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Sport compact is an American car classification for a high-performance version of an affordable compact car or a subcompact car. There is no precise definition and the description is applied for marketing purposes to a wide variety of models.
Cars began to be marketed as sport compacts in the mid-1980s, when it was used for option packages on American-built coupes. Since then, it has also been used for standalone sports car models and cars imported from Europe and Asia.
The European equivalent is a hot hatch, however sport compacts are not restricted to just hatchback body styles.
A sport compact should "fulfill the multiple duties of family car, plaything, and daily driver".Many sport compacts have coupe, sedan or hatchback body styles and are built on mass-production platforms. Other common (but not essential) characteristics include front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, a four-cylinder petrol engine, suspension tuned for handling and bodywork designed to improve aerodynamics or allow for larger wheels.
"Econosport" is a rarely used term for a sport version of a small economy car.
An early sport compact was the 1968 Ford Capri, a European coupe built on the platform of the second generation Ford Cortina sedans.
The early American-built sport compact models consisted of performance or sporting packages for mass-produced compact car coupes in the 1980s, for example the 1986 Chevrolet Cavalier Z24, the 1986 Ford EXP Sport Coupe and the 1988 Plymouth Sundance. Such models only achieved moderate sales. Sport compact models gained greater prominence by the mid-1990s, being sold in significant numbers in models such as the 1993 Ford Probe (based on the Mazda MX-6 platform) and the 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier/Pontiac Sunfire badge-engineered twins.
Sports compacts of the 2000s include the 2001-2003 Ford ZX2, the 2004-2007 Saturn Ion Red Line, the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt SS and the 2003-2005 Dodge Neon SRT-4.
European hot hatches are considered 'sport compact' cars in the North American market. Examples include the 1976-present Volkswagen Golf GTI and the 2000-present Mini Cooper. Similarly, most Japanese hot hatches and sports coupes are classified as 'sport compact' cars when sold in North America, for example the 1984-present Honda Civic Si, 2007-2013 Mazdaspeed3, and the 2012-present Toyota 86.
Sport compact cars are often used in motorsport events, due to their relative light weight. They have competed in various types of motorsport, including autocross, rallying, rallycross, touring car racing, drifting and drag racing.
From 2005–2012, International Sport Compact Auto Racing Series was an American stock car racing series for sports compacts which mostly raced on paved oval racetracks.
A hatchback is a car body configuration with a rear door that swings upward to provide access to a cargo area. Hatchbacks may feature fold-down second row seating, where the interior can be reconfigured to prioritize passenger or cargo volume. Hatchbacks may feature two- or three-box design.
Plymouth was a brand of automobiles produced by Chrysler Corporation and its successor DaimlerChrysler. The brand was launched in 1928 to compete in what was then described as the "low-priced" market segment that was dominated by Chevrolet and Ford. It became the high-volume seller for the automaker until the late 1990s. Plymouth cars were marketed primarily in the United States. The brand was withdrawn from the marketplace in 2001. The Plymouth models that were produced up to then were either discontinued or rebranded as Chrysler or Dodge.
The Honda Civic is a line of cars manufactured by Honda. Originally a subcompact, the Civic has gone through several generational changes, becoming both larger and more upscale, moving into the compact car segment. EPA guidelines for vehicle size class stipulate a car having combined passenger and cargo room of 110 to 119.9 cubic feet is considered a mid-size car, and as such the tenth generation Civic sedan is technically a small-end mid-size car, although it still competes in the compact class. The Civic coupé is still considered a compact car. The Civic currently falls between the Honda City and Honda Accord.
The Pontiac Sunbird is a small car manufactured and marketed by Pontiac over two generations.
Hot hatch is a high-performance version of a mass-produced hatchback car.
Governments and private organizations have developed car classification schemes that are used for various purposes including regulation, description, and categorization of cars.
Pony car is an American car classification for affordable, compact, highly styled coupés or convertibles with a "sporty" or performance-oriented image. Common characteristics include rear-wheel drive, a long hood, a short decklid, a wide range of options to individualize each car and use of mass-produced parts shared with other models.
The Chevrolet Cavalier is a line of small cars produced for the model years 1982 through 2005 by Chevrolet, and then later reintroduced in 2016 for the Chinese Market. As a rebadged variant of General Motors' J-cars, the Cavalier was manufactured alongside the Cadillac Cimarron, Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza, and Pontiac J2000/2000/Sunbird at GM's South Gate Assembly and Janesville Assembly plants, achieving its highest sales in 1984.
The Buick Skyhawk is an automobile produced by Buick in two generations for the 1975 through 1989 model years.
The Chevrolet Citation is a range of compact cars that was produced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors. The first Chevrolet sold with front-wheel drive, a single generation of the Citation was sold from the 1980 to 1985 model years, succeeding the Chevrolet Nova. The model range was offered in three body styles: three-door and five-door hatchbacks and a two-door notchback coupe.
Capri is a nameplate marketed by the Lincoln-Mercury division of Ford Motor Company on three distinct series of automobiles between 1970 and 1994. From 1970 to 1978, the Capri was a sport compact marketed without any Ford divisional branding, sourced as a captive import from Ford of Europe. From 1979 to 1986, the Capri became part of the Mercury model line as a pony car. From 1991 to 1994, the Mercury Capri was a roadster, sourced as a captive import by Ford of Australia.
The Dodge Magnum is a nameplate used by several Dodge vehicles, at different times and on various markets. The name was first applied to a large Chrysler B platform-based 2-door coupe marketed from 1978 to 1979 sold in the United States and Canada. From the 2005 to the 2008 model years, the nameplate was revived for a station wagon on the rear-wheel drive Chrysler LX platform, produced in Canada and sold on the American and Canadian market.
The Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Neon is a front-engine, front-wheel drive compact car that was introduced in January 1994 for model year 1995 by Chrysler's Dodge and Plymouth divisions in two- and four-door bodystyles over two generations.
The Dodge Neon SRT-4 is a sport compact car manufactured by Dodge from 2003 to 2005. A turbocharged variant of the Neon, the car was developed by DaimlerChrysler's in house PVO tuner group. PVO was officially renamed SRT in 2004. The "4" in the SRT-4's name denotes the number of cylinders of the engine. ACR and Commemorative Edition models were later introduced as well.
The Chevrolet Chevy II/Nova is a small automobile manufactured by Chevrolet, and produced in five generations for the 1962 through 1979, and 1985 through 1988 model years. Nova was the top model in the Chevy II lineup through 1968. The Chevy II nameplate was dropped after 1968, with Nova becoming the nameplate for all of the 1969 through 1979 models. Built on the X-body platform, the Nova was replaced by the 1980 Chevrolet Citation introduced in the spring of 1979. The Nova nameplate returned in 1985, produced through 1988 as a S-car based, NUMMI manufactured, subcompact based on the front wheel drive, Japan home-based Toyota Sprinter.
Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) of the automobile aftermarket was formed in 1963 by Roy Richter, Ed Iskenderian, Els Lohn, Willie Garner, Bob Hedman, Robert E. Wyman, John Bartlett, Phil Weiand Jr, Al Segal, Dean Moon, and Vic Edelbrock Jr. and now consists of 6,383 companies worldwide, bringing together aftermarket manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), media, car dealers, specialty equipment distributors, installers, retailers and restoration specialists.
The North American variant of the Ford Escort is a compact/small family car introduced by Ford in 1980 for the 1981 model year. Sharing its name with the third-generation European Ford Escort, the model line is the first front-wheel drive Ford developed and sold in North America. The direct successor of the Ford Pinto, as the smallest Ford car in North America, the Escort largely replaced the European-imported Ford Fiesta.
The Los Angeles Auto Show is an annual auto show held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in early December. The LA Auto Show is an OICA sanctioned international exhibition and also endorsed by the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association. It is open to the public for ten days each year, filling 760,000 square feet (71,000 m2) of exhibit space.
In the context of the automobile industry, downsizing is a practice used to transition vehicles from one size segment to another. Often done in response for consumer and government demands to increase fuel economy, vehicle downsizing has been achieved through several methods. As product lines complete model cycles, during a redesign, automobile manufacturers reduce the exterior footprint of a vehicle to allow for weight reduction, shortening wheelbase and body length.
The Toyota Corolla E80 is a range of small automobiles manufactured and marketed by Toyota from 1983 to 1987 as the fifth generation of cars under the Corolla and Toyota Sprinter nameplates, with production totaling approximately 3.3 million, and most models adopting a front-wheel drive layout.
The Dodge Neon SRT-4, second only to the Viper in quickness, takes compact sport sedans to a whole new level.