Mercedes plans subcompact crossover for 2018 with help from Renault-Nissan

Mercedes A-Class

Right now there aren’t too many subcompacts on the U.S. new car market, but that will change in the next few years.

As fuel-economy standards ratchet up, so will the number of small, fuel-efficient small U.S.-bound cars. BMW has the new front-wheel drive 1 Series, Audi has the A1, and MINI is rumored to have a next-gen model in the works.

Mercedes, however, doesn’t have much to compete – and it’s eager to change that.

Car Online is reporting that Mercedes is in talks with its latest partner, Renault-Nissan, with whom it has plans to share diesel and fuel-cell technologies, to build a shared-platform subcompact.

Don’t fret, Mercedes fans; the German automaker wouldn’t simply slap a Mercedes badge onto a Nissan micro-car. Instead, Mercedes would be instrumental in the vehicle development from day one, ensuring Mercedes quality from the outset.

Tentative called the X-Class, the new subcompact Mercedes crossover would be powered at first by two tiny motors: a 1.0-liter and a 1.5-liter. Mercedes would license the gasoline engine block designs from Nissan but add its own cylinder heads and direct-injection fuel management systems. A dual-clutch transmission would likely be shared across the Mercedes/Renault-Nissan variants.

On the interior, the Mercedes level of bespoke would be found, despite the anticipated sticker price of around $20,000. Leather options and Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system would both be available.

While nothing has been made official in terms of the X-Class’ drivetrain options, we wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes didn’t make an EV version to compete with the BMW i3 slated for showrooms later this year.

If the sounds of a $20,000 subcompact Mercedes crossover excite you, don’t hold your breath. Although it will be headed Stateside, it won’t however go on sale until late 2017 for the 2018 model year.

As soon as we know more, which, in all honesty, we suspect won’t be very soon, we’ll bring you all the pertinent information.

Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…