Right now, the car world is swamped with turbocharged engines. This means high specific output per liter of capacity, lots of torque, massive horsepower numbers and incredible specs for the cars equipped with such tech. While trying to figure out how to present the most powerful four-cylinder production cars, I thought of listing them by the highest specific output of the engine. Yet, listing five with 350+ horsepower feels more fun. It is quite incredible to see to what lengths the producers are willing to go in order to convince us that turbocharging and four-cylinder engines are just enough for basically anything, including high-end performance. These five cars with four-cylinder engines have so much power they will make you forget about a V-8.
Top 10 Compact Cars Ranked From Best to Worst
Picking the best small car of the myriad of options available isn’t an easy thing to do. If you’ve made up your mind and you don’t want a compact SUV or crossover and, instead, go for a compact sedan or hatchback, there are the obvious choices like a Volkswagen Golf, a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla. But the market is much wider than that. and compact cars still represent great value for money, even in 2019, in a market flooded by SUVs and all kinds of niche crossovers. Compact models are a great choice as a first new car and, luckily, there’s still a great variety of cars to choose from. Here are our top 10 choices.
The Best 2018 Cars Under $20,000
Finding the right car for you isn’t exactly easy. From horsepower to mpg, interior room to standard equipment, there’s a lot to take in and consider. Of course, doing your homework is critical to finding that perfect ride, and luckily, if you’re looking for something under the $20K-mark, we’ve got you covered right here.
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Have you ever seen a front wheel drive car making a one wheel burnout? You have? Great! That’s the problem many manufacturers have been trying to circumnavigate or completely resolve on FWD cars. Not so much to deter you from making one wheel burnouts, but to make the car corner better and safer with putting down the power to the wheel that actually has some grip. The reason a FWD car (or any car for that matter) tends to send power to the wheel with least grip is the so-called open differential - a system designed to send power to the wheel with 50 percent of power reaching one wheel and 50 percent the other. However, as opposite wheels on cars must spin at different rates (like when cornering), the open differential cannot be locked, thus allowing for some extreme tendencies to send the power through the path of least resistance. Simply said - to the wheels with the least grip. Using this system saves a ton in R&D, the simple design of open differential makes it cheap to produce, and it doesn’t put too much strain on the various drivetrain elements. However, some tend to make fun of open diffs. “They are just like a one-wheel drive.” Is there any truth to this? After all, the power always goes to the wheel with the least resistance.
While an open diff works great in normal conditions (on a surface and in conditions that provide similar grip to both wheels,) more extreme circumstances (cornering fast, driving on slippery surfaces and the like) do limit its effectiveness fast. That is why manufacturers found a number of ways to circumnavigate these problems with mechanical means. Those cars using systems to defeat the limitations of open diffs are usually in the upper echelons of the car world, and I am presenting you nine of them.
Visual Comparison: 2018 Ford Focus vs 2019 Ford Focus
After seven years on the market, the third-generation Focus was finally retired in 2018 and replaced with a new model redesigned on a clean sheet. Highly popular in the U.S. and Europe, the third-gen Focus leaves a big legacy behind. The outgoing hatchback was a high seller, it spawned the best ST model yet, and marked the return of the RS nameplate. Whether the new Focus will be able to fill the big shoes or not is hard to predict at this point, but we can compare the two cars inside and out to see what changed and which is ultimately more appealing. Let’s have a closer look below.
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Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS
For older stateside hot hatch fans out there, it’s probably crystal clear that we’re currently in a new golden age of performance, one that was once relegated to the realm of fantasy and bench racing. High-powered, tear-drop-shaped compacts with an odd number of doors, turbocharged power, and sports car-like handling are finally, finally finding their way to the U.S. market, and after decades of waiting and ogling from afar, U.S. buyers will soon have a chance to get behind the wheel of four-wheeled superstars previously considered forbidden fruit solely for Europe and Japan. Two of the biggest contenders in this space are the Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS, both incredible cars aimed squarely at the enthusiast buyer. But which is better?
You can’t help but put these two compact titans in a side-by-side comparison. Both are roughly the same in terms of cost, both come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, both get manual transmissions, and both offer five-door practicality. Both also carry a long history of making speed lovers smile, and command a veritable army of zealous followers to champion their claim to hot hatch supremacy.
But there are some serious differences as well. While the Focus is an AWD hammer, boasting four corners of grip and some impressive firepower under the hood, the Civic is a FWD scalpel, packing less weight and a history of apex-hunting prowess.
Which will come out on top – the Blue Oval Drift Mode bomber, or the H Badge slice and dice katana? It’s America versus Japan in a hot hatch shakedown. Read on for our take.
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Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest
Here’s the scenario – you want a car, but it has to be the right car. It’s gotta be practical and comfortable, but it can’t be a complete snooze-fest behind the wheel either. You don’t want a crossover, and a sedan isn’t gonna cut it. What you want is a hatchback, something with a little zest and personality, but something that won’t break the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there, but which to choose? To help you decide, we’ve gathered six of the top contenders and put them head-to-head in the following comparison article. Let’s get ready to rumble.
To keep it all apples-to-apples, each of the entries in our comparison comes packaged in a five-door body style, gets standard FWD, and is instilled with at least a hint of sportiness. Each is also tagged with an MSRP around the $20,000 mark. With criteria like that, we decided to include the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda 3 Hatchback, Mini Cooper Hardtop Four-Door, and Volkswagen Golf GTI.
While all six of these hatchbacks are solid choices in their own right, the question remains – which is the best? Read on for our take.
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