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Jaguar considering entry-level hatchback

If built, the Leaping Cat\'s 1 Series fighter will likely ride on a new front-wheel drive platform.

Jaguar has revealed that it is considering introducing an entry-level hatchback aimed right at the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the BMW 1 Series and the Audi A3.

"There's always space to go smaller - the world is changing quickly," said Jaguar design director Ian Callum on the sidelines of the New York Motor Show.

Callum explained that Jaguar is still a relatively small company so it is currently focusing on expanding its lineup towards the top with cars like the 3 Series-fighting XE, the recently-introduced second-gen XF and the upcoming F-Pace crossover. The company will begin to seriously consider developing a small car once all of the aforementioned models have landed in showrooms.

If built, the Leaping Cat's entry-level hatchback will likely follow the path blazed by its main rivals and ride on a front-wheel drive platform. Purists will howl, but Callum believes that modern technology can cancel out the shortcomings typically associated with front-wheel drive.

Jaguar currently doesn't have a front-wheel drive platform on which it can build a small hatchback, so the chassis will have to be either built from scratch or borrowed from another automaker. Interestingly, Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover's global engineering director, hinted that the small car could be offered with a fuel-sipping hybrid drivetrain.

If it it gets the green light for production, Jaguar's yet-unnamed small hatchback is at least three or four years away. Its main market will be Europe and it might not be sold in the United States, where the premium compact hatchback segment has been steadily shrinking over the past few years.

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