scanned the page for as much information as he could absorb, and managed to catch that it will feature turbocharged four-cylinder with somewhere in the 250-horsepower and 260-pound-feet range, and that it will debut in New York this year. Unfortunately, that is all the information he could grab in the short amount of time he had alone with the stray mag.

Though the image is blurry, he described it as "a Dodge Dart with SRT aero mods and rims, and a dark grille." He couldn’t tell if it was an SRT model or a Plymouth , but the chances of Chrysler bringing back Plymouth for just this one model are slim to none.

So there you have it folks; Fiat has struck again by releasing another Chrysler icon from the muscle car years as a front-driven sedan, a la the Dodge Dart. We’ll go bury our heads in the sand until the NYIAS is over...

Update 4/1/2014: In case you haven’t figured it out just yet, this is a figment of our crazy imaginations here at the TopSpeed offices. Our rendering artist extraordinaire put a modified Dodge Dart on the pages of some random magazine, blurred the text a little and pasted in a Barracuda emblem and even a swimming barracuda in the background for the added "cheesy" effect. Thanks for playing along, we’ll be here all night; make sure to tip you waiters and waitresses...

Everyone expected the all-new Audi TT to arrive in its usual coupe and roadster body styles for 2016. Some even entertain the idea of Audi building a shooting brake version of the car — something like the Audi Allroad concept pointed to. But no one seemed to anticipate Audi’s next potential direction for the TT — a four-door coupe-like family sedan.

According to Audi Technical Chief Ulrich Hackenberg, the automaker is “looking to see if there is more we can do [with the TT],” he says. “[The company] is working on future derivatives of the TT. Could the TT be extended as a family car?” If you have a look above at our rendering, it is really not too bad looking.

It’s well known that Audi is planning a massive expansion of its product lineup, increasing from the current 49 models to 60 in the not-so-distant future. Creating a TT derivative makes sense from a planning perspective, at least. While the new TT will likely be a hit, the TT’s sales haven’t exactly been stellar in recent history, selling only 18,353 units in 2013.

What is selling, however, are premium compact cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLA , rising 24 percent in Europe last year according to JATO Dynamics. Stretching and adding two extra doors to the TT would instantly create a CLA-fighter and help offset development costs for the TT coupe and roadster. Both cars would target the same ‘affluent under-40s’ crowd.

Perhaps the biggest question Audi will have to answer is how a four-door TT affects sales of the newly refreshed A3 sedan — a car that essentially already fills the compact luxury family sedan niche. Like the CLA in relation to the C-Class , Audi could produce similar products with unique personalities designed for sales in highly specific market categories.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi TT.

With a little more than two months left until the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil, the folks over at Mini are gearing up for the big sporting event — or should we say April Fools’ Day? — with the Paceman GoalCooper special edition.

Based on the John Cooper Works Paceman, the GoalCooper pays tribute to Brazil’s national soccer team by wearing a body wrap that combines the green, blue and yellow colors adorning the aforementioned country’s flag.

Inside, the football (err, soccer)-related theme continues with Astro Turf floor mats in a color the company calls Brasileiro Green, a similar mat to cover the entire cargo space when the rear seats are folded and a miniature table football set mounted on the center rail.

Additionally, a "floodlight" LED interior lighting package, a net attached behind the front seats and universal holder for smartphones give the GoalCooper "a stadium like feel" that fervent soccer fans are likely to enjoy.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Paceman GoalCooper.

2013 was an exceptional year for Buick . GM ’s mid-level luxury brand sold a little over one million vehicles, posting a 15-percent increase over the previous year and its best annual figures yet (the previous record goes back to 1984). It’s true that about 80 percent of deliveries reached the Chinese market — only 222,138 units were sold to North American customers — but Buick’s uptrend is a reality that even the most fiery naysayers can’t deny.

With only five nameplates on the table, the brand’s performance is even more impressive. The key ingredients to Buick’s successful recipe for 2013 were its crossovers, the Encore and the Enclave . The ever-growing compact SUV segment and China’s appetite for foreign luxury helped pave the way for both vehicles, but especially for the Encore.

The Opel Mokka-based crossover’s sales surpassed all prediction in its first full year on the market, with nearly 100,000 examples making their way into people’s driveways. Sure, it’s nowhere near the BMW X1 ’s 150,000+ figure, but the Encore is proof enough that Buick’s struggle has finally come to an end.

Having been shipped to showrooms beginning the first quarter of 2013, the subcompact SUV is as fresh as it gets. Naturally, Buick’s updates for 2014 aren’t abundant, but the Encore continues into a new year with a few new safety and convenience features.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Buick Encore.

If you listened to the Episode 004 of the TopSpeed Podcast , you’ll know that we all love the idea of Volkswagen creating a Golf R Wagon. While there are plenty of questions we don’t have answers to - will it be sold in the US, will it get more power to make up for the extra weight, will it even be affordable, etc. – one thing is certain, Volkswagen is making sure it will be blast to drive.

Just after we got our first spy shots of the Golf R Wagon sitting still, we now have photos of Volkswagen blasting this thing around the Nurburgring. Yes, that Nurburgring . Talk about having confidence in your cars.

If you missed the first post, the new Golf R Wagon will essentially just be a stretched version of the new Golf R . That means it gets motivation from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that is good for about 300 horsepower, and power is sent to all four wheels through Volkswagen’s trick Haldex-based AWD system.

Be careful not to drool on your keyboard. We hear it can cause electrical issues.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R Variant.

As we inch another day closer to its official debut, we have gotten even more spy shots of the all-new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. As the most powerful and fastest version of the C-Class , this machine is going to go head-to-head with machinery like the new BMW M3 , the upcoming Cadillac ATS-V and the Audi RS5. Mercedes needs to get this one right.

This is our clearest look yet at the new sedan, and things are shaping up nicely for Benz in the style department. Except for some heavy cladding over the front intake vents on the bumper, we can see basically every curve and crease of the new bodywork. In true Mercedes-Benz fashion, it is just aggressive enough to separate it from the rest of the C-Class family, but not quite as wild or outlandish as something that Subaru might make.

There are subtly flared fenders, larger wheels and brakes, plus a more aggressive front clip. The rear is fitted with a quad exhaust setup as well. If you have a sharp eye, you will also notice the small rear spoiler integrated into the deck lid.

Despite the C63 name, this AMG will not get the mighty 6.2-liter V-8 that powers the current car. It will instead be replaced with a 4.0-liter V-8. Expect the car to debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and that new V8.

Jay Leno’s garage is never short on amazing vehicles with loads of historical or performance pedigrees melded into every component. But Jay’s latest guest car is a vehicle with loads of future potential for the mainstream market, though it’s not much to look at.

Starting with a stock Euro-spec Ford Focus , the folks at Ricardo replaced the car’s standard 2.0-liter Duratec inline four cylinder with a 1.0-liter I-4 with a few tricks up its sleeve. The engine features a regular turbocharger, along with an electric supercharger in a setup much like the McLaren P1 . (Ricardo helped develop the battery management software for the P1) Designed as a torque fill, the supercharger is powered by electricity stored in super capacitors. Once the driver hits the gas, the supercharger responds within 200 milliseconds, providing boost until the turbo spools up. Once the turbo is pressurized, the supercharger is turned off.

A belt-starter generator running off the engine powers the super capacitors. And because the 1.0-liter is has a stop/start feature, the capacitors also power the belt-starter generator to restart the engine.

Perhaps the two most impressive aspects of the HyBoost system are its efficiency and overall cost. The old 2.0-liter engine averaged around 32 mpg, but the HyBoost improves on that by an impressive 47 percent – meaning the new powertrain achieves roughly 47 to 50 mpg and nearly 60 mpg highway. Then there’s cost. Somehow, Ricardo is potentially able to include this system in a car for roughly $1,100 over its original sticker price.

Though the powertrain is more efficient, it hasn’t given up any performance over the larger 2.0-liter. The setup makes 143 horsepower at 5,500 and still runs the same 9.2-seconds to 60 mph.

We wouldn’t be surprised to find this technology making its way into products in the next few years. As Jay points out in the video, nothing on the car is break-through technology. All the components were pre-existing, so it’s proven technology and should be easy to manufacture.

Looking decidedly more aggressive than the standard model, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer M Sport proves that with all the additions coming from its new M Sport package, you can turn the 2 Series Active Tourer into something that actually resembles an actual BMW .

To be fair, it’s not really the 2 Series’ fault that BMW wanted to extend its line to include a big hatchback that doesn’t do much in the way of exciting us. But the release of the M Sport package goes a long way in actually improving the 2 Series Active Tourer’s appeal and if anything, the vehicle needs it.

The most important part of the M Sport package is the M aerodynamics package. Notwithstanding all the handling benefits that the aero pack provides, the fact that it makes for a sportier and more aggressive look is enough incentive for customers to add on this package.

Customers can also have their vehicles dressed up in an exclusive Estoril Blue finish to complement all the M badging the car will have. If you didn’t know this baby was M’d up, the constant reminder of those badges on the side will remind you that this isn’t a normal-looking 2 Series Active Tourer.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer M Sport.


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