The Dodge Dart was supposed to have been the Messianic Redemption for Chrysler’s passenger car side; a well-built, competent compact car that would draw in young buyers to the Dodge brand while taking the fight to established players like Civic, Corolla and Focus. It had all the right elements on paper too; a large cabin, Alfa Romeo underpinnings and the all-important 40 MPG rating.
Tag: compact car
If I say “hybrid,” most people think: slow, efficient, awful-to-drive, Prius, tree-hugger, Democrat and California. Pretty much in that order. The people’s car company however is on a mission to change your word association. In 2011 VW crafted the ridiculously fast supercharged Touareg Hybrid. For 2013, the Germans have some new words for you to associate with “hybrid”: direct-injection, turbocharged, 7-speed, DSG and Jetta. Is this enough to sway Prius shoppers looking for a more engaging ride? More importantly: should you get the Jetta Hybrid or the Jetta TDI? VW tossed us the keys to a dark blue fuel-sipper to find out.
For some unknown reason, Honda decided to debut this new concept, dubbed the GEAR, at the Montreal Auto Show. Honda claims it’s a 21st century interpertation of a subcompact hatch that’s fun to drive, customization and stylish. What do you say, Murilee? Is this a faithful heir to your Civic hatchback?
TTAC’s fascination with all things Chinese mandates that we get our hands on the first Chinese car to be sold on North American shores, lest we betray our mandate. That first example happened to come from Honda – and the Made In China Fit you see here might be the one vehicle most true to the company’s roots.
I may occassionally mock the enthusiast infatuation with wagons and hatchbacks, it’s only because they’re not such a big deal to me. Two-box compact and midsize cars (not crossovers or SUVs) are everywhere in my locale, to the point where they go unnoticed. But this is one worth getting excited about.
GM is recalling 475,418 Chevrolet Cruze models built in the USA as a preventative measure against possible engine fires.
The last time Chrysler made a serious attempt at the C-segment was in 1995 with the Neon. High initial sales were soon followed by less-than-stellar crash scores, a redesign that put off buyers, the death of the Plymouth brand, and the unholy offspring that was the Dodge Caliber. With Fiat needing to add a “40 MPG CAFE” vehicle to the fleet to continue their acquisition, the Dodge Dart was born. This first fruit of the Fiat/Dodge marriage isn’t just a rebadged Alfa Romeo Giulietta (pronounced Juliet-ta), and there’s a reason for that. Dodge wants a bigger part of the pie since sedans account for 80% of the compact segment. Rather than “sedanify” the Giulietta, Dodge took the extra step of crafting an entirely new vehicle that shares little with the Italian organ donor. Can some Italian spice give Dodge what they need to compete with the growing compact sedan segment? Dodge invited us to a regional preview event to find out.
Finally, the real story on the Hyundai Veloster Turbo pricing is here. $22,725 (including the $775 destination fee). A 6-speed automatic is another $1,000.
A decade ago, MINI launched in the United States, at a time when gas was cheap and small cars were decidedly not in vogue. The original Cooper has given birth to the Clubman, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster, in a brilliant display of making many lengths of sausage from one pile of meat.
In a very small way, my family was involved in bringing the Honda CR-V to North America. As Honda hemmed and hawed about bringing their first in-house SUV to the continent, they quietly shipped over a few right-hand drive examples in late 1995 for employees to evaluate. As a car guy with two kids, my father, who was Honda’s in-house attorney at the time, was a perfect candidate, and got the bright blue CR-V for a few days. Festooned with chrome accents, graffiti-like graphics, a JDM fender mirror and brush bars, the right-hand drive CR-V got lots of attention. The CR-V finally came to North America two years later, without all the awful acoutrements that Japanese versions had in spades.
Audi fanboys who want emissions-free motoring will be sorely disappointed; the pilot program to try out an A3 E-Tron, will be limited to Audi personnel in Denver, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Francisco.
For between 12 and 18 months, employees will evaluate the A3 e-tron, before an electric A3, based on the next-generation car, debuts in 2014. Unlike BMW and Mini, customers won’t be providing data to Audi to help develop the car, like with the test programs involving the Mini E and BMW 1ActiveE.
Once upon a time, Volvo built the V40 at the Nedcar plant, alongside the Mitsubishi Carisma. Volvo ended that partnership in 2001, but the Dutch managed to pull one over on Volvo, leaking early pics of their new V40 compact in advance of its Geneva debut.
Bucking the wisdom of nearly every automotive journalist alive, Canadians opted for the much-maligned 2012 Honda Civic in 2012. 55,090 Civics were purchased by Canadians, making it the best selling passenger car for the 14th straight year.
According to our most recent data from Automotive News, as well as Honda Canada itself (with Automotive News tracking sales through November, 2011), the top 10 vehicles were all compacts, with the exception of the Toyota Camry. As of this writing, the Hyundai Elantra finished in second place, despite leading briefly earlier in the year. The prospect of a revised Civic for the 2013 model year wasn’t enough to put a damper on sales – or maybe people just weren’t interested.