Our man Tim passed judgment on the diminutive Spark earlier this year after a stint behind the wheel of a rental, dragging it by the scruff of its neck around the American southwest. It appears he did so just in time because the subcompact bowtie hatchback ceases production this August.
Believe it or not, people do still actually buy small cars in this country. Yes, there’s a continuing mass exodus for SUVs and crossover-type vehicles but a few level-headed souls remain who choose to open their wallets for an affordable compact machine.
This migration of buyers has pushed several major automakers to put their efforts into this segment In The Bin which, fortunately for us, means the remaining competitors are some good’uns. One of the best? The little Mazda 3.
Like it or lump it, social media is now an outsized part of official corporate communications. It’s to the point where these channels have been seen exclusively used as platforms for official reveals of new models, depending on the demographic an automaker is trying to target. This time around, Toyota has snuck a shadowy reference to an upcoming hot hatch in the background of an otherwise innocuous post about the Corolla Hatchback.
We’ve covered the Civic sedan on these digital pages in the past, noting improvements in several areas over its predecessor save for one detail – a manual transmission. Honda gets it right with the ’22 hatch variant, offering a six-speed stick in this body style.
Sure, the build-n-price tool isn’t officially live on Honda’s site as of this writing but there’s no lack of information about this model on their media site. Which is the best bang for your Honda hatchback buck?
It might surprise readers to learn that the writing staff at TTAC do not spend the majority of their time in gullwinged supercars or week-old BMWs. We do occasionally put down the jar of Grey Poupon and clamber aboard practical cars – y’know, the type which people actually buy.
The humble Corolla is likely at or near the top of the list made by shoppers who want simple transportation. Your author knows more than a couple of people for whom Corolla could actually be a parallel for the term ‘default car’. This series examined the Civic a couple of months ago, so it’s only right we do the same for the other popular machine in this segment.
We’ll return to six-figure hypercars next week.
The Hyundai the Ioniq 5 compact crossover made its debut Monday evening and it’s another win for the brand’s styling department. Despite being known as budget-minded automakers by Hyundai and Kia have delivered some of the most interesting designs the industry has to offer and with surprising consistency. The Ioniq 5 simply carries that formula into a product line that offers a healthy variety of battery, powertrain, and charging options without aiming too high or low.
Based on the Hyundai 45 EV concept from 2019, the Ioniq crossover looks as though it could be a show vehicle. But Hyundai has confirmed that this is actually the production version. The model’s angular design is interesting in itself and requires minimal embellishment, though the Parametric Pixel headlamps are a great touch and really help set the vehicle apart. While it won’t be the car for everyone, it certainly has its charms and will turn plenty of heads until more automakers decide to ape its style.
A 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback test mule was spotted in Columbus, Ohio, sporting some of the most unnecessarily aggressive automotive camouflage in recent memory. But the thick black cladding wasn’t enough to mask what the 11th Gen Civic Forum immediately identified as a rear spoiler.
Historically, most of Honda’s design previews have been so close to the finished product that most of us don’t even bother referencing them as concept vehicles anymore. They’re akin to a final draft with a few embellishments that are likely to be toned down before anything hits the assembly line. But the 11th-generation Civic Sedan Concept came out looking like a Honda’s attempt at building the Volkswagen Jetta, leaving the manufacturer with a shortage of radical design cues to scale back.
The 2022 Honda Civic hatchback, the sportier sibling to the sedan revealed earlier, has been previewed by spy shots on the Civic XI forum as reported by CNET’s Roadshow. Added to the sedan, the hatchback will join the also likely-planned Si and Type R as the four permutations offered in the U.S.
Those of us in a certain age bracket, which is to say rapidly approaching our fortieth year or more, recall the Honda Civic as a primarily hatchback form of transportation. Sure, a few weirdos went and got the sedan or coupe but, by and large, the Civic was a hatchback. At least in our town.
Then, it suddenly disappeared from dealer lots in North America. The seventh-gen car was available in coupe or sedan form on this side of the pond, save for the slightly oddball Si and its bent-nail gearstick. Mercifully, it reappeared in volume for the current model.
We’ve studied the Civic sedan and coupe in this series but not the hatchback. Let’s right that wrong today.
I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of an Anglophile — at least in the automotive realm. I don’t take any interest in the drama surrounding England’s monarchy, nor do I drape my clothing with any form of the Union Jack. I’ve simply come to enjoy the cars of the British motoring industry.
After all, I did spend many nights and weekends as a kid rolling around a cold concrete floor, dusted in stale Castrol and kitty litter, helping to get my dad’s 1970 MGB running. I lost a pair of eyebrows to a massive backfire while sorting out tuning issues on the pair of SU carburetors. And I fondly recall the 2002 Mini Cooper S my dad and stepmother bought new — a car she still owns fifteen years after dad’s passing.
So when a new British car passes my way, I’m sure to take notice. Especially when it’s a car that has potential to create new young enthusiasts. This 2019 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition is one of those things — a bargain-price runabout that promises affordable fun.
Names and categories used to matter when referring to cars. Coupes used to have two doors, period. Porsche got a bunch of flak last week when they called their electric sedan a Turbo. Tesla uses the term Supercharger for a device that isn’t connected to a crankshaft with a big belt.
Click through to Kia’s website (open a new tab, please – don’t leave me here alone!) and you’ll note five distinct categories. Sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, and hybrids/electrics all follow the hot one – SUVs and Crossovers. Unsurprisingly, this 2019 Kia Soul sits right atop that list, though by any traditional automotive taxonomy this box is a hatchback. Peel back the sharp edges, however, and the Soul offers many of the advantages of a popular crossover without the compromises.
When exactly did it come to pass that hatchback versions of small cars were generally priced higher than their sedan counterparts? It’s not true in every example but, more often than not, one will shell out a few more simoleons for a five-door. I’ll posit that the original Ford Focus started this trend.
At least customers get a more practical car and, in many cases, a more stylish one.
Such is the case with Kia’s littlest family member. Its five-door variant is priced just ever so slightly above its two-box brother. The Korean automaker has a trophy case packed with Ace of Base awards, largely thanks to its strong value for money proposition. Let’s check this one out.
Badge-engineering is nothing new under the sun, especially for those of us who lived through Detroit’s offerings in the 1980s. Here in the 21st century, all hands are getting in on the action, with Toyotas appearing as Subarus and Nissans appearing as Chevys. This time around, the Big T is continuing to forge a relationship with Mazda, applying its Yaris nameplate to a small Hiroshima hatchback.
They’ve done more than just slap a badge on the thing, of course. Like the Yaris sedan, Toyota has grafted a tribute to the whisker fish to the 2’s nose during a fit of reconstructive surgery.
Last year, Aston Martin revealed that its Zagato line would receive a shooting brake variant of the Vanquish, issuing a teaser photo of the model in red. Then the company went silent, leaving many wondering what happened. Apparently there was no reason to worry, as Aston Martin just released a pretty robust series of images highlighting the vehicle’s bold styling.
With this much fanfare, it must be getting close to launch.