2011 Ford Fiesta

2011 Ford Fiesta

I'll admit--I'm no expert on the '80s, other than the occasional cable music channel marathon on the subject, but I can't help but notice a pattern between economic downturns and the rise of hatchbacks.

The '80s were a decade of really challenging times--at least as far car designs went. While we dug out from the last epic recession, car companies built such hatchback classics as the Mazda 323, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic and the same from Toyota in the Tercel format, just to name a few.

Now as the economy around the world does stomach-turning flips, we're seeing the revival of cars like those eco-warriors of the past. Here are just a few of the small cars aiming to make a comeback--or a debut:

VW Polo: VW will introduce its new sub-Golf-size Polo at the 2009 Geneva motor show in March ’09.  At the 2009 Detroit auto show it was reported by Automotive News that VW would indeed bring the Polo Stateside. With a 97-inch wheelbase this car would be poised to compete with the Ford Fiesta, which is planned to make a debut in the U.S. in 2010, as well as, the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit.

2011 Ford Fiesta: I know what you are all thinking...they are bringing back that boxy thing again? Why don't you just reinvent the Festiva? Well, give them half a second and they might, but until then let us delve into more about this revival. The Ford Fiesta is already for sale in other parts of the world, but it is supposed to be unveiled and available to U.S. buyers in 2010 for the 2011 model year.

TheCarConnection.com has already seen and sat in the 2011 Fiesta, and has some insight as to what we will see from Ford's first line of "global models." So far, we know the four-door sedan is a go for the U.S. Also, Ford has promised that the new Fiesta won't be the typical entry level "econobox" and it will surprise people with its upscale and well-appointed cabin. One of these intended upgrades is a dual-clutch transmission. Estimated to weigh 30 pounds less than a traditional automatic, Ford's spokesman says that they intend to put this transmission in all of the company's B- and C-class cars (Fiesta, Focus and Fusion). Other upgrades from other entry-level autos in this class is likely to be the Sync system that is widely advertised on the current Ford Focus. The expectation is that this newcomer will come in under the base price of the Ford Focus, under $15,000 for sure.

Audi A1: If you're in the market for an upper end hatchback, then Audi may have your number with the A1. It is speculated that the production version will look close to the concept car that was premiered at the 2008 Paris auto show. To ensure fun at the bottom end of the size spectrum, Audi will include the 250-hp 2.0-liter TFSI in an S1 quattro as part of the engine range. The production version is expected to be a part of the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. For you environmentally conscious motorists, Audi plans to introduce a hybrid version of the A1 about a year after the main launch.

If you can’t wait and need a set of eco-friendly wheels today, check out the likes of the 2009 Honda Fit, the 2009 Toyota Yaris, the Hyundai Accent, the 2009 Kia Rio (also offered in a five-door) and the Chevrolet Aveo. We have the photos and pricing information right here at AllSmallCars.com--and if you're looking for full reviews and the Bottom Line from High Gear Media's team of car experts, cruise over to TheCarConnection.com.