Tag: Subcompact

By on September 28, 2016

2015 Jeep Renegade red

There’s a problem with subcompacts. All sorts of subcompacts.

Subcompact hamburgers. Subcompact basketball players. Subcompact beds. And especially subcompact crossovers.

After years of examining subcompact cars before purchasing a compact, you know the drill. With a subcompact, you save a little bit of money, realize negligible benefits at the fuel pump, and suffer sharp reductions in useable space, not to mention typical losses of power and refinement.

The burgeoning subcompact crossover market is no different. Sure, the base price of a typical all-wheel-drive subcompact crossover is roughly 15-percent lower than the base price of its all-wheel-drive compact sibling, but a handful of subcompacts are just as thirsty as their big brethren and some see catastrophic reductions in cargo capacity.

As a result, and as a general rule, TTAC is no fan of the subcompact crossover genre.

The value simply isn’t there — and we have some math to prove it. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2016

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage G4

I’m sitting on the pit lane of my local track — Atlantic Motorsports Park in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia — surveying the empty course. My helmet is on the seat beside me, my hands are gripping the leather-wrapped wheel, and I can hear the low growl of three-cylinders idling as they wait for me.

But before I get to that, a bit about what I’m driving.

This is the Mitsubishi Mirage G4. It’s what happens when the oft-cheapest new hatchback in Canada (depending on who is offering what cash on the hood that month) grows a trunk. Under the hood: a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine that has 78 horses in there somewhere. Connected to that is a continuously variable transmission, the only transmission available on this SEL trim tester.

I do a quick check of the course to make sure it’s still empty. My foot hits the floor.

(Read More…)

By on August 4, 2016

2015 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

After scoring a stellar deal on our ’15 Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, thanks to the advice of those who know more about the car buying process than I do, my girlfriend and I have put just over 3,000 miles on our diminutive hatchback.

In those 3,000 miles, the Fiesta has patiently allowed Jenn to hone her manual-transmission skills, been to the dealer once (more on that in a bit), carted us and our furry dependents around the province, and not once been close to an autocross course — though not due to my lack of trying.

(Read More…)

By on July 16, 2016

2018 hyundai accent

It looks like the awkward years are over for the subcompact Hyundai Accent.

Our first glimpse of the next-generation Accent comes courtesy of leaked photos from China, where the model goes by the name Verna. In them, the Accent appears all grown up, adopting a large grille and styling reminiscent of its bigger brother, the Elantra. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2016

2018 Ford Fiesta

An updated version of Ford’s tiniest offering was just spotted on the road, and while the camo is strong with this one, it’s clear the subcompact Fiesta now sports higher-end clothes.

Expected to bow in mid-2017 as a 2018 model, the Fiesta (the unofficial car of TTAC) keeps its old platform, but makes big changes in design and, apparently, price. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2016

1988 Subaru Justy in California Wrecking Yard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

You can’t talk about the miserable econoboxes of the 1980s without talking about perhaps the most miserable of them all: the irresistibly cheap, irredeemably terrible, front-wheel-drive Subaru Justy (the all-wheel-drive Justy could be a lot of fun, of course).

You won’t see many of these cars today, but I was able to find this 28-year-old survivor in a Silicon Valley U-Wrench-It yard. (Read More…)

By on November 23, 2015

2016 smart fortwo exterior-005

America loves big cars, big trucks and fat crossovers. If you doubt me, all you need to do is look at 2015’s top sellers. The top five vehicles account for 13 percent of all vehicles sold in the USA this year, and the smallest of the five is the Toyota Camry. Not so small. Check the top 20 list, and the smallest entry is the Corolla which has grown so large we would have called it “midsized” in the ’80s.

Today, we’re looking at a very different kind of car: the 2016 smart fortwo (yes, that’s all lower case for some reason), a car that is six feet shorter than the Corolla.

2008 was Smart’s best year in the USA with some 24,000 cheeky micro cars sold. Since then, sales haven’t been swift. Yearly sales numbers in the USA bounce between 5,000 and 14,000. Canadians, however, seem to love them. Sales volumes in the Great White North hover around half the US volume. Not impressed? The entire Canadian market’s sales numbers are “smart-sized” compared to the United States. Heck, Smart outsells Maserati in Canada. Could it be that, like nationalized healthcare, the Canadians are up to something good? Or, just like healthcare, is this a good idea somewhere else, just not in the USA?
(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2015

2016 Mercedes GLA 250 Exterior-008

2015 Mercedes GLA 250 4Matic

2.0-liter DOHC I-4, turbocharged, CVVT (208 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 258 lbs-ft @ 1,250 rpm)

7-speed “7G-DCT” dual-clutch automatic

24 city/32 highway/27 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

26.5 (Observed, MPG)

Tested Options: 4Matic AWD, Driver Assistance package, Active Parking, Blind Spot Assist, Wood Trim, HID Lamps

Base Price:
As Tested:


* Prices include $925 destination charge.

Every luxury manufacturer is in a relentless pursuit downmarket. There are a few reasons for this but the most important are increasing volume, amortizing common development costs and snagging life-long brand loyalists as early as possible. The Mercedes GLA is the latest entry in a growing segment: small luxury crossovers.

Small luxury branded vehicles are nothing new to our European friends, but until recently BMW and Mercedes kept anything small and front-wheel drive far away from American hands. Until now. In 2014, Mercedes took their A-Class FWD hatch and made a sedan out of it. Calling it a “CLA”, the Civic-sized sedan was a runaway success starting at $31,000. Since crossovers are the hot segment to be in these days, it didn’t take Mercedes long to jack the CLA up and add a rear hatch to create the GLA.

Does the GLA have enough luxury to convince Ford Escape shoppers to jump up to a Mercedes? And perhaps more importantly: is it a real Mercedes?
(Read More…)

By on July 23, 2015


Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

(Read More…)

By on June 9, 2015

2016 Honda HR-V

They’re potent, popular and can’t be stopped. Everyone wants to buy one. Every dealer wants to sell one. Just like the crack-like epidemic of SUVs in the ’90s, the subcompact crossover is the blue meth of today.

Here’s what happened overnight.

(Read More…)

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