The Japanese Nissan Figaro Is a Car You Didn’t Know Exists But Have Always Wanted
When it comes to Japanese Kei cars, they can be split into three types: boxy, cute, and downright weird. Deciding which is which obviously depends on personal taste, but the Nissan Figaro is definitely of the cute variety. On top of looking like its made from candy thanks to its vintage color palette, the Figaro also looks as if it was designed in the 1960s. And I say "looks" because the Figaro was actually produced in 1991.
What Do You Know About this 10-Horsepower Messerschmitt KR200 Bubble Car?
Messerschmitt disappeared in 1968 following a merger and was eventually purchased by Deutsche Aerospace, which is now part of Airbus, but the company remains famous for the fighter planes it build during World War II. But after WWII and following Germany’s defeat, Messerschmitt wasn’t allowed to built aircraft for 10 years. So the German firm switched to microcars following a cooperation with engineer Fritz Fend, who previously built engine-powered invalid carriages. Built from 1955 to 1965 in around 30,000 units, the KR200 is one of the most iconic bubble cars ever made.
2020 Hyundai Kona - Driven
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.
2021 Fiat 500
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.
2019 Peugeot 208 - Driven
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.
2019 Fiat 500 Abarth Driven
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.
There’s Nothing Better Than Watching This Honda Z600 Rip Up an Indoor Go-Cart Track
Go-karting is super fun with those tiny, low-slung, low-power karts ripping the specifically-designed tracks. But what happens when you bring around a mainstream hatchback and drive it there? Just think about it. It sounds so much fun. Obviously, you’ll need precision and impeccable driving skills to actually have fun; or else it could get really frustrating when you have to reverse your car on a sharp turn. Well, here’s a video uploaded by LeMans Karting where you can see a 1972 Honda Z600 being ripped around an indoor go-kart track. Guess it’s time to move on from those big, bulky builds from SEMA and enjoy this cargasmic video in the shrunken reality.
Watch a Subaru-Powered 70s-Era Ford Fiesta Run a 9-Second Quarter Mile!
The first-generation Ford Fiesta was of paramount importance for the Blue Oval. But with all the optimism in the world, nobody at Ford would have imagined that their globally-sold, fuel-efficient subcompact car would live to hide a Subaru engine where its trunk was originally supposed to be or bang mid-nine-second quarter-mile runs. Case in point: Chris Todd’s Mk1 Ford Fiesta.
New Honda Jazz Will Pack a Two-Motor Hybrid Setup
After the Honda e, it’s time for another car to make our hearts melt, this time at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, where Honda unveiled the new Jazz (aka Fit in the United States). The supermini marks its fourth generation, one that brings a handful of changes inside and out. Bear with us to find out what’s what.
2020 Toyota Yaris
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.
2019 Hyundai Kona
The Kona is Hyundai’s smallest crossover, a quirky looking model that was conceived to challenge the established names in the subcompact niche like Mazda’s CX-3, the Toyota C-HR, and the Honda HR-V. Starting at little over $19,240, the Kona offers up to 175 horsepower although the base engine is far less powerful. The design is, if anything, divisive and the fuel consumption is on par with what the rivals come up with at 33 mpg highway.
Hyundai, like Citroen, is an adopter of the ’big-grille-and-narrow-headlights’ design language for some of its crossover SUV models and you can see that in the facial expression of the Kona that somewhat mimics its much larger brother, the eight-passenger Palisade. But that’s about as much as these two models share with the Kona being a budget offering, something you’ll see and feel in the cabin, although you now get more equipment in standard than you did with the 2018 MY.
The Kona is still a new model so judgment on its long-term reliability will have to wait but you may like to know that the Kona, both in hybrid and non-hybrid guise, was the recipient of the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award making the Kona the first subcompact crossover to ever win this award. We drove a cherry red Kona to see if it deserves all the accolades and you can read more about it below.
2020 Renault ZOE EV has sharper looks, more range and two motor options
Our readers from North America may not really be familiar with the Renault Zoe, but it is actually the best selling all-electric vehicle in Europe, so the fact that a new one has been launched is a pretty big deal. It’s definitely an evolution of the old car and not a dramatic, revolution, but it addresses some key concerns people had with it in the past in order to make it even more enticing for city types who don’t want a small EV.
The 2020 Renault ZOE has freshened up exterior design, a much improved interior (it sorely needed), a battery pack has 30 percent extra capacity over the old one and new tech that was not available on the old ZOE. And having improved the car in all these areas, Renault has a chance of staying on top of EV sales in Europe, even though there are far more rivals out now than there were when the ZOE debuted, back in 2012.
2019 Nissan Kicks
The Kicks is Nissan’s smallest crossover offering in the United States, and it’s widely based on the 2014 Nissan Kicks Concept that debuted back in 2014 at the Sao Paulo International Auto Show. In essence, the new Kicks CUV is quite similar to the concept, and most of the design cues carry over. As always, the overall design has been toned down a bit because, well, the production models are never as good as the concepts. Major features include a floating roof with a “wrap-around visor,” a comprehensive infotainment system, and best-in-class rear passenger space.
Keno Kato, the Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan, said, “With Kicks, we have developed a compact crossover in the best Nissan tradition, and thanks to the unmatched experience we have in creating vehicles to meet the needs of car-buyers around the world, Kicks will offer best-in-class design, convenience, and technological innovation. And, it will demonstrate Nissan’s commitment to Nissan Intelligent Mobility. Kicks is a car to confidently take on the city.”
The Kicks replaced the Juke in the United States, but it’s not available in Europe as of 2019. Let’s find out more about this crossover in the review below.
2020 Nissan Versa Unveiled With Standard Safety Tech, Sleek Styling
Nissan just dropped details on the brand-new 2020 Versa subcompact sedan, and so far, so good. Outside, the new Versa looks much improved thanks some sleek body panels that work well with Nissan’s latest signature styling features, including the V-motion grille and boomerang-shaped headlights. The dimensions also play a part here, as the new Versa is lower, longer, and wider than the outgoing model.
Inside, the cabin takes after Nissan’s larger sedans, including the Altima and Maxima, and emphasize the horizontal for an added sense of space. The cabin is also stuffed with safety stuff, including standard features like Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, Rear Automatic Braking, and frontal Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. You can also opt into features like Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Driver Alertness, and Blind Spot Warning.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto headline the infotainment bits, while automatic climate control and heated front seats keep it comfy.
Motivation is derived from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder, which sends 122 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. Transmission options include either a five-speed manual as standard, or an optional CVT.
The 2020 Nissan Versa will go on sale this summer, or you can catch it next week at the 2019 New York Auto Show. No word on pricing just yet, but it should be quite reasonable considering the current model comes with an MSRP of $12,360.
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback
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.
2021 Honda Jazz
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!
2020 Toyota Yaris Unveiled With Modernized Infotainment
Toyota just revealed the 2020 Yaris sub-compact five-door, offering up new styling paried with automatic LED headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a large grille design. Under the skin, the Yaris is remarkably similar to the Mazda2, while up front, there’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine making as much as 106 horsepower. The four-banger is mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission, while fuel returns are rated at 40 mpg on the highway.
Two will offer trim levels on launch, including the LE and the XLE. Standard spec includes s low-speed pre-collision safety system and active safety system, as well as infotainment goodies like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth support, and voice recognition. Running it all is a 7.0-inch touchscreen, while two USB ports and six-speaker audio round it out.
The Yaris is once again tiny, with an overall length of 161.6 inches, which is about the same size as the Honda Fit. However, the Yaris is still quite practical thanks to 15.9 cubic-feet of trunk space.
Look for the 2020 Toyota Yaris at the New York Auto Show later this month. Pricing is so far unannounced, but is expected to slot in at $17,000.
The 2021 Porsche Macan Will Only Be Offered with an All-Electric Drivetrain
The Porsche Macan, the same model that is currently offered with four- and six-cylinder engines, will officially be offered as an electric model when the new-generation makes its debut in 2021. You read that right, the Porsche Taycan isn’t even technically on the market yet, and Porsche is already committed to turning one of its most popular models into EV territory. And, that’s not a rumor- the cam directly from Porsche itself. The most logical reason behind this is because BMW is set to unleash the BMW iX3 soon and, since the Macan battles it out with the X3, it only makes sense. As of now, there are no plans to offer any type of fuel-powered drivetrain, so the Macan will become Porsche’s third EV next to the 2020 Taycan and the 2021 Taycan Sport Turismo wagon.
Subaru Teases 2020 Legacy Interior Before Chicago Debut
The current sixth-generation Subaru Legacy dropped at the Chicago Auto Show back in 2014, and this year, the four-door is poised for a substantial update in The Windy City. To help build up some hype prior to the big sheet pull next week, Subaru just released a shadowy teaser image of the new Legacy’s interior.
Check Out This Gixxer-Swapped Honda N600 Hoonitruck Tribute: Video
Engine Swaps - you love ‘em, I love ‘em, everyone loves ‘em. The crazier the better, right? Well, we got something pretty damn crazy for you on this one. This particular video comes to us from Christian McMaster, who got a chance to take a spin in a Honda N600 powered by the beating heart of a GSXR-1000. Yep, you can see where this one is headed.
Top 13 Subcompact SUVs Ranked from Best to Worst
If you are in the business of finding the best subcompact SUV, I am quite sure that you have at least peaked at the rear seats trying to figure out how much use you could get from them. Well, I’ve compiled a list of 13 subcompact SUVs, crossovers, or whatever you call them, and ranked them by the rear seat room. Sure, this is not the most important measurement to find out which one is the best subcompact SUV, but it is an important factor for sure.
Power, consumption, or the cargo room in the boot are as important. And yes, I included that too. So, without further ado, let’s see what 13 of the most important subcompact SUVs bring to the table in the U.S.
The All-New Porsche 911 Proves That The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
There aren’t that many cars in the world that are as important to an automaker as the 911 is to Porsche. When you think of Porsche, you think of the 911. It comes as little surprise then that Porsche pulled out all the stops when it officially debuted the eighth-generation 911 at the Porsche Experience Center, days ahead of its appearance at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Orders for the eighth-generation Porsche 911 Carrera S are already open, though don’t expect deliveries to take place until the summer of 2019. The price of the 2020 911 Carrera S starts at $113,200, while the 2020 911 Carrera 4S will be offered from $120,600. Expect an extra charge of $1,050 to account for delivery, processing and handling fees.
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.