Between all of them SUV they still exist: normal small and compact cars with a hatchback. In 2017, classics come in a new look. Some have grown up, some rely entirely on youthful charisma.
The new Citroen C3 is particularly lively. If the predecessor looked rather stale recently, the new edition offered from January uses extrovert design with colorful accents inside and outside and body planks in the style of the C4 Cactus crossover. The C3 also offers countless customization options for color and accessories as well as technical gadgets (such as a selfie camera on the inside mirror). Then, however, significantly more money is due than for the 12.000 euro expensive and rather monochrome basic version, with which the price-sensitive customers should not be compromised.
The Nissan Micra tries a similar charm offensive. If the predecessor went down completely with its smoothly polished world car design in the local street scene, the fifth version wants to really stand out again. The sweeping lines are already known from Qashqai and Co., but here they are carried to the extreme over a length of around four meters. A 0,9-liter turbo gasoline engine with three cylinders and 66 kW / 90 hp as well as an equally powerful 1,5-liter diesel, both already from the Clio, are available for the drive of the five-door with the well-hidden rear portals known. As a base engine, a 1,0-liter naturally aspirated petrol engine with 55 kW / 73 hp was added shortly after its market launch. The prices start at 13.000 euros.
While C3 and Micra appear cheeky and youthful, the new generation of the Ford Fiesta is now growing up. Visually, it remains true to the old model in its basic features, but comes across more matter-of-factly and less playfully. The strongly curved headlights of the predecessor are replaced by almond-shaped specimens, the power-inducing beads on the bonnet disappear and the rear with its horizontal taillights now appears clearer than before. The carefully cleared cockpit with large, free-standing central screen appears tidy and clear. In addition to the infotainment system, this also serves the numerous new assistants - in this respect, the Cologne-based company wants to set standards in the small car class. Ford's three-cylinder petrol engine remains at the heart of the engine range. The 1,0 liter turbo engine is again available with 74 kW / 100 PS, 92 kW / 125 PS and 103 kW / 140 PS. In addition, there is a gasoline engine and two diesel. Prices are not yet known.
With the Poles Jugend und Reife, two technically related bestsellers also play in the segment: the VW Polo and the Seat Ibiza. Both are likely to grow in terms of dimensions and demands and each move closer to their brand siblings Golf and Leon. While the Polo is the serious all-round car for the city and the surrounding area, the Ibiza, typical of the brand, tends to play the young and wild. Under the sheet metal and apart from the chassis tuning, the two small cars are almost twins. It remains to be seen whether the Spaniard will also make use of the North German's full equipment and assistance program.
There will be comparatively little new in the compact class next year - however, two particularly hopeful candidates are going into the generation change. Firstly, the Hyundai i30, which in the new edition is more European and more established than ever before. In the new edition expected for the beginning of the year, the Korean is more closely oriented towards the top of the class VW Golf in terms of design and appearance. And it is also technically better: In addition to full LED headlights and contemporary infotainment, modern assistance systems should finally be available. In addition to the well-known diesels and petrol engines, there will also be a sports engine and possibly a hybrid. The second new starter from Asia is the Honda Civic. The Japanese are on the safe side of their compact model in the first half of the year. The design of the tenth generation is significantly more suitable for mass than the two futuristic predecessors. The five-door is also visually lower on the road, although it is only two centimeters flatter. In contrast, it has grown in length, which should provide more space in the rear. Honda does not use the cinema folding seats of the predecessor. This time the Civic should score especially with good safety equipment in the compact class. A collision warning system, an automatic lane departure warning system and a blind spot radar are included as standard. The included package also includes a reversing camera for safe parking and traffic sign recognition.
In addition to the two new editions, there is a whole range of revised models. Among them are the Volkswagen group siblings VW Golf, Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia as well as the Mazda3 and the Peugeot 308. While the visual aspect is relatively little in all cases, the technology is being upgraded considerably. The focus is on new infotainment and driving safety systems. (Holger Holzer / SP-X)