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.

Jaguar Land Rover has been really working on its in-car technologies these days. Remember all the fancy self-learning software inside those Land Rovers in this video? Well, Jaguar is showcasing its own set of dashboard wizardry in the upcoming 2016 Jaguar XE with this swanky video.

With the help of animated parts exploding outward for detailed views, Jaguar’s Global Connected Car Director, Mike Bell, takes us on a tour of what we can expect from the upcoming luxury car .

The Jaguar XE will be the first of many Jaguars featuring the automaker’s "InControl Touch Infotainment system" that integrates many advanced features through an eight-inch touch screen in the dash and Jaguar’s new Plain Speech Voice Control system. The infotainment software will seamlessly connect with both Apple and Android devices for in-car integration of certain applications. An in-car Wi-Fi hotspot allows multiple devices to access high-speed Internet.

Also present is an optional laser-projected heads-up display system that shows information over the entire width of the windshield including driving directions, vehicle information, and even road sign recognition. Of course a premium audio system will be featured; this one coming from Meridian.

Protecting all this valuable technology and the entire Jaguar XE will be the InControl Protect and InControl Secure systems with the former allowing for SOS emergency and Jaguar Assistance calls to be placed without the need for a cell phone in the car while the latter allows authorities to track the vehicle should it become stolen.

Overall it seems Jaguar Land Rover is working hard on becoming the leader of in-car technology and smart phone integration. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on this gadgetry when it debuts in late 2015.

It’s a real shame Seat doesn’t offer its vehicles in North America. We’re aware the U.S. doesn’t need the Leon hatch and station wagon — essentially re-bodied versions of the Volkswagen Golf — but we wouldn’t mind driving or having the possibility of buying the Leon SC Cupra 280. With 280 ponies and 258 pound-feet of twist at its disposal, this Spanish-built hatch is one hot machine. So hot that it became the first front-wheel-drive car to lap the Nurburgring in under eight minutes.

Will we get it in here? Hell no! As much as we’d love for that to happen, it makes no sense for Seat to ship its models across the pond. Making things even more frustrating beyond the fact that Europeans get to toss it around, is that the British market has just gained a performance option for the hot hatch. Dubbed "Sub8 Performance Pack," the bundle adds a massive brake improvement to the Leon SC Cupra 280, while a set of new high-performance tires enhance the hatch’s track capability even further. Oh, the agony!

Click past the jump to read more about the Seat Leon Cupra 280 Sub8 Performance Pack

Famous for dropping more horsepower and torque in nearly every available Volvo model, ranging from the small C30 hatch to the V60 wagon, Polestar just added a new vehicle to its high-performance lineup. This time around, the Swedes got a hold of Volvo’s V60 D6 Plug-in Hybrid wagon, turning it into a more powerful, yet still fuel efficient vehicle. Unlike other Polestar-tweaked Volvos, the hybrid wagon comes with minor, barely-noticeable exterior changes. On the flip-side, the powertrain updates are obvious enough to to make the package appealing to those in need of more horsepower and torque.

Polestar’s major achievement with the V60 D6 Plug-In Hybrid is that, although the wagon is slightly more powerful and quicker, mileage and CO2 emissions remain the same. That’s just about any driver’s dream and it says a lot about the company’s vast experience with Volvo engines. As expected, Polestar only touched the vehicle’s diesel engine, leaving the electric motor in its stock form. Read on to find out why the V60 D6 is the most powerful diesel model wearing a Volvo badge.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volvo V60 D6 Plug-in Hybrid by Polestar.

Launched in 2012 for the 2013 model year, the Mazda CX-5 is one of the newest crossovers on the market. Sharing its platform with the smaller Mazda3 and Mazda6 sedans, the CX-5 was Mazda’s first vehicle featuring the new KODO design language and the company’s SkyActiv technology. Available in North America since 2013, the U.S.-spec CX-5 is offered with two engines. The base, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder generates 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, while the 2.5-liter, four-banger is rated 184 ponies and 185 pound-feet. A six-speed autobox comes standard on three of four trims, while the FWD entry-level model is equipped with a six-speed manual. In Europe, Mazda is also selling a diesel version, powered by a 2.2-liter, inline-four that delivers as much as 173 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Coming into 2015, roughly three years since its debut, the Mazda CX-5 is received its first mid-cycle facelift.

Although the CX-5 is far from being old and still enjoys great success in the U.S. market, the Japanese automaker decided some nips and tucks are necessary in order for the crossover to keep up with its competitors. Changes are anything but wild, but customers will enjoy a couple of significant exterior updates.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mazda CX-5.

The Hyundai i20 was launched in 2007 as a three- and five-door hatchback to sit between the i10 city car and the i30 compact. The i20 replaced the aging Hyundai Getz on most markets, but it didn’t make it to the United States, where the Korean manufacturer sells the slightly larger Accent hatchback instead. Underpinned by an all-new platform developed by Hyundai Europe, the first-gen i10 was available with a wide range of inline-four engines. The gasoline units displaced between 1.2 and 1.6 liters, while the diesel mills came in 1.1-, 1.4-, and 1.6-liter sizes. Output began from 74 horsepower and topped 126 ponies in the more expensive trims. Moving into the 2015 model year, Hyundai is finally introducing the second-generation i20, a completely redesigned hatch meant to spur the company’s presence in Europe’s crowded B-segment market.

Scheduled to be unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October, the 2015 Hyundai i20 was also developed at the company’s European technical center in Germany. Likewise, the second-generation supermini won’t make it across the Pond, where we will have to settle for the fourth-generation Accent, which is already a four-year-old model.

Although the Paris Motor Show is still a couple of months away, Hyundai has released preliminary photos and details of the redesigned i20. Read on to find out more about the second-gen compact.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Hyundai i20.

Launched for the 2011 model year, the Chevrolet Volt is GM’s first volume plug-in hybrid vehicle. Also sold as the Holden Volt, Vauxhall Ampera and Opel Ampera around the world, the five-door compact has already won numerous awards, including the 2011 North American Car of the Year. The most advanced version of the Volt uses a 17 kWh battery that enables it to return a range of 38 miles in all-electric mode. The electric motor, which delivers 149 horses and 273 pound-feet of torque, is aided by a 1.4-liter, inline-four gasoline engine. The conventional unit sends 84 ponies and 67 pound-feet to the front wheels. Both "generators" use a multi-mode electric transaxle to propel the vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds and up to a top speed of 100 mph. Combined fuel economy sits at 62 mpge, while gasoline range is rate at 40 mpg highway and 35 mpg city. Come 2015, the current Volt is being replaced by a redesigned, second-generation vehicle.

Rumors about a second-gen Volt arriving for the 2016 model year have been floating around for more than a year now. GM has finally confirmed the new Volt is being readied for 2015 Detroit Auto Show debut. Currently the best selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S. market with more than 65,000 units delivered, the 2016 Volt has big shoes to fill. Details are slim as of August 2014, but GM has dropped a few hints about the upcoming Volt in the past. Read on to find out more.

Updated 09/29/2014: Chevrolet unveiled the first teaser image and new Volt debuts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

Citroen’s collaboration with Benefit Cosmetics has produced some sweet DS 3 special edition models since the two companies decided to team up in December 2013. The one-off pink DS 3 was such a hit that it spawned an immediate successor in March 2014 inspired by Benefit’s "They’re Real!" mascara line. Then in July 2014, a third special edition DS 3, the DS 3 DSign Noire, was launched at the "Fast and Fabulous" race weekend at Silverstone. Now here we are, the fourth DS 3 collaboration between Citroen and Benefit Cosmetics has been unveiled. This time, the car is taking its design cues from yet another one of Benefit Cosmetic’s products: the ’Stay Flawless’ primer. I’m not sure exactly what a primer does, but I do know that the DS 3 DStyle by Benefit looks completely at home with its predecessors.

This particular DS 3 Cabrio comes with plenty of exterior and interior styling cues inspired by the San Francisco-based cosmetics company. I can best describe it as a stylish infusion of feminine pizazz and the Bay Area’s hipster vibe.

That’s a pretty slick combination if you ask me. Altogether, the DS 3 Cabrio DStyle by Benefit retails for £18,745, which is about $31,500 as of 8/5/2014.


Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Citroen DS 3 Cabrio DStyle by Benefit.

Much like the Mini Cooper , the Fiat 500 evolved from a tiny economy car into a full lineup of vehicles incorporating various body styles and engines. Crossover -like four-doors, sporty two-doors, and fuel-sipping diesels are some of the versions Mini enthusiasts did not see coming half a century ago. Same goes for Fiat , which is about to unveil the 500X , a small crossover aimed at the Mini Countryman and the Nissan Juke . More specifically, the 500X is the Italian version of the 2015 Renegade, Jeep’s smallest vehicle yet.

Built on the same platform as its American brother — yes, we know the Renegade is actually assembled in Italy — the 500X replaces the Fiat Sedici in Europe and joins a lineup that includes the 500 hatch, 500C, 500L, the peppy 500 Abarth , and the all-electric 500E. Based on a concept vehicle shown in 2012, the 500X is expected to debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show and cross the pond to North America for the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Until then, let’s have a look at the latest batch of spy shots we received in our inbox.

Click past the jump to read more about the Fiat 500X.

I had once the privilege of driving a buddy’s Audi S3 . It was a few years ago and while my memory’s admittedly hazy of the circumstances behind it, I do remember feeling a little woozy after that encounter. The S3’s a powerful little sucker that much I can tell you. I can only imagine how the S3 would feel like with this aftermarket program from MTM on the table.

The German tuner has a history of bringing out the best in Audis . Whether its the A1 or the R8 , there’s probably an MTM program for it. This time, though, it’s the S3 that takes the spotlight, thanks to a measured tuning upgrade that doesn’t pull any punches.

Don’t expect any aesthetic improvements here. MTM built the program with power and efficiency in mind so it’s all meat, bones, and all that dirty stuff under the hood. The good news is that the tuner’s kit will be available across all variants of the S3. Whether it’s the saloon, cabriolet, sportback, there’s enough MTM love to go around.

All together, an MTM-tuned Audi S3 will cost €62,000, which is about $83,000 based on the exchange rates on 8/4/2014. The kit itself retails for €13,000 ($17,400) so you can have the choice of paying just for that, or for the entire thing, S3 included.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi S3 2.0 TFSI quattro By MTM.

The venerable Corolla has been a mainstay in Toyota’s U.S. lineup since its introduction in 1968. Toyota’s longest-running nameplate has undergone numerous alterations over the years, but has always remained a stalwart of the compact sedan segment. In 1997, the Corolla surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle as the best selling nameplate worldwide. That tradition continues today with the updated 2014 Toyota Corolla .

I recently spent a week getting to know a Corolla equipped in the LE Eco trim — the Corolla’s most fuel-efficient trim package. Equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, electronic power steering, skinny tires, and a Continuously Variable Transmission, the Corolla earns an EPA economy rating of 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway, and 35 mpg combined.

Coated in a deep Evergreen color, the Corolla did a great job at keeping its fuel-conscience end of the bargain. My weekly total average topped just over 31 mpg, besting the Corolla’s EPA city rating. A light throttle and careful driving quickly saw the average increase on slower highway jaunts, making the EPA’s estimates seem obtainable.

The Corolla proved to be a reasonable yet rather tossable set of wheels during its week stay, though there were a few quibbles about NVH.

Click past the jump for the full review of the new 2014 Toyota Corolla


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