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.

Posted on by TB +  

The Chevy Sonic gets so little coverage from car magazines that it is easy to forget it even exists. Even the Chevrolet team does not seem too excited about the subcompact’s prospects with American buyers. Maybe that is why most of the official images are just renderings of the car inserted into picturesque backdrops via Photoshop…

If Chevrolet can’t be bothered to actually take its mini car to the desert for a photo shoot, why should buyers care?

There are a few reasons that the Chevrolet Sonic is storming up the sales charts recently to become the top-selling supermini in the U.S. for the last few months. Offered in five-door hatchback or four-door sedan body styles, the Sonic line is well-positioned in style, price and interior tech to overcome rivals, like the Hyundai Accent , Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta .

A new-for-2013 RS trim added lower gear ratios to help improve acceleration in the top 1.4-liter turbo engine guise. While relatively exciting versus the bread-and-butter LS, LT and LTZ trims, the 2014 RS deserves a review of its own – published in the near future so check back for more details.

The focus here is on the volume model sedan and hatchback Chevrolet Sonics with highlights of the new-for-2014 features and options.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic.

Posted on by Simona  

Audi is preparing to make a big step into the electrification of its lineup with the unveiling of its brand-new A3 e-tron. The model was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and will be put on sale in early 2014.

In case you have taken a little vacation under a rock for the last few years, Audi has been tossing around the e-tron designation since 2009. At the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Audi unveiled the first e-tron concept in the form of the 308-horsepower 2010 R8 e-tron .

Audi again dropped an e-tron concept in 2010 at the Detroit Auto Show with the A4-based concept that was rumored to see life in 2014. In concept guise, this model pumped out 201 horsepower and hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. This model, codenamed the 9X1, is supposedly under development and will hit production in 2014.

The e-tron line carried on with the A1 e-tron at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, which produced 101 horsepower. Then, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the 2011 e-tron Spyder stopped the show with its 296-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 TDI engine and 86-horsepower electric motors that sprinted the convertible to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Audi finally unveiled the first production e-tron model, in the form of the 2013 A3 Sportback e-tron.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A3 e-tron.

Posted on by Simona  

Fiat is further expanding the 500 lineup on the U.S. market with a new 500L version - more than one year after the car’s official debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show .

With the new 500L, customers will enjoy the same performance figures offered by a 2013 500 , but thanks to a total length increased by 27.7 inches, the 500L offers 42-percent more interior room.

The model adds two more doors and, thanks to its increased height and width, it will offer the best-in-class interior volume of 120.1 cubic-feet. Everything else remains pretty much identical to any other 500 model, but an extra segment-exclusive glass A- to D-pillars will provide nearly 360-degree panoramic views.

Fiat adds in the all-new Uconnect 5.0 and 6.5 touchscreen systems.

The 500L will be offered in four trim levels: Pop, Easy, Trekking and Lounge and will be priced from $19,100.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Fiat 500L.

For all of the supercars and exotics that have appeared throughout the “Transformers” movie franchise, director Michael Bay has also tossed a little love in the direction of compact vehicles.

Remember the Twins in their Chevrolet Sparks from “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen?”

For the fourth movie, Bay is bringing back some hot hatch love with the introduction of the Chevrolet Sonic RS as part of the new cast of cars for “Transformers 4.”

It might seem odd that the Sonic RS is joining a list that includes a Bugatti Veyron, a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray , a Lamborghini Aventador and a fully customized 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS .

But don’t sleep on the Sonic RS, because even though it doesn’t look anywhere near a supercar, it still has some attitude and its racing livery also shows its capabilities rubbing tires in full-fledged competition.

Maybe that’s why Michael Bay felt the Sonic RS had to be part of the “Transformers 4” cast. What it lacks in power and price tag, it more than makes up for in edginess.

Click past the jump to read about the Chevrolet Sonic RS

The Renault Clio GT 120 EDC is a tricky little car. On the one hand, you have to give Renault some credit for giving the car top-quality aesthetics and an aura of sportiness. That’s a pretty big deal, especially considering the market the car belongs to.

On the other hand, it’s not really all that powerful; at least not as powerful relative to the competition. That’s a pretty big deal, too.

So, when you’re caught between a rock and a hard place, you have to evaluate your options and determine what’s more important to you.

As far as our tastes go, we’re always looking for a car that can back up its sporty looks with performance numbers that’ll excite. The Clio GT 120 EDC doesn’t tickle our fancy that way.

But make no mistake, there’s still some admirable qualities about this car. It’s just that if given a choice, you can opt for a higher trim from the Clio range and get all that you want.

Click past the jump to read more about the Renault Clio GT 120 EDC

Posted on by Simona  

At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show Audi expanded its lineup with the addition of a new small, city car: the A1 . Initially offered in a three-door version, the model was soon followed by a five-door variant called the Sportback . Since then, the model remained basically unchanged, except the addition of some special editions, like the A1 Amplified .

The A1 measures less than 4 meters (157.5 inches) in length, making it the perfect car for today’s crowded cities. In fact, the A1 was already voted best-in-class by several German magazines. Despite its compact sizes, the A1 features powerful engines and an agile chassis making it the sportiest car in the segment. The A1 also offers enough interior room for five adults.

The A1 is offered with a choice of seven engines - four TFSI and three TDI units - all of them combined with start-stop system.

On the European market, the A1 is priced from €15,800 - roughly $21,000 at the current exchange rates. Unfortunately, the model is still not offered on the U.S. market.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A1.

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The Kia Forte5 is the forthcoming hatchback variation of last year’s new Forte sedan but packs some interesting and timely updates that make this one of the few hot hatches offered in the U.S. market. The highlights include a powerful turbocharged engine, sophisticated front and rear LED lighting, and a cabin with some boy-racer appeal via carbon-fiber-style surfaces and a six-speed manual box.

Let’s face it: hot hatches just aren’t sexy here. As much as our Euro counterparts get excited about the Fiesta ST , there’s a collective “huh?” in U.S. showrooms over the same car. It just seems too tall, too narrow and diminutive for someone to commit to years of payments. The Honda Civic Si is about as close to the recipe as possible and even this is only offered in staid sedan or also-staid coupe bodywork.

This is set to change with the new Forte5. The name is the dorkiest part: the style of low, crisp and wide proportions makes this car look more like a slammed Sportage or Cayenne than an econobox. The mechanical packages on the Kia show a half-step improvement versus corporate sibling Hyundai , with the turbo engine finally delivering some of the sportiness Kia says defines its products.

So where does the Forte5 site within the Forte line that also includes sedans and coupes? Right in that hot-hatch sweet spot, just moved a little further toward “cool” from the embarrassing current hatchbacks: the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Spark .

Click past the jump for the full review of the Forte5 ahead of its arrival in U.S. dealers at the end of summer 2013.

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The C-Max is Ford’s first Hybrid-only model and comes in two mechanical configurations: Hybrid and ‘Energi’ Plug-in Hybrid. Bringing the heat to Toyota ’s popular Prius and the Chevy Volt , the C-Max fills a solid gap in the marketplace among consumers who won’t settle for the other cars’ many limitations.

C-Max sales are ramping up steadily and the C-Max is on track to be Ford’s best-selling hybrid model of all time by the end of 2013, based on current year-to-date sales and projections. Granted, Ford has some major ground to make up versus the Prius lineups, which has topped 200,000 sales annually in recent years.

The first-to-market advantage of the Prius continues today with the model family taking 58 percent of the market share for hybrid-electric cars. Despite its utter dominance of the segment so far, there’s no reason that the Prius should set the template for all PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) or simpler full hybrids. As shown by the Tesla Model S , there really is a better way. Driving a hybrid shouldn’t have to mean total misery on the road. Would anyone choose a Prius if it didn’t get amazing mileage? No way.

Living somewhere between the Prius and Prius V models, the C-Max offers some real advantages versus its archrivals from Toyota .

Ford’s bringing its fun-to-drive C-Max to crash the dull Prius party. With more space and more family-friendly packaging than the Focus , but all of its enthusiasm for corners, the C-Max pair will continue to gain ground in the sales battle among eco-keen drivers.

Click past the jump for the full C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi review, detailed specs and jumbo image gallery.

Posted on by Simona  
Mini Cooper

A few days ago, we brought you some spy shots showing thenext-generation Mini Cooper wearing less camouflage than ever. Today, we get a good look at the Cooper S version to start stripping.

Our spy photographers caught the Cooper S testing on the public roads in Germany , and just like with the standard Cooper, it has started showing the front bumper, redesigned headlights, and the new taillight graphics.

The next Mini Cooper will be built on BMW’s new UKL platform that will also be shared with the next-generation BMW 1 Series and will be offered in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions. For the first time, Mini will offer a new family of three-cylinder engines, along with the usual four-cylinder ones.

The new-generation Mini Cooper will make its world debut in September at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show . For the first time, the Cooper will be offered in ten different body versions.

Click past the jump to read more about the next Mini Cooper.

In recent years, the mark for hyper cars has been 1,000 horsepower, which is completely unreal. Now, to achieve this insane output, mot automakers are strapping multiple-turbocharged V-8, V-10 or V-12 powerplants into their cars. For us normal folk that cannot afford these $1 million-plus cars, we have to perform some creative engineering to reach numbers even reaching the supercar standard of 600 horsepower. And most of the time, that includes a crate-engine swap.

Well, the folks over at Boba Motoring in Germany have a bucked the trend by squeezing an amazing 1,013 horsepower from an Mk I (1974 through 1983) Volkswagen Golf . It didn’t do so by dropping a nasty V-8 into a hacked up engine compartment; rather, it tweaked a 1.8-liter to this insane number. This KR 16-valve 1.8-liter, which was one of the many engines offered in the Mk II Golf, received some heavy mods, including: 144 mm (5.6-inch) long steel con rods; an 86.4 mm (3.40-inch) stroke crankshaft; an 80.98 mm (3.18-inch) bore; an updated intake with eight injectors powered by a KMS MD35 injection-ignition system; an 80 mm (3.15-inch) throttle body; an updated exhaust system; and a Garrett GTX4202R turbocharger that pushes through 4.25 bar (61.6 psi) of pressure.

The engine delivers the power through VW ’s 4Motion driveline and out to all four wheels. Not only is this beast powerful, but the 4Motion system assures a breakneck launch every time.

On top of all of that, Boba Motoring also managed to drop the Mk I Golf’s weight to just 900 kg (1,984 pounds), making this a true pocket rocket.

The light weight, massive power and awesome traction all deliver outlandish performance. This one-time throw-away car now hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2 seconds and 200 km/h (124 mph) in 5 seconds. The 1/4-incle is no contest, as it tears that apart in just about 8 seconds at 240 km/h (149.12 mph).

Click past the jump to see this beast running the dyno and out on its first test since the tune to 1,000 horsepower.

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