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.

Vaeth continues to prove how much it loves working on Mercedes models. The German tuner has time and again created some of the best programs on the market. It’s easy to see why a lot of Merc customers who can’t afford to send their babies to Brabus opt for Vaeth instead. So here’s some good news for owners of the Mercedes A45 AMG ; Vaeth has built a program for the hot hatch, and it’s incredible.

One of the things we like about Vaeth is how it can create an impressive program without going too far with its kit. Some tuners are able to go that route but those programs are more about keeping with their personalities. Vaeth doesn’t do that because it sticks to function and purpose more than anything else.

The A45 AMG program is still comprehensive. It comes with aerodynamic updates, interior improvements, a new sports chassis, a new set of wheels, and of course, an engine upgrade.

But even with all those enhancements, the overall result doesn’t take away the A45 AMG’s hot hatch identity. That’s the mark of an aftermarket company that knows what it’s doing and doesn’t shy away from it just because others prefer style over substance.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes A45 AMG By Vaeth.

The Nissan Versa Note is the smallest and cheapest hatch you can get from Nissan . It was built to provide the highest level of space and equipment for the lowest possible price. The car has been a solid seller for Nissan in the past, but for 2014 it is all-new. A new exterior shape comes to the car , along with a fresh interior design and new gadgets that have been pulled from some of the much more expensive cars in the Nissan family.

With a new design, revised equipment levels, improved interior space and the promise even better fuel economy, the Versa Note is offering a lot. Has Nissan had to cut corners on build quality and refinement to hit a price target? Will the increased fuel economy come at the cost of driving fun?

I was handed the keys to a top-level model with every bell and whistle Nissan could throw at it. Would the cheap five-door win me over, or did Nissan drop the ball with its reinvented people mover?

Read on to see what we thought about the 2014 Nissan Versa Note.

The Smart ForTwo will never be mistaken as a fast and powerful car and everyone knows that speed really isn’t its selling point. Knowing that has actually led us to ponder one of life’s most important questions: why would Brabus , a bastion of aftermarket power and performance, waste its time on a ForTwo?

The German aftermarket company has actually worked on the ForTwo before so an answer to the aforementioned question is really irrelevant at this point. Apparently, Brabus likes the ForTwo enough to turn it into its own version of a pocket rocket.

Recently, our master spy photographers managed to take a handful of photos of the Brabus-prepred Smart ForTwo. It’s heavily decked in camouflage so its hard to make out the exact work the German tuner did on the small city car.

It’s still unclear as to how much power Brabus has in store for the new Smart ForTwo. Rumors are circulating that this ForTwo will receive close to 120 horsepower under its hood. That’s an incredible number for a car of this size.

The 2015 Smart ForTwo by Brabus is expected to hit the showroom floor sooner than later, but before that, we’re anticipating it to be unveiled in a major auto show, possibly at Geneva in March 2015.

Click past the jump to read more about the Smart ForTwo By Brabus.

We love Ken Block’s Gymkhana series like everybody else, but we have to admit, this new video may have topped them all. Yup. All six of them. This new video, which we assume is being prepared as its own series, is called Boobkhana. The name pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

In it, Block finds himself in Nagoya, Japan to perform a unique take of his famous Gymkhana stunts. But there is something different about this particular tire-screeching, smoke-creating run. Actually, there are two things different about it, or maybe even four depending on what you’re actually counting.

A lot of elements of Gymkhana are there, but as an added treat, Block invited a pair of, shall we say, "well-endowed" Japanese models to join him on his run. The two beautiful ladies are Rui Kiriyama and Yukie Kawamura and yes, they’re the obvious reasons why this video was coined “Boobkhana!”

The video pretty much shows you what it’s all about. Block performs his trademark stunts, spinning and screeching his Ford Fiesta through the course. But you can’t help but be a little distracted by his beautiful passengers and their "assets." Trust us when we tell you: it gets really, really distracting.

In the end, everybody got what they came for. Block stoked his adrenaline juices. Kiriyama and Kawamura were shrieking and screaming as they should. And we got what was offered to us, and then some.

Vauxhall is a largely unknown brand in the U.S., but it’s got a pretty big following in the UK. In fact, one of the brand’s most popular models is the Corsa supermini, a car that first broke into the scene back in 1982 as the Opel Corsa. The Corsa was actually called the Nova in its first incarnation out of fears that Corsa was too close to the word "coarser". It doesn’t exactly build up confidence that a model’s name sounds like a word that means "poor quality". Over time, Vauxhall finally adapted the Corsa name, beginning the supermini’s run that has lasted four generations. After years of bland facelifts and minor upgrades, Vauxhall finally welcomed the fourth-generation Corsa for 2015, complete with enough new features and new technology to make your head spin. Vauxhall also confirmed that it’s going to release a VXR variant of the Corsa. Good times all around!

Before diving into the Vauxhall Corsa, it’s important to remember that Opel and Vauxhall actually share the Corsa model. The two models are virtually identical except for the different company badges. The only difference is that the model is badged as a Vauxhall in the UK while Opel is used throughout Europe.

The Vauxhall Corsa is an incredibly popular model in the UK, routinely averaging over 83,000 units sold per year. That’s second only to its closest competitor, the Ford Fiesta . But here’s the catch: the Corsa was still getting strong sales numbers despite the fact that the third-generation model was in its last stages.

But with an all-new, fourth-generation model scheduled to hit showrooms for 2015, you can bet that more people will be clamoring to get a piece of the Corsa.

Is 100,000 units a year possible for the fourth-generation Vauxhall Corsa? We can’t tell you that right now, but all the signs seem to point to a resounding "yes!"

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Vauxhall Corsa

Launched in 1996, the first-generation Mazda2 had very little in common with the current supermini. More a minivan-like, tall hatchback with a boxy design, the Mazda2 , also known as the Mazda Demio, was offered with a couple of small-displacement, four-cylinder, gasoline engines that delivered 82 horsepower (1.3-liter) and 99 ponies (1.5-liter). The first-gen Mazda2 became a hit in Japan and was kept in production until 2002. The second-gen model brought major styling changes to the 2, but the company kept the tall, minivan-like design, while adding new gasoline engines, including a diesel. It was 2007 when the third-generation Mazda2 arrived and the compact started looking more like the supermini we all know today. The third-gen car is also the first Mazda2 to arrive Stateside, following its debut at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. After nearly eight years on the market, the Mazda2 is finally receiving its much-needed overhaul for the 2015 model year.

The supermini follows into footsteps of the Mazda3 and Mazda6 in design and technology, as it comes to life as a production version of the 2014 Hazumi Concept . Set to go on sale in Japan by the end of 2014, the Mazda2 won’t hit U.S. shores until 2015 (2016 model year). But until it does, let’s have a look at what the redesigned supermini has to offer.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mazda2.

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.


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