An all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback has materialized sporting Mercedes-Benz’s latest design language and technology and premiering its new MBUX infotainment system.
Unveiled at an event in Amsterdam, the fourth-generation A-Class retains the same overall shape of its predecessor but features fewer creases and new LED headlights that are slimmer. The hood slopes at a steeper angle into a pointier snout, while the rear looks wider for a sleeker appearance.
A drag coefficient of just 0.25 and optional active grille shutters are said to make the Mercedes hatchback the most aerodynamic model in the compact class.
While the exterior doesn’t deviate too much from the previous model, the interior has been completely overhauled and is “a class” above (pun intended). Like the new G-Class, it adopts the look and feel of the S-Class and all other modern Mercedes cockpits, omitting the traditional cowl in favor of an unbroken wing-shape dashboard that’s highlighted by dual displays. Lower trim levels get a 7.0-inch screen, while premium packages come with 10.25-inch panels.
The new A-Class is the first model to offer Mercedes-Benz new MBUX multimedia system, which uses artificial intelligence algorithms to learn the driver’s preferences. It is also available with head-up display, Car-to-X communication, the Vehicle Tracker and the Mercedes Me app collection.
In Europe, power is provided by the choice of two gasoline engines — 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the 2.0-liter turbo making 163- and 221 horsepower, respectively — or a diesel mill with 114 ponies. All models come equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Despite being the smallest and most affordable Mercedes you can get, the new A-Class offers nearly all of the S-Class’ active safety and assistance systems.
The new Mercedes-Benz appears to be a very high-quality and promising subcompact, but it won’t be offered in America. Canada will get it, but just not the Good Ol’ U.S.A.
Americans have made it clear with their wallets that they don’t like hatchbacks, so they’ll have to settle for the sedan version of the A-Class.
Fiat 500 Lineup Goes All Turbo For 2018
Fiat used the 2018 Chicago Auto Show to announce that every version of the North American-spec. Fiat 500 lineup will now be powered by a turbocharged engine.
The 2018 Fiat 500 Pop and Lounge models are now powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque — 34 more standard horsepower than the previous model year — while the performance-tuned 500 Abarth makes dues with a funner 1.4-liter turbocharged engine rated at 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Pop and Lounge models also get standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, performance braking system, sport suspension and a rear backup camera. Relatively unchanged, the Abarth adds 16-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels wraped in Pirelli tires, red brake calipers, and a “double-tip” dual-exhaust system.
Fiat’s designers revised the exterior of all three models, giving them updated front and rear fascias, side-sill ground effects, a new spoiler, fog lamps, and “Turbo” badging on the liftgate. as well as three new colors (Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl and Vesuvio Black Pearl).
These changes should help breathe a little life into the Fiat 500 lineup, which has been struggling to find buyers. However, considering the 500 is now over eight years old (13 years in some global markets), what Fiat really needs is an all-new model.
What do you think about the changes?
Kia Rio GT-Line Brings More Attitude To Rio Lineup
Kia has injected a dose of attitude in its Rio subcompact hatchback, giving us the Kia Rio GT-Line.
As a slightly sportier version of the Rio, the new Kia Rio GT-Line further expands Kia’s lineup of GT models in Europe, which includes the Sportage GT , Picanto GT and Sorento GT. It features a gloss-black and chrome ‘tiger-nose’ grille, standard LED daytime running lights, ‘ice-cube’ LED fog lamps, chrome window trim, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, twin exhaust tips, and a gloss black roof spoiler.
Inside, one finds a new ‘D-cut’ leather steering wheel and seats finished in a combination of black synthetic leather and cloth with contrast grey stitching, new metallic trim on the door switches and gear lever, and a new carbon fiber effect finish on the dashboard.
The Rio GT is powered by a 1.0L three-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission, producing 118 horsepower and 126 lb-ft. of torque. That’s not quite as much as you’d find in the similarly-sized Ford Fiesta ST, VW Polo GTI and Renault Clio RS, but it is an improvement.
It is also offered with the regular Rio’s 1.25- or 1.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines, but they pack less power — 83 and 98 hp, respectively — and are paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Kia Rio GT goes on sale in Europe in spring 2018. It remains to be seen whether Kia will offer a proper performance version of the little hatchback.
New Hyundai Veloster N Is A Ford Focus ST-Beating Hot Hatch
The all-new, 2019 Hyundai Veloster introduces a new member to the family — the performance-tuned Veloster N — and it wants to feast on the Ford Focus ST.
Joining the naturally-aspirated Veloster and Veloster Turbo models as the first of Hyundai’s new high-performance N lineup, the new Veloster N packs a turbo 2.0L engine that produces 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque, a mark improvement over the Veloster Turbo’s 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft and more than the 252-hp generated by the Focus ST. All that power is sent to the front wheels by a six-speed manual transmission with downshift rev-matching capability.
The powertrain also features a multi-mode, high-flow active sport exhaust system with a variable exhaust actuator that, in N mode, delivers an engine over-run exhaust crackle during upshifts and downshifts, while torque steer is prevented by an N Power Sense Axle design that features a zero-scrub radius for quicker response, more precise steering, and a direct on-center feel.
A higher-spec suspension with an electronic multi-mode setup and extra bracing for its mounts makes cornering less of hassle for the Veloster N, and wider, lightweight wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero summer tires help keep it glued to the tarmac.
Custom 13.0 Veloster N brake rotors at the front axle and 11.8 inches at the rear come standard, but those looking for even more stopping power have the option of oversized 13.6-inch performance rotors front and 12.4-inch rotors rear.
To help it stand out from the lesser Veloster models, the Veloster N sports a unique front fascia with a sportier grille and large front air ducts. N-design rocker panels on the sides, a larger N-design rear spoiler, an integrated diffuser, available 19-inch alloy wheels, and dual exhausts.
The interior N is distinguished by aggressively bolstered front seats and further interior trim differentiation.
The new, 2019 Hyundai Veloster N goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2018.