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.

The time is drawing nearer to when Apple’s CarPlay finally hits the streets in consumer vehicles. At the company’s recent 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, USA Today got an up-close look at the new in-dash iOS operating system inside a 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV. This in-car demonstration shows just how familiar the software is to the usual iOS-powered devices.

Interestingly, Chevrolet has not made an official announcement concerning when CarPlay would be introduced into its product lineup. Chevy is listed as a “committed partner” with Apple in bringing the software to market, but the automaker has yet to announce any word on what vehicles will receive the system or what the roll-out timeline looks like.

Though it is possible Chevy will incorporate CarPlay into the Spark and other models late into the 2014 model year, it’s more likely the new technology will debut for 2015. We’re expecting General Motors to make quite the hubbub about the news once things are all confirmed.

Chevy will be joined by Ferrari , Volvo , Hyundai , and Mercedes as the first crop of automakers to sell cars with hardware capable of running the iOS software. What’s more, from the video above, it appears the software will also allow owners to access tailored vehicle-specific menus. In the Spark’s case, it has a “My Chevrolet” application on its home screen.

For those with older vehicles, companies like Pioneer are developing CarPlay-compatible head units that work with nearly every vehicle. A 1965 Ford Mustang was on display at Apple’s WWDC to showcase the aftermarket potential.

Click past the jump for more about the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

The current Mini Cooper is no longer the small economy car that used to rule British streets beginning with the 1960s. Revamped under BMW ownership, the tiny vehicle that Mr. Bean used to haul armchairs and buckets of paint has grown into a fancy hatchback that’s not exactly affordable when packed with all sorts of amenities.

Nevertheless, the new Mini has become increasingly popular in the United States, where no less than ten iterations are available in showrooms. However, the German-owned company is expanding its lineup yet again by adding a five-door version of the familiar hatch , increasing the number of vehicle that have more than three doors to three. The other two are the Clubman and the Countryman .

The Mini Cooper 5-Door came a little later than expected, but it’s finally here to show off its longer body and additional rear doors. Longer and slightly taller than the regular three-door Cooper , the 5-Door’s main purpose is to satisfy customers that have been asking for a roomier Mini that provides easier access in the back and doesn’t feature bi-parting rear doors.

Set to go on sale in the summer of 2014, the Mini Cooper 5-Door is also an alternative to the Fiat 500L , as well as a thorn in the Clubman’s side.

Click past the jump to find out more about the 2014 Mini Cooper 5-Door

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

Mini has never built anything aside from countless iterations of the Cooper , but that could change over the next couple of years if the BMW board approves production of the Superleggera Vision Concept .

Showcased with great success at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este , the lightweight roadster was created in cooperation with Italian design house Touring Superleggera and a production version may arrive just in time to drag Mini out of its decade-long design hole.

Of course, the study borrows a few cues from the 2014 Cooper design language, but the overall approach is entirely different, with a new feel attached to it. It’s no longer feeding on the classic Mini , but relying on the same British heritage that spawned sports cars such as the Jaguar F-Type . The rear body fin, the low-cut windshield are there to tell us about a classic, sporty Mini that never existed.

Will these cool features make production? Probably not. But this concept car has huge potential and Mini has all the necessary instruments to take on a brand-new market. Because of its coolness and the possibility of production, we created a rendering of what we think this car may look like if it hits dealerships (above).

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mini Superleggera.

*Note: Above image is a TopSpeed rendering, not the actual Mini Superleggera.

Karmann has built more than three million vehicle for various automakers in its century-long history, but the Germans are mostly known for their cooperation with Volkswagen , for whom they assembled more than one million units of Beetle , Golf , Scirocco and Ghia models.

Although the partnership came to an end in the early 1990s and Karmann went bankrupt in 2009, Volkswagen is still paying tribute to its life-long partner by releasing limited-edition models of their compact vehicles. Last year, for instance, the Germans placed a Karmann badge and a few unique amenities on the Golf Cabriolet . In a similar fashion, they are now rolling out the Beetle Cabriolet Karmann, a special edition bug that celebrates the classic vehicles built by the Osnabruck company between 1949 and 1980.

Highlighted by a number of unique exterior features and near-luxury interior attributes, the Beetle Cabriolet Karmann is based on the "Design" equipment line, which includes a wind deflector and the Park Pilot parking distance monitor and can be ordered in any engine and transmission configurations. Engine options thus include anything from the 2.5-liter to the turbo 2.0-liter units, as well as the more frugal TDI Clean Diesel oil burner, while transmission offerings consists of a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet Karmann Special Edition.

The 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo is perhaps the most underrated and under-loved hot hatch on sale today. But I can’t seem to work out why. It takes the successful recipe utilized by names like GTI and Mazadspeed3 and adds a dash of Nissan flair. Sounds like fun to me.

Marketed as a crossover, the little Juke is the last car that anyone expected Nismo to fettle, but the results speak for themselves.

The car is basically pocket-sized, it is 16 inches shorter than a Honda Civic , but it comes loaded with a 197-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder, three pedals and six forward gears. That is more than enough grunt to make any enthusiast happy. You can pout all you want about the fact that the Mk VII GTI has 215 horsepower, but the current MK VI model only has 200 ponies, and it weighs more than the Juke to boot. The Juke will hit 60 in about 6.5 seconds, only a hair away from the Focus ST despite its 50+ horsepower advantage.

This little Nissan can hang with the big-boys, regardless of what that horsepower number says.

Read more about the 2013 Nissan Juke Nismo and see my video review below.

Audi has rolled out a suit-and-tie-dressed A1 Sportback at Worthersee , highlighting the enormous customization potential the German automaker is putting on its Genuine Accessories lineup. This particular A1 with Audi Genuine Accessories successfully combines a nice shade of black with splashes of yellow trim, creating a distinct two-tone look we rarely see from the A1.

Audi traditionally rolls out these kinds of products at Worthersee and its nice to see that the German brand still understands the importance of being a major presence in the annual event. The customized hatchback also shines a nice light on what’s possible when customers use Audi Genuine Accessories on their vehicles.

That’s the real good thing about being able to have a say in what your car is going to look like. A1 owners get a number of colors to choose from and you can style and trim it any manner you see fit. There might be some misses along the way, but as Audi has shown with this A1 with Genuine Accessories, there’s a lot owners can work with by taking advantage of the company’s aesthetic personalization program.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A1 With Audi Genuine Accessories.

We know Ken Block has sick drifting skills, but we didn’t know he was still as adept at smoking tires even with the lights turned off. The man famous for his Gymkhana videos definitely proved as much in this new commercial from Castrol Edge.

Block was joined by BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus, GP2 driver Adrian Zaugg, and DTM driver Mike Rockenfeller in this commercial. Together, all four drivers were given a unique challenge: drive their respective vehicles in complete darkness with only their headlights to put the company’s newest and strongest oil to the test.

The challenge looks simple enough until you realize how easy it is to get discombobulated by all the lighting effects, particularly the Laser Box that Block found himself in.

But true to their racing pedigrees, the drivers successfully pulled off all the stunts, capped off by Block doing his own drift tricks inside the Box. It’s definitely worth three minutes of your time, if only to see how Mr. Gymkhana himself manages to balance drifting his car while also enjoying that laser lights show.

Left without a proper compact after discontinuing the Skylark in 1997, Buick made a comeback to the segment by launching the Verano sedan in 2011. The vehicle quickly joined the Encore and Enclave crossovers in helping Buick’s growth in both the United States and China. In 2013, the Verano accounted for 20 percent of Buick sales in the U.S.

Although the current Verano is only three years old, Buick is already working on a brand-new model. The redesigned vehicle sits atop the same Delta II platform underpinning the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze and the Euro-exclusive Opel Astra . Naturally, the new Verano shares many of its internals with the latter.

What the Verano doesn’t share with the Astra, however, is its styling. Slightly longer and wider than its Opel -badged brother, the Verano benefits from Buick’s trademark front grille — now wider for a more aggressive grin — and borrows a few cues from the larger LaCrosse model. The spy shots that arrived in our inbox straight from Germany suggest the sedan is keeping its sleek profile, while gaining a prettier rear end, with the taillights biting more into the fenders.

Things are changing under the hood as well, where an all-new, turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-pot replaces the old 2.4-liter Ecotec unit. Word has it General Motors is also looking to share the Chevrolet Cruze’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel mill with Buick. The latter delivers 151 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque, while returning up to 46 mpg on the highway.

We expect the new Verano to break cover in late 2015 and go on sale for the 2016 model year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Buick Verano.

The media and prospective buyers have given Mercedes ’ new compact crossover — the GLA-Class — a lot of attention lately. And whenever there’s a new Mercedes like the GLA-Class , one can expect Brabus to start work on a tuning program for it. Like its past projects on other Mercedes vehicles, Brabus understands how to turn up the heat with its aftermarket programs. In this particular case, Brabus not only brings out the GLA-Class’ untapped performance credentials, but does so while looking classy and luxurious.

It’s hard not to love the GLA-Class, especially when an aftermarket company like Brabus gets its hands on it. The strikingly designed exterior that carries distinctive highlights showcases a GLA-Class that looks as comfortable in city streets as it is taking on some light off-road duties.

And don’t forget, Brabus always pays premium importance on giving its programs hefty performance increases and the GLA-Class is no different. Think the GLA-Class’ standard 208 horsepower is enough for Brabus?

Think again, fellas. Think again.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mercedes GLA-Class By Brabus.


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