1) 2017 Chevrolet Sonic
Inherited from Daewoo motors and manufactured by Chevy since 2002 as the Aveo, the Sonic is the new name for a popular subcompact car, now in its second generation.
The standard power pack of the Chevy Sonic LT manual hatchback is a 1.8 litre, four cylinder engine. A 5 speed manual transmission is also standard.
The Premier model of the car comes with a turbocharged 1.4 litre engine. The automatic and Premier versions of the Sonic hatch have been given a 6 speed automatic gearbox. Chevy claims a city fuel economy of 25 mpg with the auto and slightly better for the manual transmission models of the Sonic.
The interiors are also packed with practical features. The car has 10 airbags, built-in phone integration and boasts a 5-star safety score. Stability control is now also a standard feature on all models. Heated front seats and remote starting are available extras on the top end version. US retail prices start at $15,145.
2) 2017 Volkswagen Golf
Ever since 1974 the VW Golf has featured in many roles such as family car, personal car, hatchback, high performance hatch and so on. Enthusiasts have modified their Golfs to no end, and VW was no less earnest in experimenting with various configurations of this extremely popular car.
Today the newest Golf retails in the US starting at $19,895. It packs all the features and necessary gadgetry of a 2017 car, including push button start, keyless access, phone integration, Bluetooth streaming and a whole range of driver assistance features.
In addition to being smarter, the car is also safer, with several new safety measures having been incorporated. Unlike some of the other cars in its category however, the safety features do not take away from the driving experience.
VW has also endeavored to improve the car’s fuel economy. Golf was never a gas guzzler but now the 1.8 litre turbocharged front engine gets a fuel economy of 25 mpg in the city, or so VW claims.
3) 2017 Kia Forte
Having replaced Kia Cerato and now in its second generation, the Forte is being offered by Kia in multiple variants with a view to capture all possible market segments. Like some of the other Kia cars, the Forte sells with slight variations in several geographies under different names.
The newest hatchback model is now known as the 2017 Forte5. The ‘5’ designates the number of doors, separating it from its sedan cousin. Kia likes to dress its cars up with eye catching external styling and so is the case with the Forte5.
The base version is the LX which retails in the US starting at $18,200. It packs a 2.0 litre, DOHC, 16 valve, inline four cylinder GDI engine with dual CVVT. The 6 speed automatic gearbox with sports shifter is also a standard feature. With this combination Kia claims a city fuel efficiency of 25 mpg for the Forte5.
4) 2017 Volkswagen GTI
The GTI poses as a peppy variant of the popular family hatch when actually it can be quite an understated beast. In reality the GTI is VW’s iconic hot hatch. Its pricing reflects as much. While the regular Golf retails from $19,895, the GTI starts at 25,595, nearly 30% more.
Unlike VW’s family cars, the Golf was built for the autobahns, which are German superhighways with no speed limits. To this end VW packed a turbocharged 2.0 litre TSI engine under the Golf’s hood. They also gave the car a sport suspension to handle those tricky corners.
For those who want even more and don’t mind shelling out a bit extra, there are a number of performance upgrades available for the GTI. In 2007 VW went overboard and created a super souped-up version of the GTI, the GTW W12. They took a 6.0 litre, W12 engine from a Bentley Continental GT and somehow packed it under the GTI’s hood, giving it a top power of 641 bhp.
5) 2017 Toyota Prius
The Prius became the world’s first mass produced hybrid car when Toyota started selling it in Japan in 1997. Thanks to the massive demand for a fuel efficient car in a power hungry world, the Prius achieved global sales of more than a million units in less than ten years from its launch. That alone ought to have slowed global warming down a bit.
Prius was more than just economical. It was practical as a family car and had all the reliability of a Toyota. While selling millions upon millions of Priuses, Toyota also evolved the car, constantly thinking forward and giving consumers what they needed.
The 2017 Prius has been given an updated engine which displaces 1.8 litres. It is made from aluminum block and features all the relevant engine technologies including variable valve timing and DOHC. It produces 95 hp on its own, and is supplemented by the car’s hybrid electric motor.
6) 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
The Bolt is Chevy’s entry into the subcompact, fully electric hatchback segment. The starting price of $36,620 seems a bit steep for a car of its size, but subsidies, tax incentives and savings on gas should more than compensate for much of it. At least that is what the manufacturers are advertising. Chevy is claiming a range of 238 miles with a fully charged battery pack in the Bolt.
Electric cars are beyond doubt the future, and Chevy has achieved a good head start in the Bolt. Already the car brims with futuristic technologies and conveniences which will one day be considered standard features on all cars. The basic model Bolt boasts electronic precision transmission, rear view camera, self sealing tires and a large, multifunctional color touchscreen. Along with these features the premier model of the car has also been equipped with a heated steering wheel, and surround vision for added safety.
7) 2017 Honda Fit
The Fit is a compact MPV and is better known as the Jazz in some international markets. It is characterized by its five doors, front engine, an aerodynamic profile and excellent interior utility. US retail prices start from $16,090.
The standard LX variant of the Fit packs a direct injection, four cylinder engine which produces a decent 130 hp of max output. The six speed manual transmission features close ratio gears for quick and easy shifts.
The Fit is built on Honda’s global small car platform and has a technological advantage in terms of its monospace interior design. The unique 60/40 split second row seats can be set in four different configurations, creating room for any kind of cargo, or to maximize comfort for rear passengers.
The top end variant of the car also come with a one touch power moonroof, heated front seats, paddle shifters and navigational aides.
8) 2017 Honda Civic
Originally a subcompact car with a transverse engine and just two doors, the Civic has evolved through multiple generations and many variants, into the hatchback model now available.
The 2017 Civic hatch has aggressive styling, bold exterior lines and all the practicality of a car for daily use. Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.5 litre, four-cylinder, Honda engine with computer controlled direct injection. It produces 174 hp of peak output and gives the car a healthy balance of fuel economy and acceleration. Honda claims 30 mpg with the manual transmission Civic and slightly better with the 6-speed automatic.
The two-tone sporty interiors are designed for comfort and utility. Many of the most frequently used buttons have been provided right on the wheel. The rear half of the car provides versatile, flexible space. Depending on the model, the Civic is being offered with a range of optional extras, many of which are practical and desirable.
9) 2017 Mazda Mazda3
The Mazda3 was previously being built on the global C1 platform which it shared with other cars such as the Ford Focus. With the third generation of the car unveiled in 2014 though, this has changed and the Mazda3 has a new chassis. The car now also has a more rigid body, a new direct injection engine, and a new six speed transmission. Retail US prices for the new 2017 Mazda3 Sport five door hatchback model start from $19,095.
It packs a 2.0 litre gasoline four cylinder engine and a six speed automatic transmission with sport mode. This combination is expected to get a city fuel efficiency of 28 mpg. Safety features now include advanced front air bags, front side impact air bags and side impact air curtains.
Other desirable features of the car include its tire pressure monitoring system, keyless entry and a new infotainment system with a robust touchscreen display.
10) 2017 Kia Soul
The 2017 Soul hatchback retails in the US starting from $16,100. The car is currently in its second generation, having picked up several improvements along the way. The Soul’s body has much greater torsional rigidity and a slightly wider wheelbase for better handling. The car will be rolled out in several versions including subcompact SUV and limited edition rollouts.
The basic Soul hatchback features gadgets, safety features and design extras to set it apart from previous versions of the car. A 130 channel audio system with 6 speakers, Bluetooth connectivity with wheel-mounted controls, mode adjustable steering, hidden cargo space and a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat are all part of the basic package.
The 130 hp engine and 6-speed manual transmission combine to provide a city efficiency of 24 mpg. Modern interior design with soft touch panels add to creature comforts. 4-wheel ABS, electronic stability control and brakeforce distribution systems are also built-in.