Compact Car reviews

view thumbnails grid view horizontal compact blog view
2021 Suzuki Across

2021 Suzuki Across

Meet the Suzuki Across, the almost-identical twin of the Toyota RAV4

The first fruit to stem from the Toyota-Suzuki partnership struck a while back is called the Across and wears the Suzuki badge, although it’s pretty clear that the outer shell is nothing else but a slightly tweaked Toyota RAV4 body.

That aside, the Across features an interesting plug-in hybrid powertrain that mixes a 2.5-liter internal combustion engine with two electric motors, one for each axle. Here’s all you need to know about the new Suzuki Across.

Read more
2022 Audi Q4 e-tron

2022 Audi Q4 e-tron

The Q4 e-tron is shaping out to be a well-spec’d product with a big price advantage over the Tesla Model Y

The Volkswagen Group has made some phenomenal strides in recent times. From being caught in Dieselgate a few years back to running a few of the most proactive brands in electrification today, the German group has come a long way. One of its most prominent brands, Audi, also has a few electric models in the works. The automaker’s next electric vehicle will be the Q4 e-tron, which was previewed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

Audi recently revealed that the SUV will launch at the end of 2020 and is set to go on sale in 2021. Although it might be the brand’s fifth EV, there are a lot of eyes on it since it will be the first four-ringed electric vehicle to be pinned on Volkswagen’s MEB architecture. It was recently spotted performing cold-weather tests in Northern Sweden.

Update 7-6-2020: The Audi Q4 E-tron has finally be spied out on public roads and, unlike the mule we saw earlier this year, this baby is looking pretty close to production ready. Check it out in the spy shots section below.

Read more
2020 Chevrolet Bolt - Driven

2020 Chevrolet Bolt - Driven

A no non-sense electric car without any extra shenanigans

Chevrolet Bolt has been around for less than four years, but it is one of the earliest mainstream EVs to have hit the market. The Bolt hasn’t taken the market by storm, but it is an important product for Chevrolet in the EV segment.

The automaker is constantly updating the little EV, and for the 2020 model, it comes with a few more miles in the battery pack. To put things into perspective, it is the best non-Tesla model on sale today in terms of range. The 2020 Chevy Bolt arrived at TopSpeed’s headquarters recently, and here are our impressions about this urban commuter.

Read more
2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

2020 Nissan Sentra - Driven

Forget (most of) what you knew about Nissan’s compact sedan

The last two generations of Nissan Sentra have followed a simple formula: a spacious interior, a smooth ride, great gas mileage, and low prices. For plenty of compact-sedan buyers, that’s a winning formula. But it came at the expense of driving pleasure — to the extreme. Last year’s Nissan Sentra wasn’t merely dull, but downright awful if you try to get some grins. Its wheezy 124-horsepower engine struggled under all but the gentlest acceleration, and its handling betrayed an alarming lack of composure for a modern small car. And while its upright styling could be considered elegant from some angles, it just looked tall and narrow from others.

For the 2020 model year, Nissan has worked to reinvent the Sentra. A striking new body sits atop a more sophisticated suspension and wraps around a more potent engine and a fancier interior. All the while, Nissan has kept prices in check and even improved the Sentra’s gas mileage.

Do the changes turn the Sentra into a class leader? Not exactly. Even after this year’s improvements, you can still find quicker, sharper-handling, more luxuriously-finished small sedans. And if you loved the old Sentra because you could get a huge backseat and trunk at a fire-sale price, the new model will feel like a step backward.

By becoming more similar to competitors like the latest Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and Kia Forte, the 2020 Sentra loses the old model’s standout spaciousness and value — but it brings fresh advantages to the table all while keeping costs in check.

Read more
2021 Opel Mokka-e

2021 Opel Mokka-e

Revolutionary design makes the Mokka-e a downright looker

Opel/Vauxhall’s first all-electric SUV is called Mokka-e and comes with a radical design that’s far from what the Mokka has been showing since its inception.

Aided by the fusion with the PSA Group, the Germans seem to have finally found a direction for their future lineup, both design- and powertrain-wise, at least as electrification is concerned. Here’s all you need to know about the new Opel Mokka-e.

Read more
2021 Kia Seltos - Driven

2021 Kia Seltos - Driven

The Kia Seltos - a car that avoids the flaws commonly found in the subcompact crossover market

The subcompact crossover class has so much potential. Best-selling “compact” models like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Chevrolet Equinox have gotten fantastically spacious, refined — and expensive. A modern CR-V or RAV4 is just as big, fancy, and costly as midsize models used to be. For lots of people, they’re still a great deal: for as little as $25,000, you get ample space for four or even five adults and their stuff, all the latest advanced safety features, a fully featured touchscreen infotainment system, and great gas mileage. But lots of people don’t need or even want something this big, or at least aren’t eager to pay for it. So most automakers now offer a subcompact model that’s smaller and less expensive than their compact.

What’s puzzling, though, is how flawed most of these subcompact crossovers have proven to be. Many of them are polarizing styling statements, sometimes with looks that compromise their utility even more than their scaled-down dimensions do. A surprising number of them offer no all-wheel-drive. Some suffer from execution flaws like underpowered yet inefficient engines, compromised interior layouts, or clumsy driving dynamics. Each model that gets a lot right has also had at least one serious flaw — whether it’s the fun-to-drive but cramped Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-3 and CX-30; the spacious but slow, noisy Honda HR-V; the pleasant but overpriced Nissan Rogue Sport; the off-road-ready, on-road-jerky Jeep Renegade and Subaru Crosstrek; or a host of other would-be contenders. That’s to say nothing of the ones that, well, don’t get a lot right. Why, oh why, couldn’t someone just take everything that people love about a compact crossover and simply make it a little smaller and less expensive?

At long last, that call has been answered. The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos is a mechanical cousin to the Hyundai Kona, but it’s taller and longer. And that’s just what was needed to address the Kona’s lower, more car-like seating position and its tight rear seating. This makes the Seltos the first truly well-rounded subcompact crossover, delivering all-around competence with no disastrous downsides. It’s handsome, functional, fun to drive, fuel-efficient, and affordable. While no car is perfect — certain buyers will gravitate toward the specific advantages of some Seltos competitors — this is the only subcompact crossover that has something for just about everyone.

Read more
2020 Hyundai Sonata - Driven

2020 Hyundai Sonata - Driven

The Hyundai Sonata entered its eighth generation for the 2020 model year, finally completing the transformation from econobox family sedan to something that looks luxurious and sporty. In fact, at a glance, it even looks a lot like the new Audi A7 or RS7 with a slightly tweaked front end. So, do the aggressive exterior design cues, sporty proportions, and upscale appearance actually push it into a position to leave the Honda Accord and Kia Optima behind as it starts to compete with brands like Audi, BMW, and Porsche? Well, after spending a week with eh all-new Sonata, we can comfortably say it isn’t quite there yet, but it’s not far off. This is what it was like to live with the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

Read more
2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo - Driven

2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo - Driven

The Hyundai Veloster is a fun, affordable car that is positioned securely in the compact hatchback niche and, while it doesn’t rank necessarily high in terms of power, its unique style, performance, and fairly upscale interior is quite noteworthy. Currently a year into its second generation, we decided it was time to get behind the wheel of Hyundai’s fan favorite, and to our surprise, a Veloster Turbo landing in Topspeed HQ’s parking lot. This, my friends, gave us the perfect opportunity to see how the Veloster Turbo holds water against models like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Honda Civic Sport Touring. This is our story after spending a week with the one and only Hyundai Veloster Turbo.

Read more
2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

The GTI dialed up to 11

The Mk. 8 Golf GTI TCR will build on top of an already amazing package to take things to the next level. As a model that’s more oriented toward the driver, it’ll feature a whopping 300 horsepower, all of which will be shunted through an eight-speed DCT. There’s no definite on-sale date as of yet, but it should launch in late 2020 as a 2021 model.

Update 5/12/2020: The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR was spotted in the wild with almost no camo. Check it out in our special “Spy Shots” section below!

Read more
2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport Special Edition

2020 Mazda MX-5 R-Sport Special Edition

Our friends in the U.K. should be looking forward to this one

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, Mazda is giving loyal fans a reason to celebrate with the launch of the MX-5 R-Sport Limited Edition. Available only in the U.K., the MX-5 R-Sport Limited Edition is a fresh take at the beloved roadster, complete with exclusive touches in the exterior and interior.

The Mazda MX-5 R-Sport Limited Edition is a fresher and bolder version of a roadster that’s not lacking in impressive design qualities. Only 150 units of the special edition MX-5 will be available. Each model is priced at £27,700, which converts to around $34,600 based on current exchange rates. It’s unclear if the special edition MX-5 will be sold in the U.S., though knowing how these things work, don’t get your hopes up.

Read more
2020 Audi Q5 55 TFSIe by ABT – The First ABT-Branded Hybrid You Can Buy

2020 Audi Q5 55 TFSIe by ABT – The First ABT-Branded Hybrid You Can Buy

How does 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque sound?

ABT and Audi kind of go together like peanut butter and jelly. Just this year alone, we’ve seen a handful of ABT-tuned Audis, like the bonkers RS6-R Avant, the RS Q8, and the RS6 Avant. Now, ABT has managed to take the Audi Q5 55 TFSIe, one of Audi’s latest plug-in hybrids, and give it a healthy dose of extra grunt that pushes it well beyond its original specification.

Read more
2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance by R-Zentric

2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance by R-Zentric

The tuner’s aero kit for the Model 3 makes it track-worthy and adds points for its looks

Have you ever wondered how the aftermarket tuning works for EVs? You don’t have much stuff in the powertrain that you can play around with. These machines are so different that a power boost can be done via an over-the-air update. There aren’t a lot of companies who have worked on electric cars yet.

However, a company called RevoZport, has laid its hands on the Tesla Model 3 Performance and experimented with what can be done. The result is an electric car with supercar-like aerodynamics that makes it a hoot-and-a-half to drive. Not to mention, it also looks sporty with those body kits. Do you think aerodynamics will play a big part in customizing an electric car for performance?

Read more
2020 Mazda 3 - Driven Review

2020 Mazda 3 - Driven Review

How well does the Mazda 3 carry over to the 2020 model year?

Flying in to Newark International Airport last month, I arrived at the Budget Rent a Car counter and received the keys to a familiar staple of rental fleets: a 2019 Nissan Sentra wearing scratched-up Ignore Me Silver paint. Plenty of travelers would likely ask if, pretty please, anything else was available. This previous-generation Sentra (the car was fully redesigned for 2020) is generally reviled by anyone who appreciates a fine automobile. It’s underpowered, it lacks handling poise, and it’s drab-looking inside and out. And yet, it was just what my family of three needed for a three-hour drive home to Maryland. The Sentra’s plus-sized rear backseat was perfect for our rear-facing child seat, and its big trunk swallowed our suitcases and stroller with ease. Its generously sized windows offered excellent outward visibility, and it could go 41.3 miles before burning a gallon of gasoline. And, keeping our rental rate in check, the Sentra provided plenty of features at low prices.

This brings us to the subject of today’s review: the 2020 Mazda3. Like the Sentra, it belongs to the compact economy car market segment. But that’s pretty much where the similarities stop. For two cars in the same segment, it’s hard to get more dissimilar than our tested Mazda3 and our rental Sentra — for better and for worse.

The Mazda3 is basically a luxury sports sedan (or, like in our test car, a five-door hatchback). It’s beautifully styled, elegantly finished, laden with features, and — although it’s not as energetically zippy as it once was — a pleasure to drive. It even offers all-wheel-drive, just like an Audi or BMW. Yet like a luxury car, it’s also more expensive, has a cramped rear seat and tight cargo hold, has slits for windows, isn’t cheap for its class, and gets lousy gas mileage. It would have been absolutely the wrong choice for a family road trip, even for our small family. But if you appreciate something finer than a Sentra and won’t often carry more than one extra passenger, the Mazda3 brings a high-end experience at relatively affordable prices — starting from $21,500.

Read more
2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S

The most powerful 911 Turbo yet and the quickest road-legal 911 ever produced

The 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S is the range-topping version of the latest, 992-generation Porsche 911. Unveiled during the virtual edition of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, the 2021 911 Turbo S arrive before its least powerful twin, the Turbo. Fitted with a twin-turbo, 3.8-liter flat-six engine rated at 640 horsepower, the 2021 911 Turbo S is the most powerful 911 Turbo model ever. It’s also the quickest, as the beefed-up coupe needs only 2.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. How does it compare with the old Turbo S and similar sports cars on the market? Let’s find out in the review below.

Read more
2021 Koenigsegg Gemera

2021 Koenigsegg Gemera

1,700 horsepower and seating for four. Where do we sign up?

The 2021 Koenigsegg Gemera is a two-door, four-seat hypercar developed by the Swedish company that gave us the Agera, Regera, and Jesko. But unlike its siblings, and despite having only two doors, the 2021 Gemera offers seating for four. And it does so via four equally comfortable seats, so it’s not just a regular grand tourer. The 2021 Gemera boasts a hybrid drivetrain under the skin, comprising three electric motor and a three-cylinder engine. As shocking as it may sound, the three-cylinder generates 600 horsepower, making it the most powerful of its kind in production, and works on a variety of fuels, including CO2-neutral methanol. Overall, the hybrid drivetrain pumps out an amazing 1,700 horsepower and 2,581 pound-feet of torque. Let’s find out more about the world’s first practical megacar - aka Mega GT - in the review below.

Read more