How small is too small for cars in America?


Drivers of large pickups and SUVs beware: The “bump bump” from under your tires that you thought was just an unfortunate cat could’ve been something far worse, though not much bigger – a micro car.

Though not yet as popular as in Europe, micro cars are all over the roads in the U.S., and their numbers will only continue to grow.

Some are genuinely worth a look, while others are just hard to look at.

Perhaps the most unfortunate small car is the 2009 Ford Focus Coupe.

Somehow Ford engineers heralded back to the days of the 1990 Escort, and seem to have attached that back end onto the front of a modern Focus. Not good.

While we’re on the topic of looks, the hottest of the small car bunch is easily the MINI Cooper.

MINI Cooper

The Cooper doesn’t fall into the trap of having the odd proportions of other small cars. From any angle, it looks like a hunkered-down brute and is as cute as it is cool.

Speaking of odd proportions, though, look at the Honda Fit.

Honda Fit

From certain angles it seems way too tall for its tiny wheels and tires. Add in the bulbous front and a barn-wall rear and you’ve got a car that looks like designers forgot to shrink certain parts while over-shrinking others. Even so, I think the Fit is the small car to buy due to its peppy performance, high quality, strong resale value, and decent amount of interior space.

It’s impossible to write about micro cars without mentioning the smart fortwo, which has seen recent sales success in the States.

smart fortwo

At nearly 40 inches shorter than a MINI Cooper, I believe the fortwo has crossed the line into being TOO small for American roads. I’m all for saving gas and would even consider drastic measures to do so, but there are better ways than just making cars the size of a Tonka.

For those in the U.S.: Would you consider driving a small car? What European cars would you like to see here?

For those in Europe: What do you think about the small-car craze America is beginning to see? Are there any American cars you’d like to see over there?



  1. if bikes carry double the weight of its own weight, the cars carry less than 1/10 its weight…against the ecology. there is a need to cap the weight of a car that should not weigh the weight of all occupats, and the upper limit of speed needs to be specified….this can save lives, fuel, and ecology….let the world travel safe and sound

  2. I would never buy any thing small or anything front wheel drive for that matter. I’ve always owned American full-size vans and that is good enough for me. With the ability to haul both passengers and cargo around in one trip and not to mention a propane conversion as well, it’s economical enough for me. As well propane is a great alternative clean burning fuel. So I just let everyone else go crazy and stress themselves out with their little front wheel drive hybrids and micro cars always trying to get the best MPG. Fine let them. Just leave me out of it. To each their own.

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