Tag Archives: Compact

2013 Car of the Year Nominees

North American Car Of The Year, Truck Face Close Finish

2013 North American Car of the Year Nominees: The 2013 North American Car of the Year award has come down to three high-style sedans, while the companion non-car finalists are scattered all over the newly redefined extremities of the North American Truck/Utility of the Year. Ford’s Fusion and the Cadillac ATS give the traditionally top two domestic companies each a finalist in the car competition, while Honda’s redesigned Honda Accord …

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2013 Mini Clubvan, Paceman

Mini Clubvan and Mini Paceman Preview: Mini is now the many. The brand that returned a decade ago to these shores with a single model in two trims now boasts more than half a dozen distinct offerings. After a 35-year absence, Mini came back to the U.S. for the 2002 model year with only its core product – a two-door, four-seat, hatchback coupe, available in Cooper and Cooper S trims. …

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Jetta Turbo Hybrid 2

Jetta Turbo Hybrid Combines Power, MPG

SANTA FE, N.M. — Driving down from the 8,000-foot altitude of Santa Fe, we descended toward a curve so I flicked the new Jetta’s shift lever and downshifted to fourth gear, and when the curves tightened up, I dropped it down to third, both to slow a bit and to be in the power band for accelerating out of the curve. Coaxing a good-handling sports sedan to trace those curves …

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Chevrolet spark red

You can do a lot better than Chevrolet’s Spark

Chevrolet’s Spark is a confusing car. Why? Chevy has a perfectly fine entry-level car, the Sonic. Why it felt a need to go bargain basement with its Spark, a Daewoo designed four-door micro or city car, seems like a decision from the pre-bankruptcy General Motors. The Spark is small, riding on a 93.5-inch wheelbase and weighing just 2,269 pounds in 2LT trim, as I drove it, with a four-speed automatic …

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Buick Verano and Buick Enclave

Buick Enhances Enclave, Verano for 2013

2013 Buick Enclave and 2013 Buick Verano Review: LOUISVILLE, KY. — Buick surprised a lot of observers by escaping the ax when General Motors tried to hold off an inevitable bankruptcy by eliminating the Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Saturn brands. It was a surprise because Pontiac always had been GM’s performance-oriented line, Oldsmobile had become an outlet for progressive and high-tech engines, and Saturn had been a younger oriented new-age brand, …

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Mini Cooper JCW 2

Mini Cooper’s JCW Coupe a Hot Little Number

2012 Mini Cooper’s JCW Coupe Review: The new Mini Cooper Coupe – the John Cooper Works, or JCW, edition – perked up my driveway. The Coupe is Mini’s new model, has no back seat and a lowered roofline that gives it a distinctive profile, and a more buglike appearance. With black paint and a red racing stripe – reversed on the red roof with a black racing stripe – the …

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Fiat 500 Abarth Gets Points for ‘Cute,’ Little Else

A co-worker called my black and white Fiat 500 Abarth the Beanie Baby of cars – Cute with a capital C. I like small cars, appreciate their efficiency, their fun factor and generally their lower cost. The Fiat 500 is cute almost to a fault. At its base Pop trim level it’s a fun subcompact that starts at an extremely attractive $15,500. The Abarth (Fiat tells us that’s pronounced AH-bart) …

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2012 Mitsubishi i SE

2012 Mitsubishi i SE Review: Be careful out there. That caution from an old cop drama on television is all you need to know about the 2012 Mitsubishi i—or, for that matter, any purely electric car. The i is the latest and least expensive electric vehicle marketed by a major manufacturer. Called the i MiEV (for Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) in its native Japan, it is a four-door hatchback just …

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