hatchback

hatchback

  A hatchback is a type of automobile design, consisting of a passenger cabin which includes an integrated cargo space, accessed from behind by a hatch or flip-up window. Hatchbacks are also often called three-doors (two entry doors and the hatch) or five-doors (four entry doors and the hatch) cars.

In 2007, Honda rebadged its useful and popular Jazz model as the Fit and released it in America. Americans immediately took notice, as the unstable prices in fuel led us to start looking at smaller vehicles. What’s more, the debut Fit also had a massive 57-cubic-foot cargo area that no other compact hatchbacks could come close to. In 2015 — after a one-year break — the Fit returns with an all-new look, new cabin, updated engine, and a huge increase in rear-seat room.

I spent a week behind the wheel of the range-topping 2015 Fit EX-L — the first Fit to feature leather upholstery — and came away mighty impressed. The roominess was out of this world, the cargo area was incredible and the smattering of features were nice additions. As with most entry-level cars with leather interior, this was the sore spot in the whole thing. The leather seemed haphazardly slapped over cloth and hard plastic, leaving some fit and finish issues, and black leather is simply unbearable in the summer.

the real question is whether the iffy leather left a bad taste in my mouth or were the good parts of this compact hatch enough to make me overlook my problems with the cow hide?

Click past the jump to read my Driven review on the 2015 Fit and find out.

German manufacturer Volkswagen wasn’t the official car sponsor of the 2014 World Cup. That distinction belongs to Hyundai and Kia . But with Germany’s World Cup triumph over Argentina cementing Die Mannschaft’s fourth World Cup title in history, Volkswagen couldn’t resist getting in on all the celebration.

The company just couldn’t resist needling Argentina, could it? In a new ad promoting the new Volkswagen Golf , the company simulated the finals between Germany and Argentina using a bunch of Golf models to take the place of the players. Top Gear’s done something like this before so just go along if you recognize the setup.

Naturally, the Golf models with German flag liveries were the ones to come up on top and in the ensuing celebration, the commentator loudly exclaims "Goooooolll....f", a unique twist to the iconic play-by-play commentary of Univision. The commercial marries sports and the auto industry in a pretty cool manner.

Volkswagen beat its rivals to the punch with this one. Now we wait to see if Mercedes , BMW , Audi , or Porsche have something up their sleeves, too.

Nissan seems to be taking a play right from Tesla’s electric car playbook, as the automaker introduces its “No Charge to Charge” program. As the program’s name suggests, it allows new Nissan LEAF owners to charge their all-electric cars at any one of Nissan’s growing network of charging stations. Already live in 10 markets across the U.S., the 2,600 public charging stations and 200 quick charging stations will accept Nissan’s EZ-ChargeSM card.

Acting like a credit card, the EZ-ChargeSM card will give owners the change to fill their batteries, but without a bill at the end of the month. Nissan is planning to grow the network of quick-charging stations by an additional 500 units at Nissan dealerships, and local businesses and municipalities across the country. Those businesses and municipal partners will include those who’ve partnered with Nissan in key LEAF markets.

The EZ-ChargeSM card also opens up the nation’s leading five EV charging networks that include ChargePoint, Blink, CarCharging, AeroVironment, and NRG eVgo. The stations are accessible in the top-10 LEAF market across the country including the cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seat Seat tle, Portland, Oregon., Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington, D.C. The dealer network will then extend into another 15 additional EV markets outside those cities.

LEAF owners will be able to charge their vehicles up to 80 percent in roughly 30 minutes at the quick-charging stations. Obviously the conventional charging stations will take longer to charge a depleted battery.

Click past the jump to read more about the Nissan LEAF.

The Suzuki Swift debuted in 2000, but its roots stretch back to the debut of the Cultus in 1983, which was rebadged as the Swift in countries other than Japan. The second-gen Swift hit the market in 2004 and the third — and current — generation launched in 2010. Heading into the 2014 model year, the Swift receives a new SZ-L Special Edition that receives some fancy paint work.

Oh, look. It’s a Suzuki . More importantly, or at least in this particular instance, it’s a Suzuki Swift SZ-L Special Edition! Wait, this is a special edition model?

The term "Special Edition" is supposed to apply to something truly special. Unfortunately, the automotive industry is prone to abusing this term, so we are not surprised to hear that this "special edition" Suzuki isn’t really all that special.

This Swift SZ-L does have features that standard Swift models don’t have, so we have to give Suzuki some credit here. Suzuki is packaging the Swift SZ-L Special Edition by adding an exclusive two-tone metallic paint finish with a choice of either a Boost Blue or a Cosmic Black hue. Both colors come with a contrasting Cool White roof, not to mention a rear spoiler, and door mirrors.

And...that’s about it.

Click past the jump to read more about the Suzuki Swift SZ-L Special Edition.

The current-generation Honda Civic is enjoying great success in the United States, where it is offered in both sedan and coupe body styles, which are powered by gasoline, natural gas, or even a hybrid powertrain. On the other side of the Atlantic, however, the hatchback version of the Civic, which Honda has yet to bring Stateside, just had its cool factor enhanced by means of a menacing special-edition model.

Dubbed Black Edition and wrapped in a triple black exterior that would make a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner burst with anger, the new addition to Honda’s U.K. lineup is restricted to Great Britain, where it joins similar special-edition versions of the CR-V crossover and the Jazz hatchback (sold as Fit in the United States). Suddenly, it seems like the United Kingdom is a great place to be if you’re a Honda enthusiast.

But before we start feeling sorry for not getting it in the United States, let’s have a closer look and find out what the Civic Black Edition is all about.

Click past the jump to read more about the Honda Civic Black Edition.

Posted on by Austin Taylor  

Toyota , a known force to be reckoned with in the alternative-fuel automotive world, is releasing its zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, aptly named the FCV, in the summer of 2015. Limited to California initially, Toyota asserts an impressive 310-mile range. Also, the company has announced a partnership with FirstElement Fuels, to make refilling more convenient, with 19 new hydrogen refueling stations coming to the California area. Expect 100 stations in a decade’s time. Also, Toyota claims that re-filling will only take five minutes; significantly quicker than a recharge in a Tesla or Nissan leaf , also zero-emission vehicles.

Out here in California, the newest fad is always in the spotlight, and this new FCV should certainly turn a few heads and make people take notice. Also, being a zero-emission vehicle, it will be eligible for Carpool Lane access. And, hey, anything to shave a few minutes off an LA commute is invaluable. Take it from this Los Angeleno.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Toyota FCV.

BMW is currently working on a number of facelifts and redesigns for its current lineup, and the second-generation 1 Series is one of them. The updated compact is scheduled to arrive in dealerships for the 2015 model and, as the latest batch of spy shots we received in our inbox reveals, work is well underway.

Along with the regular model, which has yet to show its face on public roads, the facelifted 1 Series range will also include a slightly upgraded M135i . The refresh won’t bring many changes to the hatchback , which is scheduled to remain on sale for another three model years until the third-generation 1 Series arrives, but will help keep it fresh in the eyes of potential customers.

Only the front and the rear fascias of the M135i appear to have undergone surgery, and this pretty much explains why the vehicle spotted by our paparazzi is wearing very little camouflage. More changes will occur under the compact’s skin, where BMW will add a number of improved gadgets and more environmentally friendly engines.

Click past the jump to read more about the facelift BMW 1 Series.

When the BMW FAST , short for Family Active Sports Tourer, was first spotted testing in Germany back in 2011, it was believed the new vehicle is scheduled to reach showrooms by 2014. That didn’t happen and the FAST prototype disappeared for a while, only to resurface again in 2013. Now, the vehicle that’s set to create a new niche took German streets once again, hinting that BMW is indeed readying a production version of the Family Active Sports Tourer.

For those of you that are not familiar with FAST, it’s a vehicle destined to sit right under the BMW X1 , giving birth to a new crossover niche that blends the flexibility of an MPV and the sporty looks of the next-generation X1 . It will share the same UKL platform with the upcoming X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer and carries the same front-wheel-drive configuration. While BMW is still mum on the details, we expect the Family Active Sports Tourer to break cover in 2015 and go on sale for the 2016 model year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW FAST.

The Prius is the flagship of the environmental movement. Toyota ’s wonder child has dominated the world of hybrids since its introduction in 2001. As a man with petrol in my veins and a favorite cars list that includes names like Porsche and Lamborghini , the Prius should be the antithesis of all I love about motoring. With a focus on quiet and environmentally friendly transportation, the Prius has been branded as one of the worst and most uninteresting thing to drive in the world.

This is my first real experience with Toyota’s darling though, and I wanted to at least give it a fair shake. The model sitting in my drive is the Prius V model, the largest of the family and the least fuel efficient. It has a CVT, some batteries and only two pedals. After a week with this machine and more than 500 miles I learned a lot about it.

Was it the terrible car I had feared or did it turn out to be something else entirely? Hit the jump to find out.

Read more about my drive of the 2014 Toyota Prius V after the break.

It seems General Motors is not the only automaker busy recalling cars these days. German manufacturer Volkswagen has ordered U.S. and Canadian dealers to halt sales for about 800 units of its 2015 Golf and Golf GTI hatches, quoting front suspension issues. Sure, 800 cars is nothing compared to the millions of vehicles GM has to fix, but we’re talking about a brand-new and highly acclaimed model.

Although Volkswagen has sent notifications to stop 813 Golfs from leaving U.S. and Canadian dealer lots, 1,634 hatches affected by this problem have been already sold to North American customers. The stop-sale order sent to dealerships says the "front stabilizer links in the affected vehicles were installed with too little torque," which could cause them to come loose detach entirely, affecting the car’s steering, Automotive News reports.

According to Jalopnik, the German automaker plans to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the defect, meaning owners will soon receive a recall notice. The affected hatches will have their faulty front stabilizer links replaced at no cost to the customers. Volkswagen is not aware of any crashes and injuries as of 07/08/2014.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI.


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