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Hatchbacks

All-New Mazda3 Ups The Style And Technology

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New, 2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback, red

A crisper design, SkyActiv-X tech and AWD highlight the changes this time around.

Mazda has redesigned the Mazda3 from the ground up, giving it a head-turning design, available all-wheel drive, and the first application of its SkyActiv-X technology.

The fourth-generation Mazda3 sedan and hatchback borrow styling cues from the stunning Kai concept introduced at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, but designers took the hatchback in a bolder direction by giving it an unusually steep sloping roof line. It’s clearly one of the most, if not the most, striking vehicles in a compact car segment that includes the much more utilitarian-looking Volkswagen Golf and Subaru Impreza.

Despite adopting a familiar design, the interior is cleaner and more elegant than before. An 8.8-inch screen on top of the dashboard for the infotainment system and can be controlled via a controller dial located just behind the gear selector.

The 2020 Mazda3 can be had with a choice of of a 1.5-, 2.0-, or 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines, as well as a 1.8-liter turbodiesel engine. The standout powerplant has to be novel SkyActiv-X engine, which uses compression-ignition technology normally found in a diesel engine to burn gasoline and deliver superior fuel economy without sacrificing output.

Earlier report claimed there will also be a mild hybrid powertrain; if true, we suspect it will be launched later in the 3’s product life cycle.

Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are standard, while all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are optional. That’s right, for the first time ever, the Mazda3 can be had with all-wheel drive!

The list of driving aids has grown and includes front cross traffic alert, a driver awareness monitor, and traffic jam assist with a steering assist function.

The 2020 Mazda3 made its world debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show and goes on sale in early 2019. Are you happy with how it turned out?

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Fiat

Fiat 500L Goes Extra Black For 2019 With Urbana Edition

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2019 Fiat 500L Urbana Edition, black MPV

Yes, the 500L is still sold in North American, and it’s just gotten darker.

Fiat has brought back the Urbana Edition for the 2019 500L Trekking trim in hopes of enticing more people to buy the ostensibly forgotten five-door, five passenger MPV.

Outside, the 500L Urbana Edition comes with a blackout theme complete with dark 17-inch aluminum wheels, door handles, body-side moldings, fog lamps, side mirrors and fascias.

Buyers can choose from five exterior paint colors — Black, Bronzo Metallizato bronze, Bianco white, Grigio Scuro gray, and Verde Bosco green — four of which can be matched with a black contrasting roof.

Inside, the dashboard dons a copper 500 logo and the seats are upholstered in black leather with copper contrast stitching.

Power for the 500L Trekking comes exclusively from a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 160 horsepower (119 kilowatts) and 184 pound-feet (250 Newton-meters) of torque, transmitted to the wheels by a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 500L has struggled to find success in the United States. Last year, Fiat delivered just 1,413 units in all of 2018, representing a 15 percent drop from the volume in 2017.

Deliveries of the Fiat 500L Urbana Edition begin in spring 2019, with pricing starting at $23,920. Have you been enticed to get one?

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Hatchbacks

Toyota Kills The Prius C, Replaces It With Corolla Hybrid

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2018 Toyota Prius C Hybrid Hatchback

Buyers are encouraged to go for the new Corolla Hybrid instead.

Now that there is a hybrid version of the popular Corolla, Toyota figures it has one too many small hybrid vehicles in its lineup. It has quietly killed off the Prius C hybrid to give more breathing room for both the regular Prius and Corolla hybrid.

The Prius C debuted in 2011 as a smaller alternative to the Prius Liftback, but the Corolla Hybrid is bigger and more efficient, matching the standard Prius’s 52-mpg combined rating in the United States compared to the Prius C’s 46-mpg combined rating.

“You’re probably not going to see Prius C for long,” Toyota marketing vice president Ed Laukes told . “The Prius C has served its purpose well.”

The fuel-sipping Corolla is intended to maximize sales of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain platform by appealing to a broader group of customers who may be put off by the Prius’ polarizing looks but still want extremely good fuel efficiency.

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Crossovers

New, 2020 Kia Soul EV Has 243 Mile (391 Km) Driving Range

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New, 2020 Kia Soul EV

Kia’s quirky crossover joins the high-range electric vehicle group.

The EPA has given the 2020 Kia Soul EV a driving range of up to 243 miles (391 km) on a single charge, placing it in the same class as the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV and Nissan LEAF e+, all of which get over 200 miles (322 km).

In fact, the Soul EV uses the same 64 kWh battery pack as the Kona Electric and Niro. Power is provided by an electric motor that generates 201-horsepower and 291 lb-ft. of torque and can be modulated with four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+, which automatically adjust power output, regenerative braking, climate control settings, and set speed limits to help manage overall efficiency.

Similar to the Niro and Kona EVs, it will charge at around 100kW for at least the first 50 percent of charge. A DC Fast Charge port comes standard.

The 2020 Kia Soul EV goes on sale in the second half of 2019.

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