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Years ago, the subcompact car market was mostly made up of under-powered, poorly featured little penalty boxes, but over the course of the past decade, this segment has absolutely flourished. Cars like the Honda Fit are something most people would happily drive. And it appears that Chevrolet is really figuring things out with booming popularity from its one-two punch of small models with the Spark and Sonic.

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Well, here's the butter knife Mitsubishi is bringing to the subcompact gun fight. It's called the Mirage, and its configurator has just gone live on Mitsubishi's consumer page, allowing those that absolutely must have a brand-new car for not a lot of money (and have never heard of the Nissan Versa, Mazda2, Chevrolet Spark or Ford Fiesta) to build their perfect example.

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The San Francisco US press launch of the teeny-tiny two-seat 2008 Smart Fortwo involved an interesting presentation and drive experience. I learned that its history dates back to the late 1980s when SMH (Swatch watches) CEO Nicolas Hayek decided that a substantial number of people wanted a small, stylish city car that was built like a Swatch watch with Swatch-type personalization.

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When gas prices rise, knee-jerk consumerism means that sales of small cars increase in lockstep, right? Well, sometimes – but that's not always the case. Ward's Auto reports that sales of subcompact car sales in America are off despite fuel prices pushing and holding at $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon across the country. According to the report, the "Lower Small" segment has seen a 2.6-percent sales decline since October, while fuel prices have been on the rise. Despite their comparatively thirsty

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The CT 200h proved that Lexus could make up for the sins against excitement committed by the company's short-lived HS 250h. Its bold styling and greatly improved handling combined with a fuel-efficient drivetrain suggests a brighter future for the compact luxury hybrid segment.

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The CT 200h proved that Lexus could make up for the sins against excitement committed by the company's short-lived HS 250h. Its bold styling and greatly improved handling combined with a fuel-efficient drivetrain suggests a brighter future for the compact luxury hybrid segment.

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Look at the vehicle in the picture above. Does that look like a subcompact car to you? Well, if you peer at the Fisker Karma through the regulatory lens of the EPA, then it would.

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The Fisker Karma is 16.5 feet long and tips the scales at 5,300 pounds. Sounds more like a 1960s Lincoln than an extended-range green machine capable of 32 miles on electric power alone, doesn't it? Actually, if you ask the Environmental Protection Agency, the Karma is a lot more like a subcompact.

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Thailand's government is discussing a tax rebate of up to 100,000 baht ($3,317 U.S. at the current exchange rate) for buyers of vehicles with engines that displace 1.5-liters or less. The move could cost the government an estimated 30 billion baht ($99.5 million U.S.), with up to 500,000 buyers possibly snatching up qualified vehicles to take advantage of the rebate.

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Look for the totally redesigned 2012 Toyota Yaris to hit U.S. showrooms by the end of September, according to the latest word from Toyota execs.

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2009 Honda Fit Sport – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2012 Hyundai Accent hatchback – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mazda2 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mazda2 – click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Mazda2 – click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Ford Fiesta - Click above for high-res image gallery

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