Compact Car reviews

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2020 Suzuki Ignis

2020 Suzuki Ignis

The facelift looks like Suzuki put lipstick on a pig!

The Suzuki Ignis is not the smartest-looking hatchback out there, but the company is still updating it on a regular basis to keep it from going obsolete. Suzuki unveiled the 2020 Ignis with few cosmetic changes outside and even fewer on the inside and under the hood. A layman won’t be able to differentiate it from the outgoing model, but once you figure out the changes, you’ll be surprised that they were staring in your face all this while.

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2021 CUPRA Formentor

2021 CUPRA Formentor

Cupra’s first in-house production vehicle is a high-performance SUV

The 2020 Formentor is a compact crossover built by Cupra. Unveiled online during what was supposed to be the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, the Formentor is the first model exclusively developed by Cupra, a brand established only two years ago. At almost 4.5 meters long, the Formentor is smaller than the Kodiaq, but slightly bigger than the Karoq.

Design-wise, it’s not based on an existing Skoda. But it’s just as aggressive as its Leon-based counterpart and features all the trademark cues of the Cupra brand, like sharp lines, copper trim, and black elements. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it’s named after a cape on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

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2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet

A more affordable alternative to the Range Rover Evoque Convertible

The 2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet is a drop-top version of the company’s subcompact crossover. Launches two years after the coupe regular version, the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet isn’t just a T-Roc with a soft-top, it also features only two doors instead of four. What’s more, the soft-top has a sleeker design, so the Cabriolet looks sportier than its standard sibling. Inspired by the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet is Volkswagen’s only small convertible to date after the discontinuation of the Beetle.

The soft-top and the revised shape of the roof are the only features that set the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet apart from its standard sibling. The bodywork and the interior are similar, as is the technology package. They’re identical under the hood as well, although the 2020 T-Roc Cabriolet doesn’t yet feature the more powerful gas engines. Volkswagen doesn’t offer diesel mills for this model either. Let’s find out more about this bold convertible in the review below.

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2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

The car that was once unappealing in so many ways has moved upmarket

The Sentra might be Nissan’s best-selling model of all time, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s been labeled as “cheap,” “uninspired,” or “sluggish.” Those claims to fame come courtesy of the last-generation model that has, thankfully, been replaced. For the 2020 model year, the Nissan Sentra ditches its old digs for a new Maxima-inspired design that sits atop a new platform. That old, sluggish 1.8-liter engine has been replaced with something a little more responsible and powerful, the 2.0-liter from the Nissan Rogue.

With the Nissan Sentra set to hit dealers in late February, Nissan invited us to give its updated compact sedan a test drive to see just how much better it really is. This is our experience.

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2020 Seat Leon

2020 Seat Leon

The Spanish-built hatchback looks hotter than ever!

The 2020 Seat Leon is the fourth-generation version of the Spanish hatchback and wagon. Built on the same MQB Evo platform as the Volkswagen Golf Mk8, the 2020 Leon is essentially a Golf with a different body and a slightly different interior. But for what it’s worth, the Leon looks notably sportier on the outside and the cabin isn’t far below the premium-like interior of the Golf. Power options are also shared with the Golf, so you can choose between gasoline, diesel, mild hybrid, and plug-in hybrid options. Let’s find out more about the new 2020 Leon hatchback and wagon in the review below.

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2020 Nissan Versa - Driven

2020 Nissan Versa - Driven

Nissan’s updated, entry-level sedan is kind of fun to drive

The third-generation Nissan Versa was launched and the 2019 New York Auto Show, and with it came an all-new design inside an out. The new Versa features a wider body, was finally updated to feature Nissan’s V-Motion grille, and the rear end benefits form boomerang-shaped tail lights. We got the chance to test the SR model, so it had the extra spoiler on the rear deck but overall, as a package, the new Versa is sportier and more aggressive than before.

The interior felt a dramatic revamp as well, borrowing features from the recently updated Maxima and Altima. The new “Gliding Wing” instrument panel is probably the most recognizable change here, but we also had the SR model, so we were focused on things like the flat-bottom steering wheel, seven-inch infotainment display, and the red and black interior. In terms of cargo room, the Versa will swallow up 14.3 cubic-feet of goods with the rear seats in place or as much as 88.9 with the seats folded down.

Under the hood of our SR tester sits a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that was completely revamped from the last model. It delivers a meager 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, which is, impressively, 12-percent more horsepower and 7-percent more torque. The engine sent the power to the front, 17-inch wheels via an automatic transmission. Pricing for the Versa SR starts at $18,240, but ours was priced at $21,490 with a few option boxes checked. Stay tuned for a full, in-depth review of the 2019 Nissan Versa SR.

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2020 Toyota GR Yaris

2020 Toyota GR Yaris

Tested and approved by Tommi Mäkinen himself

Whenever a carmaker takes out the good stuff out of its know-how box and spreads its on a new car, well, that’s when you know you’re in for a treat. That’s exactly what Toyota did with the GR Yaris, its second global GR-badged car after the Supra GR and at the same time a homologation model that will sometime in the future spawn a fully-blown rally racer.

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2019 Volkswagen Golf GTi - Driven

2019 Volkswagen Golf GTi - Driven

The Volkswagen Golf GTi is a prime competitor in the hot hatch segment and shouldn’t be overlooked!

We have been itching to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk. 8 and would really love to try out the yet-to-be-released Mk. 8 Golf GTi, but we’ve been told we still have to wait a while. To make things good, however, and hold us over, Volkswagen decided to send out an MK. 7 2019 Golf GTi and, while it wasn’t exactly what we wanted, we have to admit that the week we spent with it was beyond memorable.

As you can see from the photo gallery organized into the slider above and the page below, the Golf GTi, even in its older design, is quite the looker. It’s attractive from all angles, and the interior really gives you the feeling that you’re sitting in a proper hot hatch. The flat-bottom steering wheel and eight-inch infotainment displayed helped in the regard, but the overall fitment of the seats and materials put together one hell of a package.

The 2.0-liter turbo-four under the hood isn’t the most powerful four-cylinder on the block – the title is reserved for the Mercedes-AMG A45S – but it’s powerful enough to keep just about any enthusiast happy at 228 ponies and 258 pound-feet of torque. Volkswagen claims that’s good for a 5.7-second sprint to 60 mph, but we actually got there around one-tenth faster. More impressive than that is the fact that this baby is as nimble as can be. The 35.8-foot turning circle means it can turn on a dime (this is much better than both the Focus ST and i30 N that it competes with) while the 5.1-inch ride height feels like the sweet spot in terms of dealing with typical road conditions.

All told, our week with the Golf GTi isn’t one that we’ll forget, and we can’t wait to try out the MK.8 to see just how Volkswagen will manage to improve. Until that happens, though, you can enjoy our massive photo gallery. We’re busy putting together an in-depth review on the 2019 golf GTi, so be sure to check back in with us soon to learn the finer details!

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2020 Nissan Rogue - Driven

2020 Nissan Rogue - Driven

This aging compact crossover still has the goods

It’s far too easy for car aficionados to dismiss an aging vehicle. “Just look at that dashboard — straight out of 2014. And that hopelessly uncompetitive engine, ugh; to keep up, it needs at least 11% more horsepower. Junk!”

Now, we’d never suggest that cars never fall behind the curve. Quite the contrary, it happens all the time in today’s fast-paced marketplace. But when a vehicle gets the important stuff right from the start, especially if it also benefits from updates over the years, it can still be a great choice in its segment throughout its lifespan. And that’s precisely the case we’re finding with the 2020 Nissan Rogue compact crossover, one of America’s best-selling vehicles. The Rogue still brings a handsome face, a pleasant driving experience, great gas mileage, and a spacious cabin. And it’s now laden with advanced driver-assistance technology, even on the base model.

True, the Rogue hasn’t changed much since its current generation debuted as a 2014 model. Yes, its interior still has the sort of humdrum plastics and plain shapes that most newer competitors have moved away from. And its 170 horsepower is undoubtedly on the low side for the segment these days. The Rogue isn’t one of the compact crossovers that brings a high degree of luxury, sporty performance, or overall pizzazz. But we’d challenge its critics to spend a week in one, study how it compares to its competitors, and still write it off as a tired relic. We found the Rogue to be a solid family vehicle at compelling prices, and we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed our time with it — and with the glowing praise it received from passengers. Prices start at $26,39, including destination charge.

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2020 Nissan Sentra Photo Gallery

2020 Nissan Sentra Photo Gallery

It’s not a performance model by any means, but the new Nissan Sentra is a huge step forward

Nissan introduced the new generation of the Sentra at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show with an all-new look that’s not only more classy, but more modern than ever. It brings the next generation of Nissan’s V-Motion grille, sleeker headlights, revised taillights, and a all-new side profile that puts an emphasis on both form and function. It now sits two inches lower and two inches wider, while borrowing some DNA from the new Nissan Maxima. Eight exterior colors are available and the rear end even gets a sporty little spoiler.

Unfortunately, a performance model doesn’t seem to be in the books, but the 2020 model does come with an increase in performance thanks to a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Despite the lack of turbocharging, the new engine delivers 149 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. It’s still not a lot by modern day expectations, but horsepower is improved by 20-percent while torque has been increased by 16-percent. If nothing else, maybe merging on the highway will be easier, right?

The good news is that, despite the lack of performance credentials, the interior of the Sentra is actually a nice place to be. The interior is more refined and luxurious than ever. It is a little deceiving, though, as the flat-bottom steering wheel, contrast stitching, and aluminum accents might have you believing that you’re in something much more that it really is. The new, 2020 Nissan Sentra goes on sale in January 2020 and should come with a mild pricing increase at best.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA

The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLA is here and it borrows a lot of design cues and tech from its larger peers

Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the new GLA, the A-Class-based crossover whose first-generation was a popular choice among buyers. The new Mercedes-Benz GLA, however, takes a lot after its bigger brothers design- and tech-wise, and that’s a very good thing.

The new GLA is 4.1 inches higher (now 63.4 inches) and 0.6 inches shorter (now 173.6 inches) than the model it replaces. This means you get more headroom, but Mercedes-Benz highlights that now there’s even more legroom in the rear (38.4 inches, compared to 33.9 inches in the previous model). The U.S.-bound 2021 GLA has an aerodynamic coefficient of 0.30, which will contribute to low levels of wind noise inside the cabin as well as a reduction in fuel consumption at higher speeds. What’s more, Mercedes is so confident that the GLA can pull its own weight off the beaten path that it offers the Off-Road Engineering Package as standard on the GLA 4Matic.

On the inside, the GLA receives the highly-acclaimed MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment setup. Rear headroom, however, takes a 0.3-inch plunge (now 38.1 inches instead of 38.4), but shoulder room is more generous (now 54.8 inches instead of 53.1 inches, a 1.7-inch increase). Trunk capacity is also better in the new GLA, measuring 15.4 cubic feet, a 0.5 cubic feet increase from the previous model’s 14.9 cubic feet rating.

The safety bundle is a hefty one, especially if you opt for the optional Driver Assistance Package. Here’s what you get:

Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC Active Steering Assist Active Speed Limit Assist with Traffic Sign Assist Evasive Steering Assist Active Lane Keeping Assist Active Brake Assist Pre-Safe PLUS

In the U.S., the non-AMG 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA can be had with a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter, turbocharged gasoline engine bolted to an eight-speed 8G-DCT automatic transmission. The powerplant makes 221 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque between 1,620 rpm and 4,000 rpm. You can pick between the GLA 250 or the AWD GLA 250 4Matic. Performance-wise, Mercedes-Benz estimates that the 2021 GLA needs 8.6 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from a standstill en route to a top speed of 130 miles per hour.

No words on pricing yet, but the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA launches in the U.S. in the summer of 2020, so we’ll know more as its market debut closes in.

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2019 Hyundai i10 N Line

2019 Hyundai i10 N Line

Not quite a full-fledged N model but close enough

The 2020 Hyundai i10 N Line is a performance-oriented trim of the third-generation hatchback. A range-topping model in the current lineup, the 2020 i10 N Line slots above the regular i10 and will fill the gap between the standard hatchback and the upcoming i10 N. The 2020 i10 N Line is the fourth Hyundai to sport the "N Line" badge as of December 2019. It joins the i30 N Line, the i30 Fastback N Line, and the Tucson N Line. The N Line is essentially a package that adds some exclusive features to the 2020 i20. Performance-wise, it’s not a full-fledged N model, but it does benefit from an exclusive turbo three-cylinder mill that adds extra oomph over the standard powertrains. Let’s find out more about that in the review below.

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2020 Ford Urban Escape by LGE-CTS

2020 Ford Urban Escape by LGE-CTS

Ford’s baby crossover has a versatile side to show off

The 2020 Ford Escape is well-represented at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show. Three different versions of Ford’s hot-selling crossover are in attendance at the world’s largest auto show, including the Ford LGE-CTS Motorsports Urban Escape. As the name implies, the LGE-CTS Urban Escape is a stylish all-around crossover vehicle designed to tackle both urban and off-road environments. It comes with a smattering of upgrades in the form of new equipment and performance modifications, among other things. It’s not the fanciest tuned version of the Escape that’s at SEMA, but it is the one that a lot of people will no doubt gravitate to, in part because of its functionality and all-around usefulness in the real world.

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2021 Ford Puma ST

2021 Ford Puma ST

The 2021 Ford Puma Is a Small 200-Horsepower Performance SUV With a Talent For Fun

The new Ford Puma will, most likely, come in several different guises. The one we are most interested in is an alleged performance ST version that, lately, hooned its ST skills over the hard tarmac and bends of the Nurburgring race track in Germany. Spy shots that come from Europe clearly showcased the small Ford SUV tackling the ’Ring with large exhausts and rather large wheels and tires. That is basically the only differentiating factor between this Nurburgring-caught Ford Puma, and other units previously spotted on the roads.

Update 10/31/2019: The Ford Puma ST has been caught testing in the wild once again, this time feature a lot of production parts and no padding. Check out our special “spy shots” section below to learn more about it and see the latest images.

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2020 Volkswagen Golf

2020 Volkswagen Golf

The Golf Mk8 is an amazing hatchback with loads of tech, but is it too expensive for the segment?

The 2020 Volkswagen Golf is the eighth-generation of the iconic hatchback. Unveiled in Wolfsburg, Germany, the company’s home town, the 2020 Golf Mk8 shares the same MQB platform as the third-generation Audi A3 and Seat Leon. An evolutionary design on the outside, the 2020 Golf looks similar to its predecessor but employs more angular styling features similar to larger Volkswagen cars and SUVs. The interior is a notable departure from the old car and sports a more upscale design and fresh technology. Under the hood, the 2020 Golf continues to offer gasoline and diesel engines, but Volkswagen started using 48-volt systems and now offers a higher performance hybrid.

Arguably the most advanced vehicle in its class, the 2020 comes with a major drawback: it will be notably more expensive than the competition. Actually, there’s a good chance that the 2020 Golf will be only marginally cheaper than the Audi A3 Sportback, which could become a serious issue for the German automaker. What’s more, the 2020 Golf won’t be sold in the U.S. in base trim, as Volkswagen confirmed that only the GTI and R models will cross the pond to North America.

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2021 Mazda MX-30

2021 Mazda MX-30

Mazda’s first electric offering is an urban commuter that comes with stuff that will make you go ‘wow’, as well as ‘damn!’

Mazda is the latest entrant in the EV segment. The company has finally launched its first electric crossover in the form of an urban crossover. Moniker’d the MX-30, Mazda revealed the product at its home turf at the ongoing Tokyo Motor Show. From the initial impressions, the MX-30 looks like a mixed bag. We’ll hold our verdict till Mazda releases all the details about the MX-30. The Tokyo Auto Show was lukewarm at best and it was the perfect time to launch the crossover with pomp and fare and garner all the attention. But, Mazda has still not revealed everything about it. Missed opportunity? I think yes.

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