> 
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.


We’re getting a good dose of what Ford has in store for us at the upcoming SEMA Auto Show . We already saw their Fusion models and now they’re presenting us with five custom Ford Focus ST models to digest.

The Tanner Foust-tuned Focus was already previewed to us. Now, it’s the turn of the fine folks from Bojix Design, who, incidentally are no strangers to the lights of SEMA. Bojix Design’s Focus comes with a European flavor to it, highlighted by a two-tone black and orange color scheme with some hints of carbon fiber applications added in for good measure. These carbon fiber components can be found on various spots in the sports hatchback, particularly the roof and on the hood. There are also some graphic decals on the sides of the Focus, adding a little bit of flair to the overall program of the sports hatch.

Rounding out Bojix Design’s comprehensive program is a body kit, a new sports suspension system, and stronger brakes.


There’s something about the SEMA Auto Show that makes automakers put on their cool hats and work on existing models with an added touch of flair. In the case of Hyundai , they’re definitely doing some serious leg work this year.

We already saw a preview of their Cosworth-tuned Hyundai Genesis . Now, they’re presenting a program for their resident sports hatch, the Hyundai Veloster .

Called the Velocity Concept, the car was born as a project between Hyundai’s design and engineering arms from its Technical Center in Irvine, California and the fine folks from Cosworth, who also took the time to fit the Veloster with its 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Cosworth also added stouter rods and pistons, improved the cooling system and the engine’s air flow, and most importantly, upgraded the turbo, betting an improved output of 400 horsepower and 350 lb/ft of torque.

As for the body kit, Hyundai took the liberty to add a #1 Racing motif exterior to go with a Velocity HATCI Design body kit that includes front and rear braking airflow ducts, a lift-reducing rear diffuser, an integrated front splitter, an aero side skirt lip, an oversized rear wing spoiler, and a new set of 19" HRE P40 lightweight satin-charcoal wheels.

Inside, the racing changes are also pretty evident, particularly the addition of new Sparco seat belts, a roll bar, a Race-Keeper Video GPS data acquisition system, and custom Katzkin suede interior with custom Raven and scarlet themed suede with red stitching.

Chris Chapman, Hyundai’s head of design at the Irvine design center, describes the Velocity Concept as a testament to the company design center’s unique ability to build custom-tuned racers. "In creating Velocity, we were inspired to take the Veloster’s original concept strengths to their fullest expression," he said. "[The] Velocity gave our design and engineering team’s license to take Veloster far beyond everyday production car limitations."


Renault just unveiled its all-new Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo road-going car in Paris and we all knew it was in for big things. Well, now we know exactly what plans Renault had for it, as the French automaker has announced that a racing version, the Clio Renaultsport Cup will be offered for competition in time for the 2014 British Touring Car Championship.

The Clio Renaultsport Cup will feature an Oreca Magny-Cours-tuned 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-banger that pumps out a stout 220 horsepower and 270 Nm (199 pound-feet) of torque mated to a 6-speed sequential gearbox via an AP Racing clutch. The power is delivered to the wheels via a limited-slip differential. Buyers can opt for a paddle-shift interface, if they desire.

Bringing this high-performance Clio to a halt are 320 mm (12.6-inch) AP Racing front rotors, which are squeezed by quad-piston calipers. One-way ZF-Sachs adjustable dampers are on the corners with custom-built aluminum wishbones. Also on the corners are 17-inch Speedline Corse alloy rims, wrapped in performance rubber to keep the Clio glued to the track. Keeping up with the times, Renault will fit the Clio Cup with a data acquisition system integrated into a color TFT screen, so the driver can pull all of his race data immediately.

The body boasts a large rear spoiler that puts down about 40 kg (88.2 lbs) of down-force at 125 mph, helping keep the tires on the ground at high speeds. The press car is draped in white with checkered livery, but we figure you can snag up the Clio Renaultsport Cup in a variety of color schemes.

There’s no mention of pre-installed safety equipment, so we are left to assume that this is something that you need to install to fit whichever racing series you choose to run the Clio Renaultsport Cup in.

This awesome racer will be ready for delivery in the UK in September 2013, so we have a while to wait. You’ll need all of that extra time to save up the whopping €37,800 (about $49,286 at the current rates), plus VAT, attached to this hot hatchback.

Click past the jump to read Renault’s presser.

Once the home of MTV’s Pimp My Rides, Galpin Auto Sports is considered a legend in the American aftermarket scene. So when a show like SEMA rolls around, you can be pretty sure that the folks from Galpin Auto Sports will be on hand to be a big part of all the festivities.

For their program on the Ford Focus ST , Galpin Auto Sports claims that the rally-ready race car is "equally at home slinging mud or cruising the boulevard.”

Bold statements, if you ask us, but one that Galpin Auto Sports can definitely back up. The aggressive body kit, complete with a large rear wing, a roof scoop, and various other components seem to suggest that there’s a racing attitude to this bad boy. Galpin Auto Sports also added a eye-catching paint scheme, a modified coil-over suspension, a new set of green wheels and mirror caps, larger brakes, and an upgraded interior, further illustrating that their program for the Focus ST means serious business.

Last but certainly not least, Galpin Auto Sports also added a methanol injection system on the sports hatch’s 2.0-liter turbo engine, resulting in a car that’s not only fun to drive, but also looks like a rally car that can hold its own anywhere, whether its at home slinging mud or cruising down the boulevard.

After all, Galpin Auto Sports wouldn’t settle for anything else.

UPDATE 12/31/12: New photos of Galpin Auto Sports’ program for the Ford Focus ST has surfaced. Check out the updated gallery by clicking the photos below!


When Dodge introduced their new Dart , they also announced that a total of 150 Mopar parts would be available to further customize it. At the 2012 SEMA Auto Show, the company wants to offer their customers an idea of just how much customization can go into this compact hatchback with a demonstration of these accessories in their Carbon Fiber Concept.

As its name suggests, this Dart Concept has received a very cool carbon fiber hood and a carbon fiber, three-piece rear decklid spoiler. It is painted in a very cool charcoal grey combined with a Mopar satin black front chin spoiler and a Mopar satin black body kit. The concept sits on a new set of 19" wheels combined with silver brake calipers.

Dart’s standard grille has been replaced with a new Mopar grille, while the light smoke headlamps and tail lamps accentuate the sleek feel. The interior features the same dark matte finish of the exterior, with the coolest addition being the new Katzkin leather seats.

Volkswagen Polo R-Line

Volkswagen’s compact hatchback positioned right between the Up! and the Golf – the Polo – is all set to put on its big-boy pants. That’s right; VW is giving the Polo the “R” treatment. No, we’re not talking about the “R-Line ” treatment, which is little more than some aesthetic changes. We mean the balls-to-the-wall high-performance “R” treatment, much like what the Golf is getting .

The details on this model are not yet complete, but we do know that it will borrow the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine from the outgoing GTI mk6. VW will then punch up its horsepower to the 225-pony range and ship it to the front wheels – no AWD option. According to reports, the Polo R will bolt to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds and give it a 150 mph top speed, making it extremely quick for its class. Sure, the Focus ST will smoke it, but it’s a step under the Focus’ class.

Much like the Polo R-Line, the Polo R will feature some extra ground effect and larger rims to give it a sportier look, but the complete details on the exterior are not yet known. We also expect the suspension to be lowered and the brake system to be upgraded, giving it better handling and braking to better work with the 45 extra ponies.

According to reports, the Polo R is all set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013. Rumors are also afloat that the Polo R will hit European showrooms in mid 2013, but there is no confirmation yet. Of course, the Polo will not be offered in the U.S.

We expect to see the Polo R to go head-to-head against the Renault Clio RS and the Peugeot GTi, which each feature a 197-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine. Depending on the weight difference, this could give the Polo R a significant advantage.

We’ll add more information to this review as VW releases more details.

Image Note: All images are of the Polo R-Line

Mini Countryman WRC

The Mini Portugal team, along with its WRC partner, Prodrive, actually started off pretty well in the 2012 WRC season, but things turned sour for the MINI rally team following its breakup with said partner. Following the March split, Mini never reached the podium again. Though the 2012 season is not quite finished, Mini has announced that it will withdraw from the World Rally Championship following this season.

In all honesty this really comes as no surprise, as Mini is thought to have only raced as a factory sponsored brand this year to get WRC homologation. Why is that so important? Well, this means that Mini now can sell its rally cars to private racing companies, make profit, and have zero racing overhead. This was all backed up by Dr. Kay Segler’s statement “By the end of the season WRC Team Mini Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the Mini John Cooper Works.” Well, don’t make it too obvious that you played the system, fine Doctor…

In all honesty, this is just one of the necessary evils of the racing world, as car manufacturers simply want all of the free advertising at these events without any of the corporate responsibilities. So in all honesty, we can’t fault Mini for its obvious using the rather loose WRC homologation rules.

With the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car pumping a wild 300 horsepower and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque from its little 1.6-liter Bimmer engine, we doubt that MINI will have any issues selling it to private teams. Since 2011, the rally Mini Portugal team made it to the podium three times and had its biggest success in the January 2012 running of the Monte Carlo Rally when it finished 2nd.

We’ll keep an eye out to see if any private teams select Mini as its WRC car.

Click past the jump to read Mini’s presser.

Alfa Romeo Spider

Everyone is expecting Alfa Romeo ’s long-rumored return to the US market in 2014 after almost 20 years of absence. This return is part of a large revamping of the brand and its alliances with Fiat, Chrysler, and Mazda. Now, we’re learning that this comeback with bring four new models to the U.S.

The first will be the new Giulia sedan - Alfa’s competitor for models like the Audi A4. The upcoming Giulia will be built in the USA so it will share most of its components with the upcoming Chrysler 200, including the Pentastar V-6 engine.

Next, there will be the long rumored compact crossover SUV that will be built on the same platform as the upcoming Jeep Compass. The model will be manufactured alongside the Jeep in Belvidere and will be offered exclusively with Chrysler engines.

The third stop on Alfa Romeo’s return to the U.S. will be the most important one in many people’s eyes: the 4C Coupe and Roadster . The 4C will arrive in the US one year after the Giulia and will be powered by a 1.8 liter turbocharged engine that delivers a total of 296 HP.

The final model that will grace U.S. soil is the rear-wheel-drive Duetto sports car. If this name doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry, many know it as the Spider . This new sports car will be built in Japan and will share its chassis with the next-generation Mazda Miata. The upcoming Duetto will be powered by a longitudinally mounted turbocharged 1.8-liter engine delivering about 170 HP.

Source: CarAndDriver

In 1992, the S4 was both luxurious and rather powerful, considering its 2.2-liter 5-cylinder engine pumped out a stout 227 horsepower. By today’s standards, those numbers are pretty much average for a 5-cylinder engine – the handful, or so, out there. So the last thing you would classify this aging Audi is supercar fast. Well, that is until you have a look at Jeff Garner’s heavily modded S4.

This beast’s 2.2-liter 5-banger has had more work done than an aging actress trying to make a comeback. It now pumps out a mind-blowing 1,100 horsepower to all four wheels via the Audi’s classic Quattro system. Jeff uses this massive powerplant to run the S4 at the Bonneville Salt Flats each year and last year he managed to hot 242 mph – an impressive number itself.

This year, however, Jeff was aiming for the stars and got pretty close; as he hit an astounding 260 mph. Soak that up for a second… That’s faster than a Bugatti Veyron and pretty much every other factory car on the market today. In fact, reports are pointing that this may be the fastest sedan on record.

Even better, there is now a two-part video of this awesome run. You can see part one above and part two is after the jump.

Simply awesome!

More Woes for Suspended Lotus Boss, Dany Bahar

We all know that Lotus has a lot of issues, but there has never been any confirmation of exactly how much trouble Lotus is really in. After DRB-Hicom requested a delay in tax payments to the Inland Revenue, people started looking a little closer.

According to reports, Lotus has about £30 million (roughly $48 million at the current exchange rates) in overdue debts to various suppliers. £23 million (roughly $36.8 million) of this debt is 90 days overdue and £7 million (roughly $11.2 million) of it is between 30 and 90 days overdue. Here comes the oddest of claims by DRB-Hicom; a source close to the company says that the blame for the overdue payments is related to prior management ::cough::Dany Bahar::cough::.

Okay, Bahar has been gone since late May and that means that DRB-Hicom has had full control of Lotus, and its bills, for over five months now. We will gladly give Bahar a lion’s share of the credit for taking one of the greatest sports car companies and flushing it down the toilet, however, we cannot put the blame on him for bills that are now three months overdue.

This issue falls directly on the plate of DRB-Hicom and the CEO it appointed to run Lotus, not Bahar and not any other previous management. Sure, previous management may have spent money that it didn’t have carelessly, but you have had five months to figure out how to pay the bills, so deal with it.

DRB-Hicom may start rethinking the £1 offer it received several months ago. That’s a small sum of money to hand someone a debt-burdened and troubled company… We’ll keep an eye out for more on this situation.

Source: PaulTan.org

Back to top