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.

For 2015, 10 years after its introduction, the Toyota Yaris is getting its second restyling with revised looks inside and out, a quieter cabin, a fuel-efficient engine, and all the versatility that comes with the three- and five-door versions. The U.S.-spec Yaris debuted in 2005 with lots of spunk and clever packing wrapped in an inexpensive sub-compact. Offered in both the three-door and five-door hatchback styles, the Yaris filled a niche near at the bottom of Toyota’s lineup. Refreshed in 2011, the Yaris continued its mission largely unchanged, save for a more modern design. Now for 2015, Toyota is improving the Yaris with more refinement and a better driving experience, while still retaining its superb value proposition. Starting at just $14,485, the Yaris makes a great city car or a sweet first car for a teenager. Its 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder will keep curious teens out of trouble with Johnny Law, while the expansive cargo area and decent back seat might land them in trouble with mom and dad.

Toyota has resolved a few of the complaints that plagued the previous-generation Yaris, namely the NHV levels inside the cabin. More sound insulation and more premium interior materials help push the Yaris’ feel upmarket, while it still keeps its low price point. With three trim models and two body lengths to chose from, the Yaris is a pretty customizable hatchback .

With the updated features and added benefits, Toyota may see the Yaris climb back up the sales charts to the level of its glory days in 2008 when sales of the hatch topped 100,000 units. Selling only 21,343 units in 2013, the Yaris was apparently in desperate need of a makeover. Let’s see what Toyota has done to turn up the heat.

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

The Volkswagen Golf has succeeded in ways very few of its contemporaries have. It’s in its seventh generation for crying out loud! That’s more than what other models can say for themselves. Ever since it was released in 1974, the Golf has built a reputation as the godfather of the modern-day sports hatch. But even with its age, the Golf is still a strong presence in the hatchback market, so much so that the model is still turning heads wherever it goes. The 2015 Golf TDI is the latest in a series of new Golf models that are now available in the market. Yes, it’s got a diesel engine but it’s a new diesel engine. That counts for something.

It was also the recipient of aesthetic tweaks that makes its design fit for the times. Some might even say that the Golf looks better than ever before, which is about as big of a compliment as you can give to the hatch that most people believe blazed the trail for its kind.

Click past the jump to read more about 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI

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.


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