Tag: Hatchback

By on February 26, 2020

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.

(Read More…)

By on February 6, 2020

2019 Mini Cooper Oxford front quarter

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.

(Read More…)

By on September 9, 2019

2020 Kia Soul profile

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.

(Read More…)

By on June 19, 2019

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.

(Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

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.

(Read More…)

By on December 4, 2018

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. (Read More…)

By on October 24, 2018

“No one wants small cars!” is the battle cry from a couple of American OEMs, primarily the one with a blue oval for its logo and a person sitting at the head table whose surname is on the building.

Toyota would like to have a word about that. Actually, so would Hyundai and a few other carmakers who seem to be doing just fine cranking out gee-whiz examples of small cars.

Like this Corolla Hatchback, for instance.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2018

Despite a public hell-bent on buying trucks and crossovers, Nissan is boldly continuing to forge paths and spend money in the sedan and subcompact categories. As Tim noted earlier this week, the company’s optimism in those segments comes at an interesting time.

We can now chalk another one up in the small car department for Nissan, by way of the 2019 Nissan Versa Note. This diminutive little hatch wears clothes that differ greatly from its sedan brother, a trait for which it should be thankful.

(Read More…)

By on June 18, 2018

1996 BMW 318ti in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe most affordable BMW in the United States, during the middle years of the E36 platform, was the 318ti. A four-cylinder hatchback, it sold for about two-thirds the price of a six-cylinder 328 sedan or coupe.

In 1996, buyers could get a version with a huge canvas-covered sunroof, known as the California Edition, and that’s what I have found in a Denver-area self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2018

Regular readers of this Ace of Base series (all three of you) know a sure-fire way into my penny-pinching heart is for a manufacturer to offer a bright palette of no-charge colors on the cheapest trim of a particular model.

Helios Yellow? Aegean Blue? Milano Red? The fabulously-named Orange Fury shown here? Honda will slather them all (well, one per car) on its base Fit, the LX. Let’s dive in.

(Read More…)

By on April 4, 2018

2018 Chevy Spark

Question for ya. When does it become imperative that one must have a new car? The 2018 Chevy Spark shown here stickers for a mere $13,050 before incentives (and, yes, there are incentives, even at the Ace of Base end of the market.) Thirteen large can buy a heckuva used car, after all.

I’ll tell you when it becomes imperative: the minute a full warranty becomes more important than being thrifty. Whatever the reason, there’s intangible value in having a reliable commuter car or sending a family member into the big bad world in a car that won’t leave them stranded with an unexpected repair bill. As much as some of us would like to, it’s not always realistic to drive $1,000 Malaise-era clunkers.

(Read More…)

By on February 14, 2018

2018 Toyota Yaris

At the instant noodle end of the Toyota showroom, cars come in three flavors: Good, Better, and Mildly Spicy (L, LE, SE). Within these trims, few options are offered, unlike domestic truck manufacturers who very nearly allow their customers to order their rigs a la carte. Of course, there’s a lot more profit in trucks, so they’re worth the trouble.

The littlest Toyota, which definitely wins an award for Most Entertaining Windshield Wiper, is now packed to the gunwales compared to the cheap seats hawked by the manufacturer in past years.

(Read More…)

By on July 19, 2017

2018 Buick Regal GS rear - Image: Buick“This is a sport sedan designed for everyday driving,” Buick’s vice president Duncan Aldred said of the unveiling of the 2018 Buick Regal GS today, “but one that makes every drive special.”

We’ll be the judge of how special a drive the next-generation Buick Regal GS provides in the real world, but the on-paper formula certainly goes down smooth.

Priced at $39,990, the 2018 Buick Regal GS forsakes four-cylinder power in favor of the 3.6-liter V6 we told you about more than three months ago before receiving further confirmation last week. The V6 sends 310 horsepower and 282 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Manual option? No.

The GS is the top trim in a lineup that no longer features a true sedan. While the TourX is not destined to receive the GS moniker, this Regal Sportback brings its high-performance derivative under the $40K mark. (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2017

2017 Lexus CT200h - Image: LexusThe current 2017 model year will be the last for the Lexus CT200h.

An indirect successor to the Lexus HS250h sedan, the Lexus CT200h will end a seven-year model run in the United States that resulted in more than 90,000 sales.

Imported from Miyawaka, Japan, the Lexus CT has seen its average U.S. monthly output fall 58 percent over the last three years. Never a tremendously popular entry-level luxury car, the hybrid-only Lexus was forced to compete against very successful luxury sedans from Mercedes-Benz and Audi — CLA and A3, respectively — in the latter portion of its tenure.

The Lexus couldn’t compete. (Read More…)

By on May 24, 2017

[Kletr/Bigstock.com]

It’s always fun to see how the other half lives. In Europe, thanks in part to narrow roads that wind between ancient monuments and fuel prices several orders of magnitude greater than our own, small cars are king. When Citroën left our market in 1974, its only offering was the great-when-it-worked SM coupe.

These days, Citroën hawks a large range of cars on the other side of the pond. Compared to small base cars on our shores, does the C1 exhibit radical ideas or a dose of common sense? Whatever it is, there’s scads of it scattered all over the thing.

(Read More…)

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