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10 Kei Cars That Prove Japan Has it Right

10 Kei Cars That Prove Japan Has it Right

These kei cars are etched in history as some of the best to come out of the niche segment

Kei cars are probably the coolest niche car segment in the entire industry. Kei cars have become a culture unto its own, and that’s been the case for the better part of 70 years. In all that time, Japanese automakers have produced a litany of unforgettable kei cars, including these 10 models that prove that small doesn’t always have to be terrible.

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2021 Ford Puma ST

2021 Ford Puma ST

Your Fiesta ST on stilts is served

Ford has unveiled the 2021 Puma ST, the spiciest iteration of the Puma crossover; we doubt there will ever be an RS badge slapped to the Fiesta-based small SUV that Ford assembles in Craiova, Romania. That said, here’s all you need to know about the new Ford Puma ST, which inherits the same 1.5-liter, three-cylinder powerplant Ford debuted in the Fiesta ST.

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This Custom Mid-Engine Mini Is the Definition of a Pocket Rocket

This Custom Mid-Engine Mini Is the Definition of a Pocket Rocket

Although pocket ballistic missile would be a better description honestly

Engine swaps, we’ve see quite a few. Burly V-8s replacing puny flat-fours or screaming V-10 engines giving new life to Japanese sports cars and muscle cars alike. A motorcycle engine powering a Mini, however, is not something you see every day.

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Here's How the Retro-Styled Honda E Holds Up Against the Classic Civic

Here’s How the Retro-Styled Honda E Holds Up Against the Classic Civic

The Honda e has future classic written all over it

Honda likes to play a lot with heritage when it comes to what its cars look like. The Japanese brand also did quite a neat job in feeling the recent rise in awareness and love for classic cars and cleverly styled the Honda e EV accordingly.

We must admit, seeing the nippy electric car next to the original Honda Civic not only makes us want the EV even more, but also realize just how many retrolicious cues went into it in the first place.

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Mini JCW GP3 F350 by Manhart

Mini JCW GP3 F350 by Manhart

This pocket rocket gets more oomph, the Manhart way

When you think about Manhart Performance, the first thing that pops up in your head is either a tweaked Audi, BMW, Mercedes, or Porsche. However, the company also does its magic on Lambos, Bentleys, and, well, Minis. Their latest work takes the already nippy Mini John Cooper Works GP to new heights in style.

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The Japanese Nissan Figaro Is a Car You Didn't Know Exists But Have Always Wanted

The Japanese Nissan Figaro Is a Car You Didn’t Know Exists But Have Always Wanted

It looks like it was designed in 1960s, but it’s actually built in 1991

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.

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What Do You Know About this 10-Horsepower Messerschmitt KR200 Bubble Car?

What Do You Know About this 10-Horsepower Messerschmitt KR200 Bubble Car?

It used to be a popular car in the 1950s

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.

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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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There's Nothing Better Than Watching This Honda Z600 Rip Up an Indoor Go-Cart Track

There’s Nothing Better Than Watching This Honda Z600 Rip Up an Indoor Go-Cart Track

These guys sure know how to have fun!

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.

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Watch a Subaru-Powered 70s-Era Ford Fiesta Run a 9-Second Quarter Mile!

Watch a Subaru-Powered 70s-Era Ford Fiesta Run a 9-Second Quarter Mile!

Don’t be fooled by the small frame or you’ll end up KO’d in a flash… on the drag strip, of course

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.

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New Honda Jazz Will Pack a Two-Motor Hybrid Setup

New Honda Jazz Will Pack a Two-Motor Hybrid Setup

But, please Honda, make the new Jazz a hoot to drive

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.

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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 Kona

2019 Hyundai Kona

Entry level hatchback can be cute

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.

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