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.

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.


In the world of supercars , carbon-fiber body panels are old news and now carbon-fiber tubs are the new rage. Within the average car-buyer’s reach, carbon fiber anything is just about out the window. Well, Ford may have something to say about that in the future.

Currently Ford is working with the folks at Hightech.NRW to develop a carbon-fiber body panel development process that could revolutionize the construction of every car on the road. See, the reason carbon fiber is so expensive is because it takes many labor hours to build even the smallest piece. What Ford is working on is developing pieces in just a fraction of the time it currently takes, starting with constructing a Ford Focus hood in less than 15 minutes.

The main goal of this project is to ultimately reduce the weight of these panels by about 50 percent in an effort to lift fuel economy. A cool side effect of this process could possibly be the use of these panels on more high-performance Ford products, like the Mustang GT and the Ford Focus ST .

Ford’s plan is to lower the weight of its cars by upwards of 340 kg (749 lbs) by 2020. This would take a car like the Focus ST and suddenly drop its curb weight to as low as 2,300 lbs. That would jump it to an impressive-for-its-class 9.12 pound per horsepower. To boot, it would sharply increase its already stout 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

Now, are there really 700-plus pounds of weight to be dropped from the Focus ST’s body? Likely not, but that gives us an idea of the benefits that this fuel-saving measure can have on us performance junkies. Ford does not plan on these panels being ready for use any time in the near future, but eventually they should be a part of Ford’s complete lineup. With the automotive world being a copycat-heavy realm, all of the other manufacturers will likely follow suit quickly.

Click past the jump to read Ford’s press release.

So, maybe it was a money issue or a timing issue, but you held off on putting your deposit down on the limited-run 1M Coupe . Now, you’re likely kicking yourself as you realize just how popular it was and just how tough it may become to get your hands on one of the 6,331 of them in existence today. If you don’t feel like waiting for a reasonably priced 1M to hit the used market and really only care about the performance of the 1M and not the “official” name, German Tuner, TJ Fahrzeugdesign, may have the answer for you.

TJ Fahrzeugdesign, which translates out to TJ Vehicle Design, has released a tuning and appearance kit that will give your run-of-the-mill 1-Series coupe the look and feel of the 1M coupe. Actually, you will likely annihilate any 1M coupe on the street in this machine, thanks to four extra cylinders and loads more power than the stock 1M.

So how does TJ Fahrzeugdesign’s really stand up to the 1M coupe?

Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.

Source: Bimmer Today

Dodge really has a lot invested in the Dart compact car. So much so, in fact, that they’re releasing a new trim for the model, one they’re proud to announce as the most fuel efficient model in the Dart sedan’s range.

The trim is called the Dart Aero and it’s powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged inline-four engine that produces 160 horsepower and 184 lb/ft of torque. With these numbers in tow, Dodge proclaims the Dart Aero to return 41 mpg on the highway when it’s mated to a six-speed manual transmission and 40 mpg when it carries a six-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission.

As far as trim features are concerned, the Dart Aero comes with auto headlamps, projector headlamps and LED ‘racetrack’ tail lamps, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and electronic stability control.

Inside, the Dart Aero carries a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, air conditioning with micron filter, power windows and locks, and an 8.4" touchscreen media center and 7" TFT reconfigurable gauge cluster as added options.

Reid Bigland, CEO of the Dodge brand, explained the merits of the Dart Aero. "The all-new Dodge Dart is a groundbreaking vehicle, offering features and benefits never before offered in a compact car," he said

"The new Dart Aero builds on these attributes by combining a remarkable 41mpg with interior room of a mid-size car and class-leading technology, style and safety, for only $19,295."

The Kia Picanto is not a model you’ll find zipping through the streets of the U.S., but it has been a relative hit in developing markets, thanks to its low price, and even in the U.K., thanks to its stellar gas mileage. In the 2013 model year, Kia is releasing a series of “Originals” 3-door collection.

The most recent addition to this new collection of 3-door Kias is the all-new Picanto City. This model is, from the outward appearance, almost identical to any 3-door Picanto you’ll see frolicking through the streets of the U.K., but under the hood, in the wallet, and at the pump, it is much different than you would expect.

The U.K. super-mini segment is already overcrowded, so how well can Kia expect to do with this ultra-economic super-mini car?

Click past the jump to read our full review on the 2013 Kia Picanto City and find out how well it stacks up to the growing list of super-minis in the U.K.

That didn’t take long, did it?

Only days after Honda unveiled an updated version of their sports hybrid model, the CR-Z , the Japanese automaker has already enlisted the help of their in-house aftermarket company to give it added flair.

Mugen took the task and the result is a more aggressive and more powerful car that definitely gives the face lifted model some serious attitude.

Aesthetically, Mugen went and added new exterior components to the CR-Z, including a new carbon fiber bonnet, more aggressive fog lamps, a new carbon wing mirror, a large rear spoiler, modified bumpers and skirts, and a new set of 17" dark matte grey finished wheels.

Inside, the CR-Z was treated to new sports seats, new trim materials with blue accents and a boost gauge for the supercharger...

Wait, there’s a supercharger? Thanks to Mugen, there is!

So what happens when a supercharger kit is added to a 1.5-liter engine that produces 136 horsepower? Customers will be able to benefit from 40 extra ponies, netting them a total of 176 horsepower.

This Mugen-tuned CR-Z will only have 300 models built with each priced at £33,000, which is around $55,000 based on current exchange rates. Sales are expected to begin in November in Japan.

Volkswagen Concept BlueSport

Well, we guess not only good things can come out of car shows, as we often find out our fair share of bad news. The latest out of Volkswagen is a killer though. A model that we have been speculating on and that has been turned on and off more than a public restroom hand dryer is finally confirmed as D.O.A., for now. Sadly enough, this highly anticipated model is the Bluesport roadster .

The last we heard of the Bluesport was when Ulrich Hackenberg, VW’s head of R&D, told EVO that the Bluesport project was alive and well , despite rumors of its demise. He even went as far as to place a roughly £30,000 price tag on it.

After an interview with Autocar at the Paris Motor Show, Hackenberg said that there is “no business case” and “we didn’t find a market for it” in reference to the Bluesport, tossing a bucket of ice on all of our hopes in the process. In the same breath, however, Hackenberg also made it clear that this isn’t the end of the Bluesport, but rather just a suspension until the market shakes loose.

The reasoning Hackenberg gives for suspending it is to avoid the death blow, which is an outright rejection of the project by upper management. He made it clear that if a market open up for the Bluesport in VW’s lineup it will be quick and easy to install it and get things rolling.

So for now we just have to accept the fact that Vee-Dub will continue on without its sporty roadster for the foreseeable future. As always, we’ll keep a close eye on this one, as Volkswagen is a tricky lot sometimes and could pull a complete 180.

Source: Autocar

We saw the first rendition of the Golf BlueMotion Concept about five years ago and it was impressive, boasting a 62.8 mph rating and emitting just 119 grams of CO2 per km. We then got a look at the second-gen model in 2009 with its 74.3 mpg and 99 g/km of CO2. Here we are at the 2012 Paris Auto Show and Volkswagen has the third generation BlueMotion Golf ready to show off.

Volkswagen really has something to prove in the mpg department, as it is one of only a handful of automakers available in the U.S. that has openly protested the new CAFÉ standards. VW has attempted to make it clear that its reasoning behind protecting the standards is not because it doesn’t want to build fuel-efficient vehicles, but rather because it feels the yearly improvement numbers are skewed to making it easier on American car and truck manufacturers.

Well, here stands a chance for VW to truly prove that it is all in on saving us money at the pump. So let’s have a look at what Vee-dub-ya has served up.

Click past the jump to read our review on the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion Concept.

The Toyota Auris Touring Sports unveiled at the 2012 Paris Auto Show is not only the first station wagon model in the Auris line-up, but it is also the first estate version in the family car market with a full hybrid powertrain. It will go on sale in early 2013.

The new Auris Touring Sports continues the same design language revealed by the Auris Hatchback in early 2012, except that it is 285mm longer and will of course offer increased luggage space. Just like the five-door hatchback, the new estate version will be offered with "Skyview," one of the biggest panoramic sunroofs currently available on the market.

The Toyota Auris Touring Sports will be offered with a choice of two diesel engines – 1.4d and 2.0d – and two petrol engines – 1.33 and 1.6 - as well as Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports.

Renault sent us for a loop at the 2012 Paris Auto Show by revealing not only the standard version of the new generation Clio , but its RS version as well. This isn’t exactly sports car material, but the RS does get a 200 HP 1.6 turbocharged engine (hence the name "200 Turbo"), which is a vast improvement over the standard model’s 120 HP capability.

When compared to a standard Clio , the RS version will be distinguished by the usual Renault sport elements, including a unique grille and spoiler, new front and rear bumpers, wide-set LED daytime running lights, sill extensions, and 17-inch wheels.

The completely new 1.6 turbocharged engine is coupled with the EDC dual clutch transmission and paddle gear changes. The engine will deliver a total of 200 HP and 177 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm. Peugeot will announce the engine’s performance numbers in early 2013 when the test drives are in session.

The new Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo will go on sale in 2013.

UPDATE 02/13/13: Renault has officially announced a base price for the Clio RS 200 in France. Check out how much it’s going to cost and the conversion rate in USD after the jump.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo.

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