Hot Hatch

  • 2014 MINI Cooper automatic, Bear Mountain, NY, May 2014

    The all-new, third-generation 2014 MINI Cooper three-door hatchback--now called "Hardtop" by MINI--sports a longer nose, a new 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, and an interior that at last cleans up some of the disastrous ergonomics of the previous cars. Specifically, the round display in the center of the dashboard is now solely a display screen, with proper instruments at last in a conventional cluster behind the steering wheel. DON'T MISS: 2014 MINI Cooper First Drive That round display in the center of the dash harkened back to the single central speedometer on the original Morris...

  • 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS, Catskill Mountains, NY, July 2013
    Small And Fast, But Efficient? 3 Hot Hatchbacks, Pros & Cons

    More or less coincidentally, we've recently tested three hot hatchbacks: the Chevrolet Sonic RS, the Fiat 500c Abarth, and the MINI John Cooper Works Paceman All4. (The Fiat was actually the Cabrio version of the Abarth hot-rod model with the roll-back cloth roof, not a hatchback--but for all...

  • 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS, Catskill Mountains, NY, July 2013
    2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS: How Hot Is Chevy's Sporty Hatch?

    The Chevrolet Sonic subcompact was an impressive offering when we tested both a 1.8-liter LT hatchback and a 1.4-liter LTZ sedan almost two years ago. Now, with the advent of the 2013 Chevy Sonic RS sports model, we had a chance to revisit the car--and we remain impressed. The RS version uses the...

  • 2013 MINI John Cooper Works Paceman ALL4, New York City
    2013 MINI Paceman John Cooper Works: We Ask 'Why?'

    Every once in a while, we end up driving a car that leaves us utterly confused. The 2013 MINI Cooper Paceman John Cooper Works ALL4 we drove for a day last week is one such vehicle. It's striking, but far less functional than the MINI Countryman from which it's derived. The handling is decent, but...

  • 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio, Catskill Mountains, NY, July 2013
    2013 Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio: Fun But Far From Fuel-Efficient

    Although we hate to say it here, for certain cars, sometimes gas mileage really just doesn't matter that much. That's our verdict on the 2013 Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio, the new convertible version of the hot-hatch 500 Abarth minicar--the one whose television ad people are still talking about. Just in...

  • 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD
    2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD Diesel Hot Hatch Returns 50+ MPG

    Following yesterday’s leak of the new e-Golf electric variant of Volkswagen’s latest MkVII Golf, comes the first photos and specs for the latest Golf GTD diesel-powered hot hatch. Volkswagen has been offering high-performance Golf diesels since 1982, but so far none have ever been...

  • 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS

    The 2012 Chevy Sonic subcompact launched this year to largely favorable reviews, including our own (here and here). For next year, Chevy is upping the ante, with a turbocharged 2013 Sonic RS model that's meant to take the littlest U.S.-built Chevrolet into hot-hatch territory. The Sonic RS will be formally launched at next month's 2012 Detroit Auto Show. It's the production version of the Chevrolet Aveo RS concept revealed two years ago at the 2010 Detroit show (the Sonic is known in the rest of the world as the Chevrolet Aveo). Same engine, new gear ratios The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS will...

  • 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth
    Next Fiat 500 Minicar: Abarth 'Hot Hatch' Sports Version

    The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth model to be launched in November at the 2011 LA Auto Show will be the fastest, best-handling model yet in the growing Fiat 500 minicar line.

  • 2011 Mazda2 exterior and detail
    2011 Mazda Mazda2: First Drive Report

    The 2011 Mazda Mazda2 subcompact had a somewhat strange introduction, with the car itself unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show but the interior not displayed until three months later. Nevertheless, Mazda's sporty little subcompact is headed for dealerships this fall, starting at the remarkably low...

  • 2009 fiat 500 convertible 500c 2 021
    2011 Fiat 500 Mini-Car On Sale By End of Year, Chrysler Says

    Well, here's some good news: We have less than a year to wait before the neat little Fiat 500 hatchback goes on sale at selected Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealers. When it arrives, it'll be Chrysler's greenest car by a pretty big margin. EPA fuel efficiency ratings haven't yet been issued for the...

  • 2011 Mazda Mazda2
    2011 Mazda2 Interior Revealed, Only 3 Months After The Car

    When Mazda launched its 2011 Mazda2 subcompact hatchback at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show, many journalists noted that the doors were locked--and the windows were tinted so no one could see inside. Why? Because Mazda hadn't finished work on the interior. Well, now it's February, and they're...

  • 2011 Audi A1 and Justin Timberlake on LA photo shoot
    Preview: 2011 Audi A1 Subcompact Sports Hatchback

    As luxury automakers focus more on how to extend their brand into smaller packages that maintain the prestige and performance of their larger models, Audi has a few advantages. Its new 2011 Audi A1 subcompact hatchback can draw on the full experience of its parent, Volkswagen Group, while selling...

  • MazdaSpeed2 concept, 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show

    Sometimes the most interesting cars at auto shows are the ones the manufacturers don't talk about. As expected, Mazda unveiled its new 2011 Mazda2 subcompact at the Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday. The company also showed a couple of concept versions, including one called "Mazda 2Evil" that we really liked. According to Mazda, it was "inspired by the weekend track car" but is meant to function equally well in "urban commuter" duty. The body has a variety of aero enhancements: an aggressive front spoiler, deeper side rockers, a redesigned upper spoiler, and a lower diffuser. The suspension has...

  • 2010 Dodge Caliber R/T
    2010 Dodge Caliber: Fewer Engines, 30 MPG Highway, Better Interior

    The Dodge Caliber hatchback has never been at the top of our compact-car list, in part because of its lousy gas mileage compared to the competition. Now, Chrysler has simplified its engine and drivetrain options to improve the gas mileage of the 2010 Dodge Caliber slightly, along with its platform...

  • 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3
    2010 MazdaSpeed3: Sporty Green Sizzle, Zoom-Zoom Style

    Once in awhile, High Gear Media editors get lucky. Last Thursday, our own Bengt Halvorson managed to snag a drive in the 2010 Mazda MazdaSpeed3 before any other reporter. Which means those sites that just posted their reviews yesterday (they know who they are ...) were just a tad behind the curve...