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Hot hatches have been, for the most part, conspicuously absent from the North American market. Sure, VW has been kind enough to share the GTI with us, but compared to the European market we’ve had pretty slim pickings when it comes to front-drive hatchbacks with bold styling and the performance to match.
Mazda did their best to put an end to that in 2007 though, blessing us with the first generation Mazdaspeed3 and then, in 2010, turning up the aggression with the even shoutier version in production today. One of the most powerful wrong-wheel drive cars ever offered to an American audience, we certainly found its 263-hp 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-banger to be plenty potent in a head-to-head matchup against the 2012 Honda Civic Si last year.
You wouldn’t know it based on their North American hatchback history, which has at best been lukewarm, but Ford has a long history of building some of the hottest hatches in Europe. Take the utterly bonkers 2011 Focus RS500, for example, a matte black and fender flared 350-hp beast that was only available in select European markets. But now, thanks to Ford’s world-market approach, we’ve finally been treated to a truly hot hatch for the domestic market, the 2013 Focus ST.
It may not be as over-the-top as the RS500, but with a 252-hp 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine, sophisticated European design inside and out, and some surprisingly advanced electronics controlling power delivery, it would certainly appear that the Focus ST is a very serious contender for the title of America’s hottest hatch. But is it enough to overcome the Mazdaspeed3’s stump-pulling 280 lb-ft of torque and highly effective Torsen limited slip differential? We headed to our local test track to find out.
Winter's icy stranglehold on the northern hemisphere has finally been broken. After months of gray skies and freezing weather spring is finally in the air. Automakers are responding to the warmth and sun by emerging from product hibernation. Companies located in places ranging from South Korea to the United Kingdom have unveiled a bumper-crop of new hardware ranging from sensible to insane. Here are the Top 10 reveals from the 2013 New York International Auto Show.
Baring any surprises, the star of this year's New York Auto Show is likely to be the Mercedes CLA45 AMG, a high-powered version of the brand's stunning new affordable luxury sedan. Other major debuts include the 2014 Cadillac CTS, Acura MDX, updated Honda Odyssey and Hyundai Equus, as well as refreshed version of the Buick LaCross, Regal and Chevy Camaro. Rumors point to a Subaru hybrid reveal while it'll also be the first showing of the controversially designed Jeep Cherokee.
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