Sub Compact Car reviews

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2023 Smart #1

2023 Smart #1

Smart #1 is a new beginning for the boutique manufacturer and the first of many all-electric models from the brand

Smart is one of the automotive names you don’t hear often. While most of their models are rather unremarkable, the brand marks new beginnings with an all-new EV model. We first talked about the Smart #1 compact SUV in September 2021, when it made a debut at the IAA Munich Auto Show, and now, we have more details on it.

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2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive

2021 Hyundai Venue Test Drive

The Hyundai Venue is the definition of economical affordability with good looks and a smaller footprint

The Hyundai Venue isn’t only one of the brand’s newest cars, but it’s also the smallest SUV or crossover the brand currently sells. As a subcompact model, it competes with models like the Mazda CX-30 and Honda HR-V, but there’s a catch, because the Venue is significantly smaller, sitting on the lower border of the subcompact segment. With that in mind, we have been itching to find out if a smaller, more affordable Hyundai can actually hold its own against the larger, more expensive competition. It does have its faults, but you’ll be surprised as to what those faults really are.

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2021 Nissan Versa - Driven

2021 Nissan Versa - Driven

Is Nissan’s mini sedan still a good option despite the continuous decrease in sales year over year?

The current N18, third-generation Nissan Versa was released in 2019 among falling sales in a dying segment. Featuring Nissan’s latest design language, revised technology, and better materials, but it’s still one of the last few remaining subcompact sedans on the market, and the lack of interest is so obvious it hurts. In 2019, Nissan sold 66,596 Versas in the U.S., 2,369 in Canada, and 88,707 in Mexico, while the 2020 model year saw those numbers drop to 48,273, 125, and 68,013, respectively. That leaves us to wonder: Is there something inheritantly wrong with the Nissan Versa’s recipe, or are falling sales just the result of the COVID pandemic and a general lack of public interest in small sedans? We spent a week with the Nissan Versa to find out.

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2020 Citroen Ami

2020 Citroen Ami

The Citroen Ami returns after 42 years as an all-electric quadricycle, and it’s kinda cute

The 2020 Citroen Ami is an all-electric vehicle based on the Ami One concept that the French company unveiled in 2019. Only 95 inches long and 55 inches wide, the Ami is in fact an elecric quadricycle rather than a full-blown car and it can be driven without a driver’s license.

This makes it accessible to people as young as 16 in most European countries (and 14 in France). Developed as a solution for city commuting over relatively short distances, the Ami is named after the original Citroen Ami, an economy car that the French firm produced from 1961 to 1978. What’s it all about and should you buy one? Find out in our review below.

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2020 Hyundai Kona - Driven

2020 Hyundai Kona - Driven

It really is the baby Hyundai that could - as long as you have the turbo engine

The Hyundai Kona is a strong competitor in the subcompact SUV market, and it’s made itself known in the two short years it’s been on the market. The Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V both claim their own fame as being top contenders, so we decided to see just how well the Kona can hold up now that it has actually established itself on the market. So, we decided to ask for a test car, and next thing we knew, the Kona was rolling up to Topspeed HQ with its gray paint finish and silver highlights. This is our experience and thoughts after spending a whole week with the Hyundai Kona.

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2021 Fiat 500

2021 Fiat 500

The iconic city car drives into a new (electric?) era

The 2021 Fiat 500 is the second-generation version of the modern 500. The 2021 model will replace a car that has been around since 2007, so it’s already 13 years old as of 2020. With the 500 discontinued in the United States and on its way out in Europe, a new-generation models will arrive in 2020.

Fiat has already confirmed that a new 500 is underway, but details remain scarce. We also know that on top of the usual hatchback and convertible models, Fiat will launch a five-door wagon that will revive the Giardiniera name. Let’s find out more about the upcoming 2021 Fiat 500 in the speculative review 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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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 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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2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

Bolder than ever, the Yaris is here to take on the VW Polo and Ford Fiesta

The 2020 Toyota Yaris is the fourth-generation version of the company’s popular hatchback. Previewed by the 2019 Yaris Sedan, the hatchback sports the same front fascia and side body panels, but drops the deck lid in favor of a shorter tailgate design. Now more aggressive on the outside, the Yaris boasts a more upscale interior packed with new technology and revised upholstery. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder carries over from the outgoing model, but it mates to a new transmission.

The fourth-generation Yaris arrives just in time to take on a batch of recently redesigned hatchbacks. The Kia Rio was redesigned for the 2017 model year, while both the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta were overhauled for the 2018 model year. The Yaris is the only hatchback from this list to come to the United States, so it will take a large share of the market. In Europe, however, the Yaris will face some stiff competition.

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2021 Honda Jazz

2021 Honda Jazz

A fourth-gen subcompact from the H Badge

Honda is testing an all-new Jazz subcompact hatchback, also known as the Fit in some markets. It’s the fourth generation for the nameplate and it looks like it will retain the wedge-nosed one-box design of its predecessors, albeit with a slightly sportier design twist.

The camouflaged prototype spotted by our spies reveals quite a lot about the car, which is slated for a reveal no earlier than 2020, since the refreshed version of the current model only came out last year. Aside from the completely new and slightly more rakish-looking body, changes will be made to its powerplant lineup and interior. The hybrid version may share its powertrain with the new Insight.

Update 04/4/2019: The 2021 Honda Jazz was caught out in the wild again and, while it hasn’t dropped a lot of camo, we can make out a few subtle differences. Check out what we know in the Spy Shots section below!

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2020 Audi S3

2020 Audi S3

Audi is in the final stages of testing and refining its upcoming A3 hatchback, as well as the hot S3 version of it. It’s not clear when the new S3 may debut, but it will probably be at a major motor show sometime in 2019 - we’ve heard rumors that Audi is ditching the three-door model and will only sell its hatch as either a five-door or sedan.

The model, in true Audi fashion, looks like an evolution of the current model, and the only real giveaway that the vehicle spotted by our spies is the spiced up S3 is the fact that it has those quad exhausts in the back; it also looks as if its fenders are wider than what we saw in previous spy shots of the regular A3, but we can’t say for sure due to the use of psychedelic camo.

Power for the next S3 will most likely come from a development of the same four-cylinder turbo that motivates the current model which may get a modest horsepower increase. Electrification of some kind is not out of the question either, as Audi has announced its commitment to bringing it more models - maybe even performance models.

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