Hatchback reviews

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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 Mercedes-AMG A45

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45

The company’s cool hatchback goes wilder than ever!

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 is the range-topping version of the fourth-generation A-Class hatchback. Unveiled in 2019, it slots above the AMG A35 in the range thanks to a more powerful engine, a more aggressive exterior, and extra equipment on the inside. Powered by a redesigned version of the AMG-tuned four-cylinder engine that cranks out 382 horsepower, the 2020 AMG A45 is the most powerful A-Class to date. But for the first time ever, Mercedes-Benz introduced an S-badged version of the hatchback, with even more power. In this tune, the AMG A45 delivers an amazing 416 horses, more than any other hot-hatch on the market as of 2020. This four-cylinder is also the most powerful of its kind in production, as well as the engine with the highest horsepower per liter. Let’s find out more about the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 in the comprehensive review below.

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2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk8 GTI

2020 Volkswagen Golf Mk8 GTI

The next-generation GTI arrives in 2019

The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI may still be the most popular hot-hatchback out there, but it’s getting a bit long in the tooth after more than four years on the market. With Ford already working on a new-generation Focus ST, which will be significantly more powerful than the current Golf GTI, Volkswagen needs to roll out a new hatchback really soon. Fortunately, the Germans are already testing the next-generation Golf GTI, which is rumored to break cover sometime in 2019.

Not much is known about the upcoming performance hatchback, but it should borrow many design features seen on recently introduced Volkswagen models, including the sporty Arteon sedan. The company also promises a revolution inside the cabin, including a "total digital environment," according to design chief Klaus Bischoff. Set to use a revised version of the company’s MQB platform, it will also a new engine with power ratings of up to 250 horsepower. Let’s find out more about that in the speculative review below.

Updated 12/30/2019: The 2021 Volkswagen Golf MK8 GTI was caught doing some cold-weather testing with next to no camo and zero padding. Check out the new images and the latest details in our spy shots section below!

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2019 Peugeot 208 - Driven

2019 Peugeot 208 - Driven

Peugeot’s new 208 comes to the party with high ambitions, but is it any good?

We don’t have to tell you that Europe’s supermini segment is one of the toughest, cutthroat arenas in the car world, despite the fact that crossovers based the said superminis are poaching clients at a fast rate, just like they did with the sedan segment. In this context, Peugeot launched the new 208. No, it didn’t change its name to 209 as we would have expected, and that’s because Peugeot thinks the previous 208 had so much success that the same nameplate should stay for the new generation, too.

The French carmaker is adamant that the 208 is primarily a city car and, in accordance to that creed, Sochaux took all the measures it saw fit to make its new hatchback as appealing as possible. The fact that it will have to do battle against the likes of VW Polo, Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, and Dacia Sandero counted a lot in the general direction Peugeot led the new 208. We had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the sleek-looking hatch during a first-contact test drive, so here’s what we can report.

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2022 Mercedes EQ B

2022 Mercedes EQ B

The electric Mercedes GLB takes one step closer to its live introduction

Mercedes’ lineup of electric crossovers and SUVs continues to take shape with a fresh batch of spy photos of a model that looks a lot like the Mercedes GLB-Class. Except this isn’t the GLB; this is the GLB’s all-electric alter ego, the EQ B. The spy photos were taken in Sweden where the EQ B is undergoing winter testing. Mercedes hasn’t divulged the juicy details of the EQ B, but it is believed that, among other things, it will largely take the form of the GLB, albeit with a few minor tweaks to reflect is all-electric stature. No timetable has been given on when the Mercedes EQ B will launch, but we do know that the all-electric crossover will not hit the U.S. market until 2021.

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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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2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven

2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven

One last go in Fiat’s fun and spirited city car

The reborn, retro-chic, Fiat 500 first graced North American shores back in 2011 and now, eight years down the line, we got behind the wheel of the peppy Abarth version to get one final sting from the scorpion as the entire 500 range is being discontinued by Fiat-Chrysler. Prepare for some top-down driving as we assess whether we’ll miss the 500 for what it is or for its vibe akin to an endless summer holiday in the rolling hills of Tuscany.

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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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2019 Hyundai Veloster N Performance Concept

2019 Hyundai Veloster N Performance Concept

Hyundai N’s hot hatch gets a hotter treatment

As if the Hyundai Veloster N isn’t hot enough, Hyundai’s all set to unwrap an even hotter version of the hot hatchback at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show. This new variant is called the Veloster N Performance Concept, and it is a spicy piece created by Hyundai to give Veloster N owners a preview of how the hot hatch could be transformed if it got introduced into the aftermarket world. The Veloster N Performance Concept comes with exterior enhancements, interior upgrades, and technical improvements. In other words, it’s the full cocktail of the tuning world. Unfortunately, don’t expect the Veloster N Performance Concept to make its way to dealerships anytime soon. This concept is strictly for showcase purposes. On that end, the Veloster N Performance Concept will be in attendance at SEMA in Las Vegas, Nevada next month.

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2020 Hyundai Veloster N ETCR

2020 Hyundai Veloster N ETCR

Hyundai is ready to join in on some electrified door-to-door touring car racing

Hyundai is one of the top players in the TCR category of touring car racing. The most popular category in the world of tin tops can be seen in action almost anywhere in the world, including Stateside, and now an electric series seems more tangible than ever. Hyundai released the Veloster N E-TCR to go alongside Cupra’s E-TCR racer. The Hyundai features four electric motors, all in the back, and a 65-kWh battery package.

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2019 Nissan Leaf Twin-Motor Concept

2019 Nissan Leaf Twin-Motor Concept

A Leaf with more than 300 horsepower and all-wheel drive

The 2019 Nissan Leaf Twin-Motor is an all-electric concept car that features two electric motors and all-wheel-drive capability. It’s heavily based on the existing second-generation Nissan Leaf, as it features an identical exterior and a lightly modified interior. Unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, the twin-motor Leaf concept previews a new production car that’s already in the works. According to Nissan, this new drivetrain will enable a future EV to "achieve a huge leap in acceleration, cornering and braking performance, on par with the latest sports cars."

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2020 Toyota Yaris

2020 Toyota Yaris

Toyota’s new Yaris looks more European than it ever did and that’s a good thing

The new Toyota Yaris is here and it means business. The new Yaris will embrace the carmaker’s TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform derivative known as GA-B. The TNGA is also found underneath the likes of Prius and Corolla, but it’s the first time that Toyota has used it to underpin a sub-compact vehicle. The new platform is also tweaked to support Toyota’s new fourth-generation, three-cylinder hybrid setup. Here’s every detail you want to know on the new Toyota Yaris.

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2019 Hyundai Veloster Grappler Concept

2019 Hyundai Veloster Grappler Concept

It’s a hatchback with some serious off-road chops

Hyundai has presented an alternative look at the Veloster, one that puts an off-road spin to the otherwise plucky hatchback. The model, called the Veloster Grappler Concept, is sporty, rugged, and can go anywhere your heart desires. It will be presented at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show, but like most concepts that attend SEMA, there’s no indication that the Veloster Grappler, or even a derivative of the concept, will end up in production. All the same, the Veloster Grappler Concept looks like it’s ready to hit the trails. By the looks of it, the concept would make for a great companion in the outdoors.

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2019 BMW i3 - Driven

2019 BMW i3 - Driven

BMW’s first EV still holds its own but not for long

There aren’t too many models out there that can legitimately lay claim to being funkier than the Nissan Juke, but the BMW i3 is one of them. It was introduced in 2013 as BMW’s first step into the electric market with a single purpose in mind – to see if people would actually be interested in an electric BMW. Well, the i3 has served its purpose very well and actually received a lot of attention. Whether that attention was received because of its funky minivan-like hatchback appearance or because it was an electric BMW is up for debate, but after 6 years on the market BMW has no choice but to dig into the electric car segment even more, so you can write the i3 off as a success either way.

That success, however, doesn’t come without a price, and in this case, the BMW i3 is paying the ultimate price – it will eventually die off as BMW focuses on other electric vehicles. With the i3’s time on the Earth limited to the next few years as BMW runs out parts inventory, we decided it would be a great time to test out the i3 before it fades off into oblivion. After all, it’s the last of its kind and, therefore, is probably as good as it will ever get. This is our story of a week well spent with the soon-to-be-extinct BMW i3.

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2020 Hyundai i10

2020 Hyundai i10

The smallest Hyundai returns with new looks and tech, same old engines

The 2020 Hyundai i10 is the third-generation version of the subcompact hatchback. A success story for Hyundai in Europe, the i10 is now bolder on the outside and smarter on the inside. Under the hood, the 2020 i10 is pretty much similar to its predecessor as it features the same engines, but it has a new automated manual transmission. Hyundai also added extra safety features, turning the 2020 i10 is one of the most advanced vehicles in its niche.

The 2020 i10 arrives to compete with its Kia-badged sibling, the Picanto, and the popular Toyota Aygo in a really crowded subcompact segment. How does it compare to its predecessor and rivals? Let’s find out in the review below.

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2019 Toyota LQ Concept

2019 Toyota LQ Concept

This is a look into a future where you and your car are best buds

Back in 2017, Toyota brought a quirky concept vehicle called the “Concept-i” at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now, an evolution of that same concept will debut at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. It goes by the “LQ Concept,” and, among other nifty tricks, the LQ Concept is largely defined by a personal assistant called ‘Yui’, which, according to Toyota, is meant to “learn from the driver and deliver a personalized mobility experience.”

In other words, the LQ Concept wants to be your friend, an unnerving thought given where these things could end up. Perceived concerns aside, the LQ Concept is a good example of Toyota’s eye towards a future where a connection between the driver and the car is of paramount importance. We’re going to learn more about the LQ Concept in Tokyo, but, for now, chalk this one up to another concept whose purpose remains years ahead of its time.

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