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Posts Tagged ‘subcompacts’

Hazumi Concept “Foreshadows” Maker’s Next Mazda2

Latest SkyActive design.

by on Mar.04, 2014

The new Hazumi Concept is expected to receive relatively minor tweaks before transforming into the next Mazda2.

Over the years, we have learned to pay close attention when Mazda rolls out a new concept vehicle.  Chances are that we’ll see the design again, as even the most extreme show cars tend to have a clear influence on the Japanese maker’s upcoming production models.

So it seems to be with the new Mazda Harumi Concept making its debut outing at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The little prototype is, according to the maker, a “foreshadowing” of what’s to come when it launches its next-generation Mazda2 minivar.

What a Concept!

In sharp contrast to some of its more conservative Asian rivals, Mazda has been pushing the limits of design and using its show cars to gauge both media and consumer reaction.  And if the Harumi is any indication, it could strike a responsive chord with those who’ve grown tired of the formula that has long contended that buyers on a budget must settle for bland and boring econoboxes.

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Nissan Versa Note Reveals New Direction for Subcompact Hatchback

Maker pitching new design, higher mileage, added features.

by on Jan.15, 2013

Nissan debuts the new hatchback version of the Versa at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.

The Nissan Versa Note, which goes on sale at Nissan dealers in the United States in summer 2013, will offer a new look and several key innovations for buyers searching for an entry-level hatchback.

The subcompact segment in which the new Versa Note competes has become one of the most competitive in the industry and also one of the most robust as both young buyers looking for their first new vehicle and older buyers start to downsize. In addition, buyers sensitive to the price of fuel are also moving into the segment and Nissan has tried to capitalize on the trends by offering more utility in an affordable package.

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The little hatchback debuting at the North American International Auto Show boasts a new design direction — with a steeply sloped windshield and sculpted body panels — and features new technology for the entry segment, including the “Around View” Monitor, which fulfills Nissan’s broad effort to deliver “innovation” to all product segment.

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Fiat Pulls Cover off Stretched 500L

Is longer really better?

by on Mar.06, 2012

The new 500L is about 2 feet -- and 2 doors -- longer than the original Fiat 500.

“Bigger is better,” or so goes the classic American mantra, something that led to the gigantosauruses that once ruled U.S. highways.  Fiat, on the other hand, was one of a growing number of makers that opted for the idea that small is beautiful.

Or so it seemed with last year’s launch of the pint-sized Fiat 500.  The little Cinquecento has been going momentum in recent months, after a dreadful launch, but it’s probably no surprised that as they rewrite the brand strategy Fiat officials are also wondering whether bigger – at least a little bit bigger, anyway – might indeed be better.

Insight!

They’ll soon find out, thanks to the Fiat 500L, the stretched version of the minicar that’s now on display at the Geneva Motor Show.  The stretch model adds “practicality and substance,” declared the Italian maker’s global brand chief Olivier Francois – which translates into two more doors and an extra two feet, nose-to-tail.

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First Look: 2011 Ford Fiesta

Ford's European small car finally ready for American debut.

by on Dec.02, 2009

The most "Euro-centric" version of the 2011 Ford Fiesta, the 5-door could get American motorists back into hatchbacks.

The most "Euro-centric" version of the 2011 Ford Fiesta, the 5-door could get American motorists back into hatchbacks.

For a small car, the new 2011 Ford Fiesta has a big mission ahead of it.

Fiesta is the European-designed small car that has garnered a slew of awards for the automaker since its introduction, two years ago.  It’s also the first serious attempt to translate Ford’s Continental design and engineering into a vehicle that meets the needs and desires of American motorists.

In years past, the automaker would likely have developed separate products for the U.S. and Europe – if it brought out such a small car in the States, at all. That’s one reason small cars like Fiesta have been big money losers in this country.  But by spreading out costs on a platform that could eventually account for 1 million sales, worldwide, Ford is betting it will actually make money on Fiesta – and also be able to pass some of the savings to consumers in the form of a car that breaks from the traditional mold of boring, stripped-down Detroit econobox.

Small Cars, Big News!

Small Cars, Big News!

What’s clear is that U.S. buyers are becoming much more open to small cars, which have seen their share of the market surge from just 14.0% in 2004 to 21.6% for the first 10 months of 2008.  The problem for Ford is that Japanese and Korean imports, such as the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit, have dominated the various small car segments.

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