Compact Car reviews

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2020 Audi SQ3 / RS Q3

2020 Audi SQ3 / RS Q3

Small, tall, and quick as hell

Audi first kicked off production of the Q3 luxury subcompact crossover in 2011 for the 2012 model year, following it up with a series of refreshes in 2014 and 2015. Also offered as a pair of tuned versions from Audi Sport GmbH under the SQ3 and RS Q3 nomenclature, it looks as though the Four Rings is gearing up to release a second generation for the go-faster Q3’s, as evidenced by this series of spy shots showing a black-and-white test mule out and about for some apex huntin’ at the Nurburgring.

Update 5-17-2018: The Audi SQ3 \ RS Q3 was just spotted playing around on the Nurburgring and little has changed but our photographers have reported some new information. Check out our update section below for all the details.

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2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Driven

2018 Subaru Crosstrek - Driven

I see a lot of the Subaru Crosstrek. After spending a week behind the wheel of one, I finally understand why they’re so numerous in my area despite the fact there’s no Subaru dealer nearby.

The Crosstrek proved itself equal parts practical, efficient, and rugged during my weeklong test drive. It’s fitting that Subaru does so much advertising targeted at dog owners. The Subaru Crosstrek was as lovable as a golden retriever, as ruggedly handsome as an Alaskan malamute, and as stoic as a Weimaraner in the face of difficult conditions.

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2018 Audi Q5 L

2018 Audi Q5 L

Adding inches in extra interior space for the Chinese market

Audi first began production of the compact Q5 luxury crossover in 2008, with the latest second-generation model dropping in 2016 at the Paris Motor Show. Now, there’s a new long-wheelbase iteration, which just debuted at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show to offer Chinese buyers enhanced cabin space and more comfort.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Audi Q5 L.

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2018 Nissan Kicks - U.S. Spec

2018 Nissan Kicks - U.S. Spec

Kicking out the compact crossover jams

Without a doubt, the SUV and crossover market is still running strong, prompting every automaker under the sun to fill their lineups to capacity with fresh tall-riding hatches in a bid to satisfy the public’s seemingly never-ending demand. Nissan is no different, offering U.S buyers no less than six different models in the segment, including the Juke, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Murano, Pathfinder, and Armada. Unfortunately, lovers of the funky and fun Juke won’t see the compact on the roster for much longer, as rumor has it Nissan is showing it the door in 2018. However, in its stead, Nissan will offer something fresh – enter the Kicks. The Kicks is Nissan’s very first new nameplate in 8 years, arriving as a new entry-level model in the Japanese automaker’s lineup with more room and a lower price tag than the Juke. It’s also got some nice technology, both for entertainment and for safety purposes.

The Kicks is already on sale in South America, but arrives stateside more or less unchanged in the hopes of enticing urban consumers, or as Nissan puts it, “singles or couples looking for unique styling, roominess, personal technology, smart functionality and advanced safety features at an affordable price.” So – how does it stack up?

Updated 05/08/2018: Nissan announced prices for the 2018 Kicks. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Nissan Kicks.

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2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA

2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA

The second-gen model is well on its way to being production ready

Mercedes previewed the CLA-Class with the Concept Style Coupe, then a year later showed up at the Detroit Auto Show with the very first CLA-Class – a new entry-level model and the true baby of the Mercedes lineup. It’s essentially as CLS sized down a bit but features that trending four-door coupe body style that we’ve had to get used to. With that said, the CLA has been around for a while now, and 2020 will be the mark for the second-gen model to hit the market. That means it will debut in 2019, but that doesn’t matter because we’re already getting a good look at it now, and it looks very much like its bigger brother, the CLS. It will ride on the same platform as the new Mercedes A-Class and will even get the same engine lineup – including a pair of over-powered and brawny-for-their-size AMG models.

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2018 Hyundai i20

2018 Hyundai i20

Say goodbye to diesel and hello to technology

Hyundai first introduced the i20 in 2008 at the Paris Motor Show and brought the second generation to market in 2014. Framed as a B-segment, FWD supermini, the i20 is an affordable, small, practical transportation solution, offering decent gear and loads of space inside. Now there’s a refreshed model, and it’s bringing an updated line of gas-powered engines and some of the latest safety tech features.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Hyundai i20.

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2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback - Driven

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback - Driven

Adding some extra spice to the recipe

Toyota first introduced the Corolla nameplate way back in 1966, and since then, an incredible 11 generations have come and gone. The latest twelfth-generation broke cover in March of 2018 at the Geneva Motor Show, and with it, Toyota unveiled a fresh hot hatchback iteration that promises more fun thanks to sporty suspension tuning, a rev-happy 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an available six-speed manual transmission, and snappy good looks.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

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2019 Ford Focus ST

2019 Ford Focus ST

Likely to arrive by the end of 2018

After seven successful years on the market, the third-generation Ford Focus was replaced by a brand-new hatchback. Although it’s too early to say whether the new model will be as successful as its predecessor, it has many features to brag about, starting with a new platform that will underpin several Ford vehicles in the future. It also boasts a sportier exterior, new tech inside the cabin, and a revised engine lineup. With the standard Focus on its way to dealerships as of 2018, it’s time to talk about the RS model. The performance-oriented model might arrive by the end of the year and rumors and renderings are already making headlines on the internet.

Ford’s very own competitor for the all-popular Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Focus ST will benefit from all the cool features of the new Focus, but it will receive a few extra features inside and out. The sportier exterior with more aggressive cues will be joined by an exclusive interior, while its engine will provide the most power in an ST model yet. Until the next-generation Focus RS arrives, the ST will sit at the top of the range in terms of performance and pricing. Let’s take a closer look at what we already know about this car in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Ford Fiesta ST.

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2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan

New name, same subcompact

The Toyota Yaris (alternatively known as the Echo) first arrived in 1999, but it didn’t head stateside until 2007, with a second generation debuting for the 2012 model year. Framed as an entry-level subcompact, Toyota says the latest refreshed model seeks to combine “efficiency, fun, comfort, and safety all at a reasonable price.” Previously titled the Yaris iA, the four-door is now simply called the Yaris sedan, and it brings a charming attitude and a decent list of equipment for a reasonable price tag.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan.

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2019 Ford Focus

2019 Ford Focus

The new Focus succeeds where the last models have failed

The Ford Focus has finally entered its fourth generation, and it brings a lot of change in terms of design, comfort, and economy. It comes complete with a largely revamped interior and loads of new technology; not to mention a range of new engines that are more powerful and more efficient. As usual, the new Focus will call Europe (and China) home first, before coming to the United States for the 2019 model year.

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2019 Toyota RAV4

2019 Toyota RAV4

A crucial next-gen update for Toyota’s CUV icon

Originally arriving in 1994, the Toyota RAV4 is one of the Japanese brand’s older nameplates, especially within the crossover segment. In the quarter century since the debut of the original RAV4, demand for crossovers has grown substantially, and sales of the compact Toyota have grown with it, eventually becoming the Japanese brand’s number-one seller in the U.S. However, the RAV4 last got a redesign in 2013, so to keep it fresh, Toyota just pulled the sheets on a new fifth-generation at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, bringing updated exterior styling, a redesigned interior, the latest safety tech, and a new architecture under the skin.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Toyota RAV4.

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2018 Ford Fiesta Active

2018 Ford Fiesta Active

More ground clearance, rugged looks

After almost 10 years on the market, the sixth-generation Ford Fiesta was finally discontinued in 2017, making way for a brand-new model with a fresh and sportier design. The new Fiesta also brought new technology on the table, as well as revised engines and an ST model powered by a three-cylinder unit. Come 2018 and Ford added a new member to the Fiesta family, this time around in the form of a crossover-styled model called Active. The Fiesta Active joins the Ka+ Active, a similar version of the smaller Ka+ hatchback launched earlier in 2018.

Designed for a small niche that used to include the Volkswagen CrossPolo — a model that is no longer available — the Fiesta Active will share the market with the Hyundai i20 Active. Essentially a hatchback with increase ground clearance and crossover-style cladding, the Fiesta Active is aimed at customers who want the benefits of crossover but still need a compact car that’s easy to drive and park inside the city. A bit more rugged on the outside, the Fiesta Active shares its technology and drivetrains with the standard hatchback, although certain differences are noticeable in every department. But more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta Active.

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2018 Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line

2018 Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line

Still not coming to the U.S.

The Touareg and Tiguan have been so successful in their first years on the market that Volkswagen decided to expand its crossover lineup with at least three new models. One of them is the T-Roc, and it’s the company’s smallest SUV until the T-Cross arrives. Built on the ubiquitous MQB platform, the T-Roc slots under the Tiguan and it’s related to the Audi Q2 and Seat Arona. Developed to compete with popular subcompact crossovers like the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Toyota C-HR and many more, the T-Roc is now also available in R-Line spec, Volkswagen’s top trim outside the GTI and R models.

Now available on a wide range of cars, the R-Line package is both sporty and stylish, creating a unique look that you can’t get with the usual options. This is available for the T-Roc too, which gets sportier bumpers front and rear, while a the body-colored elements from the sides and around back make the crossover look less rugged. It’s a bit far-fetched to say that the T-Roc R-Line is more elegant than the standard model, because not many SUVs are, but I must admit that the small SUV looks really well with body-colored side skirts and rear apron. As usual, the engines are shared with the standard model, but Volkswagen added a bespoke suspension setup for a sportier ride. Let’s find out more below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen T-Roc R-Line.

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2019 Mazda CX-3

2019 Mazda CX-3

Mazda’s mini-SUV got a nice little update!

When Mazda introduced the CX-3 for the 2016 model year, it was received quite well on the market thanks to its striking design, attractive interior, and fairly powerful drivetrain. There were a few gripes to be had, though, and that’s why Mazda decided to usher in a mild update just three years into its lifecycle. These updates include new exterior lights, redesigned wheels, updated center console, a new electronic emergency brake, and even new armrests. Mazda even tweaked the CX-3’s SkyActiv engine to squeeze out just a little more power. We’re not sure if the CX-3 will get an official mid-cycle update in the next year or two as previously prescribed but if it doesn’t the update for 2019 should be enough to keep it standing tall until the next-gen model comes into play.

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