By on April 1, 2022

We reported on the leak of the Toyota GR Corolla yesterday, and as expected, the specs we reported on matched up.

(Read More…)

By on November 3, 2020

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

Volkswagen’s Golf R has always sat among the top of the hot-hatch class, along with the Subaru WRX STI and Honda Civic Type R.

And it’s re-done for 2022.

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By on August 16, 2020

The Hyundai Veloster remains an automotive oddity in a vehicle landscape rapidly shunning nonconformity, and for that, we give Hyundai credit. The car still exists. You author can still recall the first time he ever encountered one in the wild — in historic Vieux-Québec, with the “three-door” hatchback resting quietly under a streetlamp on those cobblestone streets.

A second-generation model landed in the latter part of 2018, with newfound power coming by way of the first N-badged Hyundai. With 250 horses and 260 lb-ft of torque, the Veloster N was a vehicle worthy of the hot hatch banner. And come 2021, it’ll be the only Veloster offered north of the border. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2020

Most examples of the popular first-generation Focus lived life as appliances. Use and abused, they filtered to the used car lots during the late 2000s alongside brethren like the Mercury Cougar and Jaguar S-Type. However, a select few were spared from such an ignominious fate by performance tuner Saleen. The Californian company took some new Foci and imbued them with extra performance.

Today’s Rare Ride is among the chosen — it’s the 2005 Saleen Focus.

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By on May 14, 2020

Everyone’s favorite German warm (hottish?) hatch debuted in eight-generation guise early this year, enticing purists with a profile and performance envelope not too dissimilar from what came before. Perfect for VW diehards.

The only problem here is that, despite pent-up anticipation for the Mk8 GTI, America’s favorite Golf variant isn’t about to arrive anytime soon. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2020

Recent trademark filings in Australia offered up tantalizing rumor fare for the hot hatch crowd, but the documents didn’t necessarily spell added future fun for Toyota-loving Americans. That, apparently, is now something they should expect.

The GR Corolla name will reportedly find a home on a three-cylinder version of the Corolla Hatchback — a vehicle whose piston count shouldn’t be scoffed at. (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2020

Very few quirky cars remain in today’s homogeneous vehicle landscape, but the Hyundai Veloster can count itself among that offbeat cohort. The Veloster N cranks up the fun quotient considerably, adding 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque to the oddball three-door package. More power can be drawn from the turbo 2.0-liter via a performance package.

A recent entry to the Hyundai lineup, the Veloster N has thus far been available only with a six-speed manual. No problem there, this writer says, but Hyundai clearly felt otherwise. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

There’s no question that Toyota wishes posters of its cars were found on the bedroom walls of more teenage boys, and, to its credit, it’s made headway on that goal. Supra, anyone? Then there’s the TRD Camry and Avalon, which might raise eyebrows if found in said posters.

That said, the injection of sport into the brand’s once staid lineup seems poised to target the lower end of things. We’ve seen the overseas GR Yaris, an exciting hot hatch not bound for these shores, but Toyota’s focus now seems to be turning to higher-volume small cars. This is where things could get interesting for North America. (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2020

honda

The landlord came around yesterday. No, your author was not in trouble for throwing raucous, all-night shindigs, nor was he in need of a hooked wire to unclog a bathroom sink. The purpose of this visit was automotive in nature.

My landlord had just purchased a car, you see, and was understandably feeling pretty damn proud about it. Instantly, his choice of ride fostered an online discussion about visibility. (Read More…)

By on February 26, 2020

Ever wonder what would happen if a division of Aston Martin decided to create a luxury sports hatchback for a select few wealthy customers? Wonder no more — it’s Tickford Metro time.

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By on February 20, 2020

Denizens of the United States, you should forget about the word “Golf” and just focus on the “GTI” designation. That’s all you’ll really need to know about, what with Volkswagen opting to ditch the slow-selling Golf in favor of the hotter (GTI) and hottest (R) variants of its compact hatch.

The final inhabitants of a rejiggered U.S. product lineup have yet to be set in stone, but the GTO variant of the upcoming eighth-generation Golf is surely on its way. Today brought our first glimpse of the model. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2020

Drivers in North America have urged Toyota to export the 268-horsepower GR Yaris pretty much since the day it was announced. There’s even a Change.org petition to get the European variant shipped to Canada. Still, it always seemed like an impossible dream. An ultra-powerful subcompact doesn’t have mass appeal here and the model isn’t actually the same car as the one sold in Japan.

However, Toyota may not leave North American consumers empty handed. The automaker has heard the Western wailing and is working on a plan to appease the market. While the GR Yaris may be a bridge too far, something akin to the hot hatch is reportedly in development to cover for its absence.  (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2019

2001 Volkswagen GTI GLX VR6 in Denver junkyard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBecause high-performance German cars require exactly the sort of regular maintenance and attention that most American car owners aren’t so good at doing, I find plenty of nice-looking factory-hot-rod Audis and VWs and Mercedes-Benzes during my junkyard travels. Most of those cars get scrapped because something expensive broke and the third or seventh owner wouldn’t or couldn’t spring for the repair.

Today’s Junkyard Find is different, though — here’s a GTI GLX that was running well enough to drive to the crash, found in a Denver-area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2019

What’s going on with the NISMO division these days? Though still a reputable supplier of Nissan performance parts, the in-house tuning division’s consumer vehicles leave a lot to be desired. While NISMO managed to elevate the Juke, especially in RS form, as well as the GT-R, most offerings have focused on providing models with a more sporting appearance — potentially with an upgraded suspension and some grabbier tires.

The Sentra is a prime example. In NISMO trim, it rides a bit lower, is more rigid, and comes with its own tires and wheels, but that’s the full extent of the performance upgrades on offer from Nissan. Everything else is cosmetic — a shame considering it could really use more than 188 hp. The NISMO 350Z did better by incorporating shockingly aggressive aerodynamic upgrades and a hardcore suspension but, once again, added no power.

This emphasis on style and handling has forced the performance arm to partially retreat from the U.S. market, leaving the focus on parts supply. But new consumer models still crop up in other areas of the world, with the Nissan Versa Note Nismo S Black Edition being the latest.  (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2019

Today’s Rare Ride wears a lot of different badges. The most important ones are Fiat, Ritmo, and Abarth. Come and check out the sportiest version of the final evolution of Fiat’s replacement for the long-lived 128.

(Read More…)

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