Compact Car reviews

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2021 Mercedes-AMG B45 by Brabus

2021 Mercedes-AMG B45 by Brabus

The already-hot AMG 45 S hatch receives more power and component upgrades from Brabus

Brabus builds are quite expensive at the onset, but there’s no denying that they’re fun. This time around, the aftermarket company has laid its hands on the Mercedes-AMG A45 S. The Brabus build of this hatch is more than just a remap. The car comes with part upgrades under the hood, new wheels and tires, an upgraded suspension system, and a few changes inside the cabin.

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2021 Cupra Formentor by ABT

2021 Cupra Formentor by ABT

Here’s a powerful version of a performance-oriented crossover SUV by ABT

Spanish automaker Seat revealed its performance-oriented brand Cupra a couple of years back. The cars look good, come with a load of niceties, and of course, are strong performers. But, no amount of power or mods are ever enough and that is essentially what’s keeping the aftermarket companies running.

ABT Sportsline, the company which is known to work on Audi cars, and by extension, Volkswagen products, is here with its own version of the Cupra Formentor – a subcompact crossover SUV. The ABT Formentor comes with new wheels, a power boost, and a new exhaust system that makes it a different beast.

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2021 Abarth 595 Hercules Wide Body by Pogea Racing

2021 Abarth 595 Hercules Wide Body by Pogea Racing

A wide body, carbon fiber kit and performance enhancements make this a desirable hot hatch

The Abarth 595 is a pocket rocket that makes you grin every time you drive it. If you are someone who prefers driving a slow car fast instead of a fast car slow, this needs to go on your bucket list. And, it looks like Pogea Racing understands that. The company has brought out a Hercules version that doesn’t just look sinister, but also comes with a significant power boost that will plaster a wide smile on your face.

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2021 Hyundai Kona N

2021 Hyundai Kona N

The Hyundai Kona N is powerful and likely affordable enough to take on the BMW X1 and Audi Q3

The 2021 Hyundai Kona N is an upcoming high-performance version of the company’s subcompact SUV. Launched in 2017, the Kona has become so popular in just three years that Hyundai is pushing it into high-performance territory. The Kona is the brand’s first SUV to feature an "N" badge, joining cars like the i20, i30, Veloster, and Elantra. Is the 2021 Kona N just as powerful as Hyundai’s N-badged cars and will it come to the U.S.? Let’s find out in the review below.

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2020 Jeep Compass - Driven

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven

It’s not the best vehicle in the segment, but it checks almost all the boxes quite comfortably

Jeep Compass has been in the market for over a decade now and has become a staple moniker in the segment now. This two-row SUV is one of the rare models in this segment that can actually be taken off the roads without doubting its abilities. Of course, it’s no Cherokee, but it does a lot better than its rivals in this aspect. Although it features a heavy 2.4-liter engine, the power outputs aren’t that great and the nine-speed automatic gearbox makes the whole drive even more lethargic. However, it comes with a nice interior setup, decent tech features, and aesthetics that will please all and offend none. So, should you pick the Jeep Compass over the Honda CR-V or the Ford Escape?

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2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven

An SUV with a premium interior, powerful engine, and numerous gizmos that make off-roading a walk in the park

The Land Rover Defender needs no introduction. After a long run, the company sent it on a hiatus in 2016, only for it to return in a freshed, modern avatar to keep up with the competition. It came out looking a little less old-school, but still as rugged as ever.

This time, it wasn’t just the sturdy build that made it a compelling off-roader, but also the modern gadgets and gizmos that could put the other off-roaders out there to shame. The top trim is dangerously close to the six-digit price territory, but will that stop people from buying it? Or will customers look at other cheaper alternatives, like the Toyota 4Runner and to an extent, the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

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2021 Nissan Kicks (Facelift)

2021 Nissan Kicks (Facelift)

The Nissan Kicks looks sexier than ever thanks to an extensive facelift

Nissan has revised the Kicks compact crossover for the 2021 model year, and while it’s just a facelift, it’s hard not to notice how different it looks. In short, the 2021 Kicks is more aggressive and sleeker than before with a new, larger grille, revised exterior lighting, and improved interior amenities that pushes the compact crossover closer to the premium segment than ever before.

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2020 Posaidon A45 RS 525

2020 Posaidon A45 RS 525

Don’t be fooled by its curious looks; there’s a monster lurking underneath all that pomp

This is a Mercedes-AMG A45 S, or at least it used to be. Don’t be fooled by what you see here; It still looks like the AMG A45 S, but underneath that bright yellow paint, black decals, and gimmicky taxi lamp on the roof lies a different beast altogether - one that’s going to rip your heart out the second it gets the chance. This used to a Mercedes-AMG A45 S. Now it’s called the Posaidon A45 RS 525, and best be warned, “mercy” is not in this hot hatch’s vocabulary.

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Kia Seltos - Driven

Kia Seltos - Driven

The Kia Seltos is the newcomer to Kia’s lineup. It’s been in production since 2019, but 2021 marks the first year that it will be available on U.S. soil. It has just recently made it into dealerships as Kia begins to roll out its 2021 crop of vehicles, and it’s poised to make quite the disruption in the subcompact crossover market. Of course, let’s be clear, this still isn’t Kia’s smallest model – it’s the model designed to sit between the Soul and the Sportage. Highlights of the Seltos include better-than-expected cargo room, a Bose audio system, and the range-topping engine that’s good for 175 horsepower. What might be even more impressive, though, is the Seltos starting point of around $22,000.

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2022 Volkswagen Golf R Variant

2022 Volkswagen Golf R Variant

Is Volkswagen ready to give fast daddies a solution?

Performance and practicality are two words that rarely go together. More often than not we talk about the perfect compromise between the two, rather than the perfect blend. That doesn’t stop manufacturers from trying to give us the best performing version of a normal car.

Station wagons, in particular, seem to be making a comeback and currently, Volkswagen is rigorously testing a more practical version of its Golf R – the Variant. Regardless of which version we talk about, the people’s car from Germany has always been a good all-rounder, but does the Golf R Variant still has what it takes to compete?

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2021 Fiat Tipo Cross

2021 Fiat Tipo Cross

Fiat updates the Tipo and adds new Cross trim with SUV-inspired looks. Is it a good alternative to the Ford Focus Active?

The 2021 Fiat Tipo Cross is a crossover-style version of the company’s compact car. Introduced in 2020 as a new trim for the Tipo range, the 2021 Tipo Cross is based on the hatchback model.

The Cross version joined the existing sedan, hatchback, and wagon models following the mid-cycle facelift, which added revised exterior elements, new tech inside the cabin, and a brand-new gasoline engine. But is the Tipo Cross a good addition to the lineup and will it give the Ford Focus Active a run for its money? Let’s find out in the review below.

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2020 Toyota C-HR GR Sport

2020 Toyota C-HR GR Sport

Toyota’s spunky crossover gets a GR Sport-styled attitude adjustment

Toyota’s range of performance-spec models under the “GR/GRMN” family has a new member in the fold. The C-HR GR Sport, which Toyota first unveiled in October in Japan, is heading to the global market packing enough sporty bits to qualify as a GR Sport model.

The upgrades are mostly cosmetic in nature, but Toyota also worked on improving several of the crossover’s technical elements. Considering that GR Sport is the entry-level line of Toyota’s growing performance-spec lineup — the GR sits in the middle and the GRMN rules the roost — the C-HR GR Sport is both a walking advertisement of what you can expect from future GR Sport models and a good example on the kind of performance potential that the C-HR has.

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2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris

2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris

Toyota is going berserk with the GRMN Yaris, the meanest hatchback ever built

The 2021 Toyota GRMN Yaris is an upcoming high-performance version of the fourth-generation hatchback. Toyota has yet to confirm the GRMN Yaris, but word has it the Japanese brand is planning to introduce a range-topping GRMN version of its GR-badged cars in a variety of segments. What’s more, Toyota recently tested a beefed-up GR Yaris on the Nurburgring and its appearance hints at an upcoming GRMN variant.

Just like the GR model, the GRMN is being developed by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division. However, development takes place under a more hardcore performance arm called Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nurburgring. The 2021 GRMN will arrive with a sportier exterior and various upgrades to the drivetrain. Let’s find out more about it in the speculative review below.

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2020 Mini Countryman X-raid

2020 Mini Countryman X-raid

Dakar know-how brought straight to your daily driver

Mini owners aren’t exactly off-road nuts, not even when their cars come fitted with Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive. That, however, might change with a little input from Dakar Rally specialist X-raid.

The team behind Mini’s resounding victories at Dakar is now using its rally and motorsport expertise to beef up your Countryman. You know, in case grocery-getting becomes boring.

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2021 BMW X2 Mesh Edition

2021 BMW X2 Mesh Edition

BMW’s new cosmetic package for the X2 is a welcome sight for the crossover

This is the BMW X2 M Mesh Edition, a package-laden special edition model that adds more visual character to a crossover that, quite frankly, needs all the help it can get. A mesh kidney grille — not BMW’s new and controversial grille — stands out as the package’s most prominent addition. Exclusive color options, decals, and a new set of wheels are also included in the X2 M’s dress-up. The Edition M Mesh package for the X2 M is priced at $3,550.

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2021 Opel/Vauxhall Crossland

2021 Opel/Vauxhall Crossland

Simpler name and a new face: meet the revised Opel/Vauxhall Crossland

Opel (or Vauxhall in the U.K.) is refreshing the Crossland crossover, which now drops the X from its previous name (Crossland X) and puts on a face inspired by the new Mokka - which also dropped the X with the new generation.

That front end design is called Opel Visor and we expect it to pop up on other future products coming from the PSA-owned brand. Here’s what the facelifted Crossland has to offer.

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2021 Mazda CX-30

2021 Mazda CX-30

Mazda is known as one of those car manufacturers that like to do things a bit differently. From their use of rotary engines for their flagship sports cars and emphasis on perfect weight distribution to their elegant, quirky design, and refusal to give in to the downsizing trend. The CX-30 is one of the latest entries in Mazda’s lineup. It is a sub-compact crossover which places it in the same niche as the CX-3. Wouldn’t two offerings of the same segment create an internal competition? Not exactly. Thehe CX-3 is aimed at the entry-level sub-compact crossover segment, where it would go up against the likes of Chevrolet Trax, Ford EcoSport, and Nissan Kicks. At the same time, the CX-30’s goal is to steal clients from the likes of Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Subaru Crosstrek – models that represent the higher echelon of the sub-compact crossover segment. So, does it have what it takes?

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2021 Hyundai i30 N

2021 Hyundai i30 N

The 2021 Hyundai i30 N packs more punch with the Performance Package and the VW Golf GTI might be in trouble

The 2021 Hyundai i30 N is the facelifted version of the high-performance hatchback that the Korean company introduced back in 2017. The mid-cycle refresh doesn’t bring radical changes, but it does improve the car’s exterior design and adds new technology inside the cabin. The 2021 i30 N also comes with a more powerful Performance Package. But is it finally good enough to take on the popular Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST? Does it have what it takes to go against the new-for-2021 BMW 128ti? Let’s find out in the review below.

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2021 Hyundai Elantra

2021 Hyundai Elantra

Despite the crossover madness in recent years, the sedan niche is still one of the most popular and competitive segments when it comes to choosing your next daily driver. This is why the Hyundai Elantra is already in its seventh generation. Over the past decade, the Korean brand has been on a crusade to steal as many clients as possible from the likes of Toyota and Honda – brands that dominate the compact sedan segment with the Corolla and Civic models.

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