Sonic Turbo: From the start, Chevrolet worked in some suspension tuning on Sonics, but in the LTZ turbo there’s also better mpg. For the ultimate Sonic, go with RS five-door hatch. | Jeff Taylor photos
MINI JCW GT: At $39,250 the JCW GT doesn’t come with a Mini price, but it does come from the factory ready to race. I know as I tested #001 of the 500 that will come to the States. | Jeff Taylor photo
Juke Nismo: Nissan gets some points for cranking up the drive experience of their entry CUV with nine additional horses, AWD, suspension tuning, styling enhancements, a manual or CVT and interior upgrades.
Ford Focus ST: Large interior holds five, 2.0L features 252 ponies, suspension is re-tuned for aggressive driving and exterior looks enhanced. The ST has an affordable starting price of $23,700. | Jeff Taylor photo
Fiat 500 Abarth: Cute is out and performance is in. Abarths feature beefed up 1.4L engines with a spunky 160hp, bolstered suspension, upgraded brakes and tires. Body add-ons and special interior trim are also part of the package.
Beetle GSR: A limited edition recalling a special 1973 edition. The ‘14 GSR features a 2.0L, 210hp turbo 4-cylinder, 6-speed manual and 19-inch tires. Interior upgrades are part of the package along with a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds.
Volvo C30: A small, performance-flavored Volvo with a turbo hatchback, nice manual, suspension and exterior upgrades along with plenty of safety features.