Tag: Subcompact

By on July 26, 2021

Audi is discontinuing the A1, citing Europe’s regulatory landscape as the main cause. Eager to limit the amount of CO2 coming out of tailpipes, the European Union has placed strict limits on petroleum-powered passenger vehicles. For Audi, the price of manufacturing a subcompact automobile-dependent upon internal combustion is getting too high. Installing a smaller motor would negatively impact drivability while slotting in a hybrid powertrain means more R&D costs and jacking up the MSRP to a point where consumers might lose interest.

There’s just not much incentive to build small, efficient vehicles when the profit margins have been made razor thin and people aren’t buying them in great numbers. And this is a lesson that’s being learned by all automakers, not just those associated to Volkswagen Group.  (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2020

Released in tandem with a series of meaningful updates to the gargantuan Armada, Nissan has decided to give the subcompact Kicks a few embellishments of its own for the 2021 model year. While not nearly as comprehensive as its three-row sibling, the updates similarly build upon the existing platform by making small changes customers were undoubtedly harping upon.

Outside, the refreshed Kicks gets a new grille, fog lamps, tail lamps, updated bumpers, and some optional LED headlights. The combination makes the model look like a baby Rogue and brings it in line with Nissan’s current design language. There are also some novel paint options with the manufacturer likewise allowing customers to order two-tone schemes with a black roof. (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2020

Toyota

You won’t like it when it’s angry. Actually, you might, as the Toyota Yaris Cross small crossover seems to have not a mean bone in its body.

Boasting just three cylinders underhood whether in gas-only or hybrid guise, the Yaris Cross is what happens when enthusiasm for subcompact hatchbacks starts to wane, but the automaker doesn’t want to spoil what it already has going for it in that segment. (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 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 27, 2018

2018 Nissan Kicks, Image: Nissan

Replacing the toenails-for-turn-signals Juke, Nissan created the Kicks and has been showing it off for some time now. Scheduled to appear on dealer lots later this spring, the company has been mum on pricing, no doubt in an effort to not show its hand in the murderously competitive subcompact crossover segment.

The Canadian arm of the company apparently has no such concerns, releasing pricing details this morning for that market. Safe to say, Nissan is angling for the budget crown, as its base price of $17,995 undercuts its competitors in the land of maple syrup and hockey sticks.

(Read More…)

By on January 31, 2018

2018 Honda Fit Sport front quarter

I’m on the record with my assertion that the minivan is the perfect family vehicle. A low floor and high roof combine to provide maximum space for both humans and cargo. For those who don’t need to haul five kids to Walley World every week, however, the classic hatchback gives much of that minivan flexibility in a condensed, occasionally fun-to-drive package. The modern subcompact hatch isn’t the penalty box that littered American roads in the late Malaise Era.

My two kids had a packed weekend between softball, soccer, and cheerleading. Carrying all the required equipment, including camp chairs and coolers, would be taxing for nearly any car. And yet, we had one of the smallest cars I’ve ever driven at our disposal, a 2018 Honda Fit Sport. Did the Fit fit everything that needed to, um, fit?

(Read More…)

By on April 26, 2017

2017 Honda Fit LX

Eight months ago, we took a sojourn through the build and price tool for the Honda Fit LX. Since then, Honda’s increased the price and added a paint option.

So far in 2017, the Fit has sold at a more rapid pace than last year, despite the addition of an HR-V that logically should have cannibalized some Fit sales. As we well know, logic has no place in the car business. Perhaps shoppers are being lured to Honda showrooms by the new HR-V, then flipped by an alert member of the sales staff to the more affordable Fit.

Let’s see what one gets for their extra Fit cash in 2017.

(Read More…)

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…)

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