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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.

Posted on by Ciprian Florea +  

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.

Posted on by Ciprian Florea +  

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.

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

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.

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

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.

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

Volkswagen is getting dangerously close to creating what I would call the "perfect car." In this latest set of spy shots from our great photographers, we have what appears to be a Volkswagen Golf R Wagon. That means the same 300-horsepower, turbo four-cylinder engine, AWD and six-speed manual transmission from the Golf R with more space in the back for your milk, eggs, produce, soccer balls or whatever else you need to haul. It should also be available with the six-speed DSG for those who are allergic to the third pedal.

If you are sad that Subaru has killed the WRX hatch and the Outback XT, it looks like Volkswagen is coming to your rescue.

We have very little information about this car, and this prototype has shown up out of nowhere, but it’s very unlikely that this machine will hit US shores. Wagons don’t do well here, and high-performance hatches don’t do very well either. So, creating a combination high-performance wagon is basically a sales disaster in here in the U.S.

That said, Volkswagen, I would love you eternally if you would actually bring such a machine to the United States. Please.

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

Always leave it to Mini to offer some pretty zany add-ons as part of its new Original Accessorites line. In line with the arrival of the third-generation Cooper , Mini is taking its personalization to a whole new level with new design concepts for the exterior and the interior of the vehicle. Sure, the usual roof graphics, mirror caps, and floor mats are still there, but those now fall under the new Mini Design Lines, called Vivid Green, Speedwell Blue, John Cooper Works Pro and Essential Black.

If emphasizing the distinctive character of the new Mini is the objective of these new Original Accessories, then by goodness, the company succeed in doing that. If its not enough that these accessories reflect the youthful spirit of Mini, the add-ons are precisely matched in design and color.

Whether its Vivid Green (youthful and fresh look), Speedwell Blue (sporty flair and tradition), John Cooper Works Pro (passion for racing), or Essential Black (understated and elegant design), each of the four new Design Lines are about as unique to each other as they can get.

So when you want to dress up your new Mini, pay careful attention to what these new accessories, as they all will surely spice up your Mini with new door sill cover strips, exterior and interior mirror caps, roof and side graphics, side indicator surrounds, key lanyards, protective covers, among other things.

You can check out all of the insane options that the Mini Cooper has to offer in the Mini Configurator. It’s also a great way to waste a few hours of time!

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Cooper Original Accessories.

The Nissan Juke is one of those cars that you either love or hate. There’s no in-between when talking about this baby. Fortunately for the Juke, it belongs in a market where the word "style" seems to have taken a vacation, so by default, it already has a leg up on the rest of its rivals. Looks aside, the Juke also has a nice engine to fall back on that is highlighted by 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, which makes it one of the highest in its segments.

There’s something about the Juke and the way its packaged that makes us wonder whether Nissan was trying to make amends to this particular segment after introducing the world to the Cube , a ratchety-looking lump of steel that a lot of people hope never to see again.

So give credit to Nissan for taking the leap with a more dramatic crossover that doesn’t lack in aesthetics.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Nissan Juke.

World-record attempts always a pose a risk, especially when speed is added into the equation. By way of his job, French daredevil Guerlain Chicherit knew the dangers involved, but that still didn’t stop him from attempting to break the world record for the longest car jump. Unfortunately for Chicherit, not only did he not break the record, he ended up on the wrong end of a spectacular crash.

Using a heavily modified Mini Cooper , Chicherit was trying to beat the record of 101.91 meters set by Tanner Foust back in 2011.

The record attempt, which was held in Tignes, France , actually got off to a good start and he even got some good air underneath it. But from watching the video, it looked like it got a little too much air, causing the nose to dip around the time the car was about to land.

The Mini proceeded to slam nose first before barrel-rolling a number of times, much to the horror of those in attendance — and everyone of us who have seen the video.

The good news is that Chicherit is doing well, suffering only minor injuries from what was a major crash. Here’s to hoping he gets well soon!


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