Tuesday, June 11, 2019

2019 Oregon Trail Rally Coverage

McKenna Motorsports Ford Fiesta

One of our favorite annual motorsports events is the Oregon Trail Rally presented by the American Rally Association. After missing the last few events, we were able to return to the Columbia River Gorge to get in on the rally action featuring a host of vehicles, some of which were small and powerful. You can read more about our exploits over at our sister site, Crankshaft Culture.

Toyota Yaris Rally Car

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Track Time: Fiat Abarth 500 and 124 Spider

Fiat 500 Abarth on track

The snap … the crackle … the pop. The hissing, growling, and popping that Fiat’s turbo-charged Abarth make is infectious. Their grunting and crackling sounds boost me as I swoop around corners, downshifting through all the gates in order to catch the steep downhill chicane successfully. Cornering in an Abarth makes me smile. Straightaways in an Abarth make me giddy. I didn’t want to leave the racetrack. I wanted to stuff my Abarth 500 and 124 Spider in my back pockets and run away forever.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Subcompact Showcase: Ian's Ford Festiva

Ian Cassley's turbocharged 1993 Ford Festiva

Photos courtesy Ian Cassley

There was time when I wasn't sure which way I was going to go with my automotive obsession. I knew I wanted a project vehicle but didn't have much money. I wanted bang for the buck, something different, and something with potential to be fast or capable. I somehow found myself looking at Ford Festivas. Stay with me here ...

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Three Small Sleeper Projects

Twin-turbo LS-powered Geo Tracker. Photo via EngineSwapDepot.com
If you’re a gearhead, you no doubt know what a sleeper is. If you’re unfamiliar, a sleeper is a vehicle that may not look like much, but it’s actually a high-performance vehicle in a dowdy package. Think wolf in sheep’s clothing. Think high horsepower with hubcaps. Not all sleepers need to look super boring; they can simply be a platform that’s not generally associated with performance that is a surprising performer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Nissan Announces New 2020 Versa

2020 Nissan Versa

While some automakers are pulling out of the subcompact marketplace, Nissan has recently announced its all-new 2020 Versa sedan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What Was Your Favorite '80s or '90s Subcompact Car?

Subaru Justy
Subaru Justy

Have you noticed the uptick in the popularity of all things '80s and '90s? Heck, there are even car shows for them. Ever heard of Radwood?

Monday, February 4, 2019

While the Toyota Yaris is Dead for 2019, It Might Be Alive Again in 2020

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback
Photo via Car and Driver
Car and Driver is reporting that while Toyota has axed the Yaris liftback for 2019, in 2020 it could  return with Mazda2 underpinnings.

Toyota already replaced the Yaris sedan with the Yaris iA, based on the Mazda2 sedan, which we reviewed when it was initially launched as a Scion. I said that while it had a willing chassis, it had a minuscule back seat and wasn't too exciting. I'm also not generally a big fan of small sedans. But the idea of a of this coming as a hatchback warms my gasoline-powered heart.

As Car and Driver pointed out, it'll likely be powered by the same 1.5-liter engine making 106 hp. I assume it'll also be mated to either the six-speed auto or the six-speed manual (yay!). And while I still haven't fully warmed up to the fish-face fascia, I think I prefer the package without a trunk—full-on hatchback style.

I'm a fan of most Mazda products, and was bummed when they discontinued the Mazda2. So seeing that it may be coming over in some form is great. I could very well see buying one of these in the future.

It should be said that Toyota has not officially stated this is going to happen, but all signs are pointing to "yes," which makes Toyota one of the few companies to continue offering a small car in its lineup. In fact, has always offered a small car in its lineup. This includes the Yaris, Echo, and Tercel.

2019 Mazda2 Hatchback
2019 Mazda2 Hatchback

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

New Wheels and Tires for our Mitsubishi Mirage

2017 Mitsubishi Mirage lowered

Well, here we are, 16 days into 2019 and The Rage, our 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage, has new shoes.

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Subcompact Sales Results

Toyota C-HR

Well, here we are in 2019. And now that it's 2019, we can reflect on the small car sales of 2018.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Is the Toyota Yaris Liftback Dead?

2018 Toyota Yaris Liftback
So, what's going on with the Yaris Liftback in the U.S.? I've repeatedly been on Toyota.com to see if there are any updates for the MY2019, but it still says 2018 Yaris ...