Hatchback Car guides

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2018 Mercedes B-Class vs. 2019 Mercedes B-Class

2018 Mercedes B-Class vs. 2019 Mercedes B-Class

A big step forward?

Mercedes-Benz is in the process of replacing almost all of its current-generation vehicles, including the compact cars. It’s been only a few months since the German firm unveiled the new-gen A-Class, and we saw the slightly bigger B-Class make its global debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show.

Restyled to look sportier on the outside and more upscale on the inside, the new B-Class also shares lots of technology with bigger sedans such as the E-Class and S-Class. How does it compare to the outgoing model?

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Mercedes-AMG A35 vs Audi S3

Mercedes-AMG A35 vs Audi S3

Battle of the (mild) hot hatchbacks

When Mercedes-Benz unveiled the fourth-generation A-Class in 2018, it basically dropped a giant anvil on the hatchback market. Fitted with never-before-seen technology and infused with design cues from the bigger sedans inside and out, the new A-Class trumps the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3 in just about every department. With a handful of models already available, Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the AMG A35. Offered for the first time, it slots above the A250 and below the upcoming AMG A45.

The A35 is Mercedes’ answer to the long-standing Audi S3 and BMW M135i and arrives just when these two hatchbacks are getting a bit long in the tooth. But while the 1 Series is almost out of the market, to be replaced by a front-wheel-drive model, the S3 was facelifted recently and will be around for a few more years. That’s why we decided to throw the S3 into the lion’s den and find out how it compares to the new Mercedes-AMG A35.

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10 Must Know Facts About the Mercedes-AMG A35

10 Must Know Facts About the Mercedes-AMG A35

The entry-level AMG is far from mundane

Mercedes is changing the formula for the performance end of its A-Class range, which will now feature two models: a hot A35, which was just revealed, and an even hotter A45 we don’t yet know very much about. But why wait for the A45 when this A35 is already a very enticing premium hot hatch with a unique look and strong performance?

The A35 has over 300 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque, and all-wheel drive to enable it to hurl itself from naught to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds. Its top speed is electronically pegged at 155 mph, but if other similar cars with comparable power numbers are anything to go by, it should nudge 170 mph when unrestricted.

It also looks quite appealing, I think, with its aggressive bumpers, side skirts, and rear spoiler. Inside, it’s been spruced up with sports seats, yellow details, and a flat bottom steering wheel to leave you in no doubt that it is a performance-oriented car.

Not everything about it is perfect, though; here are ten must-know facts about it you should be aware of.

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Eight Reasons You Should Drive a Hot Hatch

Eight Reasons You Should Drive a Hot Hatch

SUVs are rad, sedans are dying out, coupe-like saloons look cool, and hot hatches seem to be on drugs. Hot hatches being on drugs isn’t the first reason I listed to make you buy them, but writing about it, I think it might as well be. See, the hatchback layout may be the perfect one for creating a car. Its sheer shape offers safety and practicality. Plus, hot hatches aren’t expensive to produce or expensive to buy. I managed to come up with eight reasons why your next car should be a hot hatch.

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Hot Hatchbacks with 300+ Horsepower: A Complete List

Hot Hatchbacks with 300+ Horsepower: A Complete List

Hot hatches have a major problem on their hands. Perhaps one they will not be able to overcome. Ever. This is the plot:

You are in your late twenties or early thirties, and you want something mad, rowdy, and catchy for yourself, but, as usual, the budget is a bit tight. A hot hatch seems to be the perfect fit for your dream Sunday morning stint in the mountains (or the occasional illegal drag race in the middle of the night down in Mexico.) A lot of “hothatchness” now resides in the 300 horsepower range, can hit 60 mph in low 5 sec (some even quicker) and have features with strange names like torque vectoring, damper control, dual-axis struts, and titanium exhausts.

Perfect!

You’ll buy one and be happy for a short while. However, after you actually find out that you simply do not have the time to visit twisties in the mountains (or will ever go down to Mexico, for that matter,) a strange thing will happen. The Audi SQ5 diesel SUV with a mildly reprogrammed ECU will line up next to you. Behind its wheel sits a middle-aged man with a smirk on his face, eager to impress whoever sits next to him. Your hatch and your heart are ready to rumble.

Launch control on, sweaty palms on the steering wheel, and eyes on the traffic light.

Let’s go!

Plot twist:

The black diesel SQ5 TDI SUV will smoke you, literally and figuratively. You’ll try to reason with the situation driving in your hot hatch with massive exhausts, shouty spoilers, and red paint job, but deep down you will have one thought, and one thought only - “WTF am I doing with my life?”

Do you not think this is a problem? Just take a look at how many overpowered SUVs are sold every year!

Now, this may not be the only reason why hot hatches are going overboard with power, technology, and, ultimately, price, but it is a part of it. Apart from being fast, they need to be cool or incredible in some [expensive] way and offer something more than just being fast.

These are all hot hatches with engines developing 300 horsepower or more. They were all made to liven up your life before someone with an SQ5, or its likeness takes it away from you in 5 seconds. Or less.

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Visual Comparison: 2018 Ford Focus vs 2019 Ford Focus

Visual Comparison: 2018 Ford Focus vs 2019 Ford Focus

Taking a closer look at the changes

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.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Buyer's Guide: Mazda 3 vs Honda Civic Hatchback

Buyer’s Guide: Mazda 3 vs Honda Civic Hatchback

Both hatchbacks are worth of praise.

SUVs have the world by storm, getting a second wind after the high-priced fuel crisis of years past, and ultimately forcing automakers to rethink their whole strategy. But, SUVS aren’t the only popular models on the market, as hatchbacks are still a big-ticket item as well. There are so many to choose from – models like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, and even the Mini Cooper have found their way into the hearts of many, but there are two other players in this game that are worth your consideration, and those are the Honda Civic Hatchback and the Mazda3. Both offer aggressive styling, decent power output, and the ability to haul a decent amount of cargo or a few friends with ease.

The Honda Civic has been around for a long time, being introduced back in 1972. It was originally offered in a number of configurations, including three- and five-door hatchback form. The Civic itself has survived well over the years with the tenth-gen model being introduced for 2016. The Mazda3, on the other hand, is relatively a baby in comparison, being introduced just back in 2003. It saw its third generational shift for the 2014 model year and went through a minor revision for the 2017 model year. With Mazda’s latest design language and range of SkyActiv engines, the Mazda 3 is always ready to do battle with the other great hatchbacks in the world, but today we’re going to compare it directly to the Civic Hatchback and help you decide which one you should buy when it comes time to pull the trigger on your next big purchase.

With that said, let’s dive on in and take a good look at each one. Both come to the party with a lot to offer, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. Join me down the page, and we’ll get started.

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Sport Compact Invasion – Breaking Down 5 Of The Best Pocket Rockets

Sport Compact Invasion – Breaking Down 5 Of The Best Pocket Rockets

Small dimensions, big attitude

Small cars can be really, really fun. Sure, it’s not uncommon to see the compact segment associated with less than thrilling prospects, such as commuter mules and plain-old boring A-to-B transport, but if you do it right, the pairing of diminutive size and low curb weight can be the right recipe to make something thrilling, something to get your juices flowing. Whether it’s attacking cones at the autocross, slinging dirt on a rally cross course, zipping between the apexes on the road course, or charging up a deserted mountain road on the weekends, a sport compact is the right fit for a wide range of speed lovers. This is the realm of the pocket rocket, a giant slayer with a mean little attitude and a whole lot of potential. If you like mixing your performance with a compact body style, there are lots of options out there. Here’s the top five.

For this comparison, we chose the following entries – the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, Mini Cooper Hardtop John Cooper Works, Subaru WRX STI, and Volkswagen Golf R. All are turbocharged and slot in around the $35,000 mark. While there are other options available, these are some of the most popular. As such, we looked at the styling and aero, interior comfort and convenience, engine and drivetrain, chassis and handling, and of course, the price and optional equipment. We also looked at some of the more intangible characteristics of each entry.

Are you looking to get into a new sport compact? Read on for the info you need to know.

Continue reading for a breakdown of five of the best pocket rockets.

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Seven Wallet-Friendly Cars Unveiled in Geneva

Seven Wallet-Friendly Cars Unveiled in Geneva

Forget them Lambos and Ferraris!

The 2017 Geneva Motor Show has come to an end and it’s pretty obvious that this year’s event has been a massive success. With more than 60 vehicles on display, Geneva once again proved why its among the most important auto shows of the year.

But, while we drooled upon supercars like the Ferrari 812 Superfast, Lamborghini Huracan Performante, and McLaren 720S, Geneva also brought us quite a few cars for the average Joe. They might not be as spectacular when it comes to performance and technology, but they’re equally important to the automotive industry and deserve all the attention they can get.

Geneva may seem like an event that’s about the glitz and glamour of luxury and performance cars more than anything else, but this is mostly because we all dream of owning cars that can go fast, and keep us comfortable and connected with the latest gadgets. But, once we stop dreaming, we realize that we can’t afford a Lamborghini Huracan and that our daily driver is no-nonsense compact. When that moment comes, have a look at the cool, yet affordable cars you might have missed while rushing to find out how fast the Huracan is around the Nurburgring.

You might need a new daily driver soon. Just saying...

Continue reading for the full story.

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Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS

Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS

How can Honda justify the Type R’s asking price against Ford’s Focus RS bombshell?

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.

Continue reading for the full comparison.

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Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest

Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest

Each has five doors, FWD, sells for around $20K, and is fun to drive – but which will be crowned the winner?

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.

Continue reading for the full comparison.

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