1) Ford Focus
Ford first produced the Focus in 1998 for the European market. Eventually, they rolled it out in the US market with a view to lowering the average fuel economy of their collective US offerings, most of which were much bigger gas guzzlers. Eventually, the car sold so well that it was ranked among Ford’s best sellers.
The 2017 Ford Focus retails in the US starting from $16,775. The car comes with a standard 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine with a six-speed manual transmission that delivers 123 hp. Safety features include cameras and sensors mounted at specific locations on the vehicle make the driver aware of other vehicles and objects beside and behind the car.
Focus RS is the top end of the range and packs a 350 hp 2.3 liter EcoBoost engine. It also has an all wheel drive system with four different driving modes including ‘track’ and ‘drift’. Torque Vectoring Control was designed to help the front wheels grip and steer better while speeding, heading through curves and driving in slippery conditions. An automatic transmission is available with all variants.
Feature Image Credit : Motor1.com
2) Chevrolet Cruze
The Cruze name was recycled by Chevy from an earlier car manufactured with Suzuki collaboration from 2001 to 2008. The 5-door hatchback variant of the Cruze was first rolled out under the Chevy’s compact car banner in 2011.
The new 2017 Cruze combines technology and efficiency for everyday practicality and weekend fun. The car is aerodynamic and sporty. Interior comforts and ergonomics include heated front and rear seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, updated technology featuring a 7-inch diagonal color touch-screen, and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
Optional extras consist of a Bose 9-speaker system, push button start and wireless charging for electronic gadgets. The Focus is fitted with as many as 10 air bags, including frontal and knee for driver and front passenger, and side-impact seat-mounted and roof rail for front and rear outboard seating positions
The car’s standard 1.4-liter turbo engine balances efficiency and power. US retail prices for the manual transmission variant start from $16,620.
3) Volkswagen Golf
VW’s small family car has a long history, with seven generations having been produced since 1974. The original Golf Mk1 replaced a no less iconic car than the VW beetle. As opposed to the Beetle, it had a front engine and FWD.
The Golf currently being offered in the US market retails from $19,895. Thanks to VW’s App-Connect system, the occupants can watch their select smartphone apps appear on the touchscreen display of the car simply by plugging in a compatible device.
Keyless access with push-button start, rearview camera, lane assist, park assist, rear traffic alert and adaptive cruise control are just some of the car’s available features. The Golf’s 1.8-liter turbocharged engine gets the best of economy and performance. Tiptronic technology with sport mode transmission is available for those who prefer to shift gears with a quick tap of the shifter.
4) Kia Forte
The Forte is an extremely versatile compact car from Korean auto makers KIA. The car is being offered in two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and five-door hatchback variants.
US retail prices for the 2017 Forte start from $16,600. This practical car comes with a 2.0 liter DOHC, 16 valves, inline 4, dual CVVT, MPI diesel engine which produces 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm. Power goes to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The apex model is called the Forte EX. It costs $4,700 extra and comes fully loaded with a range of features. These include heated side mirrors, heated and ventilated front seats, windshield wiper de-icer, rear-camera display, a 7-inch touchscreen with mobile device compatibility, steering wheel mounted cruise control buttons, and push-button start with smart key and immobilizer.
The Forte EX also features an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic transmission. The driver can choose between three driving modes including ‘normal’, ‘eco’ or ‘sport’.
5) Volkswagen GTI
VW Golf GTI has made owners happy for seven generations of the car, starting way back in 1974. It has been VW’s best-selling car for a long time.
The seventh-generation Golf GTI (MK7) has a turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI engine producing 210 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Performance monitor in the GTI is a customizable digital 3-gauge monitor that can let the driver choose the functions to display.
VW Car-Net lets occupants display select apps from a compatible smartphone on the dash monitor. Rearview camera comes as standard.
Optional extras include a sports suspension, dynamic chassis control with four modes to choose from, variable ratio steering, a bigger engine with 10 hp extra, and a torque sensing limited slip differential.
Interior and aesthetic extras consist of ambient lighting, sports seats, xenon headlights and an 8+1 speaker system from Fender Premium Audio. The 2016 Golf GTI earned a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). US retail prices start from $25,595.
6) Toyota Prius
The world’s favorite hybrid started life in 1997 as a 4-door sedan. Toyota now makes the Prius only in the 5-door hatchback version. The car has been rated among the cleanest and the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the planet in its category.
The 2017 Prius comes with a 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder aluminum DOHC 16 valve with variable valve timing. It features multi-point EFI with an electronic throttle control system. Small but strong, this engine produces 95 hp @ 5200 rpm and 105 lb-ft of torque @ 3600 rpm. The car’s electric motor provides an additional 71 hp.
The car’s electronically controlled continuously variable transmission sends power to the front wheels. Integrated regenerative braking further improves fuel economy. Double wishbone rear suspension and exceptional aerodynamics enhance ride comfort.
The car comes with several optional extras in terms of aesthetics and interiors. Retail prices in the US market start at $24,685.
7) Mazda Mazda3
The Mazda3 or Mazdaspeed3 is a high-performance variant of the well-known compact car produced by Mazda in Japan since 2003, specifically for the US market.
The 2017 Mazda3 5-door is available in four variants, starting in the US from $19,095. The base version packs a 2.0 liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine with VVT. It produces 155 hp and revs all the way up to 6800 rpm. The car’s front wheel drive and 6-speed manual transmission are familiar features.
Other technical specs include 4-wheel independent suspension, ABS with electronic brake force distribution, dynamic stability control, traction control, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). There is also a selection of aesthetic extras collectively marketed by Mazda as the ‘Appearance Package’.
The GT version of the 2017 Mazda3 packs a 2.5 liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine producing 184 hp. Mazda’s SKYACTIV vehicle dynamics with G-vectoring control subtly adjusts power delivery and shifts vehicle weight around the suspension for a smoother ride.
8) Honda Civic
The Civic has had many variants and changes since it’s unveiling in 1972. Many considered it a midsize car competing below its class, with compacts. To simplify classification Honda started offering the Civic in distinctly defined hatchback and sedan versions. The LX variant of the 2017 Civic is the car’s base model, which retails in the US market starting from $19,700.
The power pack is a 1.5 liter inline 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC, direct injection engine producing 174 hp. It comes with a drive-by-wire throttle system. The 6-speed manual transmission incorporates Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and dual mode paddle shifters in the car’s sport-touring variant.
The car’s active safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control, ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with all variants of the car. Comfort and convenience features in the Honda Civic hatch are also among the best in its class.
9) Chevrolet Bolt
The Bolt is an electric subcompact car made by Chevy in partnership with LG. It was unveiled to much acclaim in 2016. The car is being hailed as an important milestone in the electric vehicle (EV) arena.
Retail prices for the 2017 Bolt EV start in the US at $36,620. A 60 kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the car’s 200 hp electric drive unit. The car can go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.
The Bolt’s electronic transmission selector enables regenerative braking to conserve energy. Setting the transmission to its low setting increases the regenerative effect.
Also built into the car is Chevy’s ‘Teen Driver’ system, which can limit vehicle safety systems from being turned off, and limit some of the car’s features such as the entertainment system. It also sends reports and info on the new driver’s habits with a view to coach them.
10) Kia Soul
The Soul is essentially a subcompact crossover with FWD. Manufactured by Korean auto makers KIA since 2008, the car is now in its second generation. Electric Vehicle (EV) versions of the Soul are now also available in the US market.
The petrol models of the Soul start at $15,900 for the base variant. The basic Soul has been equipped with a Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI), 1.6 litres, inline 4, DOHC, 16 valves, Dual CVVT engine. It produces 130 hp, which goes to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The top end Soul is quite a different beast with a 2.0 liter, inline 4, 164 hp GDI engine and an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic gearbox. It comes with a range of extras, not least of which is the panoramic sunroof with power sunshade.