Now is a great time to have an interest in small cars. The Sport Compact industry started with small cars and technologically advanced engines for their day. We are currently seeing a resurgence of the small cars and technologically advanced engines. Some will say the cars we are seeing now are still just equal to the cars that we had in the past (i.e. Civic Si, Sentra SE-R, etc) but taken into account the stricter safety regulations, emissions and miles per gallon standards it is still amazing at what the new cars hitting the market are capable of. The list of features that are standard on the new offerings reads like an option list for most late ‘90s luxury cars.
The new Chevrolet 1.4L Ecotec Turbo engine has peaked my interest for the last couple of months and I am getting closer and closer to purchasing one as a project car for IPG. The engine features a cast iron block and forged rods from the factory as well as a roller rocker camshaft setup. Anyone that knows performance knows a factory turbocharged engine with those features has a lot of potentially for the aftermarket tuner crowd. Hyundai and Kia are even getting into the action with their own versions of hot sport compacts that feature 1.6L DOHC engines boasting 138 horsepower, a 6 speed manual transmission and a svelte 2400-2500 pound curb weight. Hyundai’s Veloster is rumored to be offered in a turbocharged version with their 1.6L Direct Injection DOHC engine pushing it over the 200 horsepower mark from the factory. And remember, all these cars are under the $20k price tag for the most part and get well into the 30 miles per gallon range. Yep, good times are coming with an entire new generation of platforms to work with.