2010: New Compacts and Hatchbacks

2010 Kia Forte
2010 Kia Forte

2010 Kia Forte/Koup – Kia began the revitalization of its brand by debuting the Soul in spring of 2009, but followed up with a more mainstream car – the Forte. It’s going up against the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla – no small feat, but it also has a slew of standard features that the others don’t and a good looking body style for just $13,695. Those looking for something more unique should cast an eye upon the Forte’s sexier two-door sibling, the Koup. It starts at $16,595 and delivers many of the same great features. 

2010 Mazdaspeed3
2010 MazdaSpeed3

2010 Volkswagen GTI
2010 Volkswagen GTI

2010 Mazda 3 / Mazdaspeed3 – Don’t let the polarizing smiley face grille born out of its latest redesign detract from the fact that the Mazda3 is a fantastic car. The lineup includes two engine choices across five trims and two body styles, allowing buyers plenty of options, and with just one optional package, you get a lot of car for the money - $15,045 to start. Of course, there’s always the redesigned Mazdaspeed3, priced at $23,945, if you’re looking for loads of torque and Mazda’s racing heritage to feature more predominantly in the drive.  
2010 Volkswagen Golf/GTI – After a few years of the Rabbit, we’re back to the tried-and-true Golf, with much relief. Gone are the rounded shoulders and buggy headlights to make way for a streamlined, sporty look. This hatchback is available in a two- or four-door body style and features a robust 2.5-liter engine or a torque-tastic 2.0-liter diesel, but for real power you’d do well to take a spin in the turbocharged GTI. Like the Mazdaspeed3 to the Mazda3, the GTI delivers a performance-based ride while in the same guise as the Golf. It starts at $23,664, up from the Golf’s $17,620.  
2010 Suzuki SX4 Sportback – Those on a budget would be remiss to overlook Suzuki’s smallest offering. Added to the SX4 lineup this year, the Sportback trim brings in extra power and sporty trimmings to the compact hatch. Its price (starting at $17,949), solid drivability and increased functionality make it a competitor despite Suzuki’s understated presence in the U.S. Though if its fuel economy you’re in the market for, you’re probably best looking elsewhere. 
Coming Soon:
2011 Ford Fiesta – Ford launched a massive campaign to promote the upcoming Fiesta, a car that has been in global market for the last 35 years but absent from the American market since the early ‘80s. Arriving in a young, modern skin summer of this year, the Fiesta will be available in either sedan or hatchback form and will initially be powered by a frugal 1.6-liter engine. The estimated fuel economy of 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway isn’t its only selling point; it also starts at a low $13,320. 
2011 Mazda2 – This pint-sized Mazda shares the same platform with the abovementioned Ford, but details are more difficult to come by for this car. It was only recently announced that it would even come to America (look for it in late summer), despite being in other markets since 2007. Expect this hatchback to be light on fuel consumption and heavy on fun. It is part of the zoom-zoom family, after all. Starts at $14,500. 
2011 Chevrolet Cruze – A replacement to the Cobalt, this small sedan is soon to be General Motors’ global compact car. It won’t appear until the third quarter of 2010, but the two engine variants – including a turbocharged 1.4-liter – are enough to get our attention. Like the others on this list, the Cruze will also keep things economical in terms of both fuel consumption and starting price, though we’re still waiting for the official numbers. 


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