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Sat, Feb 23rd - 5:39AM




Sport Compacts

A sport compact is a high-performance version of a compact car or a subcompact car. It is a largely North American term for what is called in Europe a Hot Hatch. They are typically front engined, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive coupÚs, sedans, or hatchbacks driven by a straight-4 gasoline engine. Performance-oriented sport compacts generally focus on improving handling and increasing performance by engine efficiency, rather than increasing engine size. Sport compacts often feature external body modifications to improve aerodynamics or house larger wheels.

Early American sport compacts include the 1981 1/2 Dodge Charger 2.2 with 84 bhp (63 kW) and 107 bhp (80 kW) in the 1983 Shelby Charger, and the 1980 Chevrolet Citation X-11 originally with 115 bhp (86 kW). Ford offered the Escort GT and near-identical Mercury Lynx XR3. Chrysler first offered a 2.2 turbo in the Daytona and Laser in 1984 and also offered it in the Lancer/Lebaron GTS and Shadow/Sundance hatchbacks. Chrysler offered the Carroll Shelby prepared turbocharged Dodge Omni GLH in 1985 to 1986 with 146 bhp (109 kW) (which was reputed to stand for "Goes Like Hell"), and in 1986 the 175 bhp (130 kW) intercooled GLHS (Goes Like Hell Somemore). General Motors offered sports versions of its J-car hatchbacks through 1987, including the V-6 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24 and turbocharged Pontiac Sunbird and Buick Skyhawk.

More recent American sport compacts include the 2002 Ford Focus SVT with 170 bhp (127 kW), 2007 Dodge Caliber SRT-4 and 2012 Chevrolet Sonic RS (shown above).

Japanese manufacturers launched their own sports compacts to the American market including the Acura Integra, Toyota Corolla FX-GT and Corolla GT-S and the Honda Civic Si, and the Canadian built Toyota Matrix XRS (shown right).

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