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Posts Tagged ‘hot hatch’

Buick Takes on the Import Hot Hatch Crowd With 310-hp Regal GS

“A driver-focused, engaging and entertaining” 5-door sportback.

by on Jul.19, 2017

Buick bulks up at it brings back the Regal GS with a new 310-hp V-6.

Narrowly sidestepping oblivion when General Motors emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, the Buick brand has since set out to make itself relevant again, scoring some moderate gains with an assortment of small, medium and large SUVs. But the big challenge has been reaching younger, hipper buyers for whom Buick remains all but invisible.

That just might happen with the latest entry into the Buick line-up, the new Regal GS taking direct aim at some of the latest import hot hatches. Making a solid 310 horsepower and 282 pound-feet of torque, it actually delivers a bit more power than the new Honda Civic Type-R, in fact. And the Regal RS sends torque to all four wheels, rather than just the front two.

Power to the People!

“With the all-new 2018 Regal GS, we set out to make a driver-focused, engaging and entertaining sport sedan without sacrificing the smooth ride and refined character expected of any modern Buick,” said Martin Hayes, the chief engineer for the five-door sportback.

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First Drive: 2017 Honda Civic Type-R

Honda aims to rule the "hot hatch" category.

by on Jun.14, 2017

The 2017 Honda Civic Type-R finally reaches U.S. showrooms after a two-decade wait.

Pity the poor American driver. Sure, they have plenty of options to choose from, but many of the most intriguing alternatives haven’t made it into U.S. showrooms. Until recently, that included some of the most exciting offerings in the hot hatch segment, like the Ford Focus RS and the Honda Civic Type-R.

We’ll have to wait a bit longer to get our hands on the Blue Oval’s entry, but we had the good fortune to spend a long weekend in Montreal, first sitting back to watch the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix and then logging some track time of our own behind the wheel of the Type-R, the first version of the Honda five-door rocket ever to reach the U.S. market.

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The latest and last entry into the largest line-up of Civic alternatives ever, the Type-R is also the most powerful, delivering a blistering 306 horsepower to the front wheels. From first glance, the five-door is also the most audacious, with the sort of aero treatment you’d expect on something specifically designed for the track. But it’s all functional, and despite some concerns about Honda’s decision to stay with a front, rather than all-wheel-drive layout, it all magically comes together. And with a starting price as much as $5,000 less than key competitors, this hot hatch seems destined to become a hot ticket. (more…)

Honda Adds Hatchback to Expanding Civic Line-Up

Concept in name only.

by on Mar.01, 2016

Honda adds yet another member to its Civic family with the Geneva debut of the 5-door hatchback.

Officially, it’s just a concept vehicle. But don’t let that fool you.

The Civic Hatchback the Japanese automaker has unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show will soon be rolling into showrooms with only the most modest of changes. And it won’t look all that much different from the Civic Coupe concept that kicked things into gear last spring at the New York Auto Show – which is good news considering the raves the new compact line has been getting.

Best of the Best!

Honda plans to offer more variants than ever before once this generation of Civics is complete, from its mainstay sedan to the sporty Civic Type-R finally set to reach American shores.

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Ford Pumps Up Fiesta with ST200 Edition

Hot hatch upgrade debuting in Geneva.

by on Feb.29, 2016

The new Ford Fiesta ST200 can make up to 217 horsepower in its overboost mode.

Ford is heating up the hot hatch wars with the Geneva Motor Show debut of the new Fiesta ST200.

Already one of the sportiest entries in the subcompact class, the new Ford Fiesta ST200 gets a big pump in performance out of its 1.6-liter EcoBoost enging, generating up to 212 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque in overboost mode.

Auto Show News!

“The ST200 takes this special drivers’ car to a new level of power and performance,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “I think it’s a future classic in the.”

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Ford Fills in the Performance Blanks on New Focus RS

A clue? It’s quick.

by on Sep.16, 2015

Ford had only promised to deliver "well in excess of 315 hp" when first showing the Focus RS.

Seven months after it first lifted the covers off the new Focus RS, Ford is finally revealing the hot hatch’s performance numbers. And they suggest the high-performance model could get the best of its competition.

Entering a fast-growing segment filled with the likes of the VW Golf R and Subaru WRX STI, the new Ford Focus RS is the Detroit maker’s most aggressive pitch yet to the hip, young performance fans who often influence more mainstream buyers. And it highlights the launch of an all-new Ford Performance division late last year.

Pushing the Limits!

“The all-new Focus RS will bring the legendary nameplate to a new generation of global customers for `the first time,” including those in the U.S., said Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance. “Focus RS delivers stunning performance and innovative technology at a price that will make both enthusiast consumers and premium automakers look twice.”

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Ford Fills in the Blanks on New Focus RS

Hot hatch delivers some surprises.

by on Jun.25, 2015

Ford revealed a bit more information about the coming-later-this-year Focus RS, including the 345 horsepower under the hood.

Ford left some gaping holes in the story when it unveiled the Focus RS at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year – starting with the number of ponies it planned to pack under the hood.

Sure, something “well in excess of 315 horsepower” got our attention. But we stood up and took notice when we received word today that the precise number will be 345 horsepower – and 324 pound-feet of torque. Oh, and did we mention that the turbocharged EcoBoost engine will be capable of bumping that up to 347 lb-ft for 15 seconds at a time?

Product News!

That should make for an interesting launch at the stoplight or a great run down the straights for anyone who might have the chance to log some track time in the new Ford Focus RS. (more…)

Volkswagen Doubles Up for Worthersee

VW unveils Golf GTE Sport and GTI Clubsport during annual fest.

by on May.14, 2015

VW envisions a track-ready version of its GTE battery car making nearly 400 hp in plug-in form.

Hot hatch fans gather each year in the Austrian town of Worthersee for the latest news from Volkswagen AG. And the automaker isn’t about to disappoint them this year. In fact, it’s rolling out a pair of offerings at the event.

That includes both the 287-horsepower GTI Clubsport concept and the Golf GTE Sport, a carbon fiber-bodied, 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid. Think of the latter model as a zero-emissions race car, VW suggests.

High-Performance News!

The two concept vehicles hint at the direction Volkswagen is taking as it continues to expand the award-winning “family” of Golf variants which already covers a broad range from basic econocar to high-performance hot hatch, with diesel and battery-car versions thrown into the mix.

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European Honda Civic Hatch and Type R Could be US-Bound

Hot hatch buyers could benefit from strong dollar, weak European sales.

by on Mar.20, 2015

Honda introduced the Civic Type R in Geneva.

Honda generated plenty of buzz when it unveiled the new Civic Type R in Geneva earlier this month – though it was more like a chorus of groans here in the U.S. when the maker said it had no plans to bring the hot hatch to the States.

Well, that might be about to change. According to a report out of Japan, Honda apparently is rethinking its decision. It appears quite likely American buyers will soon have the opportunity to buy the standard-issue hatchback which would be imported from a plant in England. And the Civic Type R could also be U.S.-bound.

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“We’ve made no announcements,” stressed Steve Kinkade, a Detroit-based Honda spokesman. But he also would not discuss the Japanese maker’s plans for its news conference at the upcoming New York Auto Show.

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First Drive: 2015 Volkswagen Golf R

Taking things to the next level.

by on Feb.27, 2015

The 2015 Golf R adds another strong entry to the expanding Golf hatchback family.

What do you do when you’ve nabbed some of the industry’s top honors? How do you one-up yourself after being named both North American Car of the Year, as well as Motor Trend Car of the Year.  If you’re Volkswagen, you take things to the next level with the launch of the new Golf R.

With its turbocharged, 292-horsepower inline-four, a pavement grabbing all-wheel-drive system and an electronic differential lock designed to keep you always pointed in the right direction, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R is more than just the sportiest member of the fast-growing Golf “family.” It’s also the sort of product the German maker needs to kick-start a brand that has been unable to take advantage of the overall recovery of the U.S. car market.

The Last Word!

If you think this is just a slightly upgraded version of the GTI, well, you need to spend a little time behind the wheel of the new Golf R. Preferably on some fast roads with plenty of aggressive corners. We were lucky enough to be handed a set of keys and a route map that took us into the winding mountain passes east of San Diego – with, of course, a stop for some pie in Julian, a pleasant little mountain town that time has virtually passed by.

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Ford Bringing New Focus RS to US for 1st Time

Performance hatchback will adopt new AWD system with dynamic torque vectoring.

by on Feb.03, 2015

The new Ford Focus RS will make "in excess of" 315 hp, possibly quite in excess.

Ford will be giving compact performance fans a new option, the maker today rolling out an all-new version of its hot hatch Focus RS – and confirming will come to the U.S. market for the first time.

Part of an ambitious plan to significantly expand its presence in the performance market, the new RS will be one of the fastest and best-handling models in the Ford line-up, company officials promised during a preview staged in both Cologne, Germany and at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

Auto Insight!

“The RS is the next extension of our plan to bring out 12 (performance) vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, from the suburban Detroit end of the unveiling.

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