When it comes to buying a new car, bigger is not always better. Small cars, generally defined as two- or four-seat vehicles, have a length of less than 457.2 centimetres and wheelbase of less than 266.7 centimetres and may in fact be the better choice in terms of drivability, safety and practicality.
In the past, large cars and trucks were highly touted, because they could haul more cargo, transport bigger parties and never compromise safety. But drivers are not looking to move furniture every other week now, and with hatchbacks such as the Honda Fit, they can easily take some more time at Costco, knowing that the adjustable room is flexible and accommodating, if not spacious.
The world is changing, and as more and more cars appear on the road, being smaller might just be the best driving advantage you can have.
We often hear about the hypothetical collision between a Hummer and Smart Car. The image of a smooshed petite vehicle is what appears in our heads, thus deterring us from driving them. Though, in terms of physics, a small car is less likely to prevail in a small-verses-big-vehicle collision, it doesn’t mean that small cars are dangerous.
Larger cars have numerous dodgy factors to consider too. With a higher centre of gravity, large vehicles, such as SUVs, are more likely to roll over, and trucks with unequal weight distributions can fishtail aggressively on wet pavement. All large vehicles offer is a false sense of security and that’s often more hazardous.
The IIHS report clearly shows vast improvements in small-car safety between 2005 and 2011. New safety technologies, like electronic stability control and full side airbags, as well as improved structural materials have reduced the death toll of small-car drivers by 50 per cent. One can only assume that the number will continue to drop as small cars become even more progressive safety-savvy.
There is nothing worse than traversing a tight alley or searching for a parking spot in an urban area, except maybe doing all of that in a large cumbersome vehicle. Small cars tend to be nimbler and more responsive, making it the more practical choice for city drivers. Entering cramp parkades and taking tight turns on smaller roads is easier when you don’t have extraneous parts daring to scrap against a pillar, parked vehicle or pedestrian.
Driving a smaller vehicle is simply the more sensible choice for novice and experienced drivers. After all, there is no such thing as wasted space, both inside and out. Getting around isn’t a big ordeal when you’re unobtrusive.
Small cars have less mass, enabling better performance without installation of a more powerful engine. That is why sleek, speedy sports cars are often smaller and lighter. While true sport and muscle cars have an increased length, adding to the aerodynamic features of the car for a smoother ride, more modest cars can hold their own too without any further strain or modifications. Small cars, as far as they go, are built to perform with less effort. Whether it is an every-day situation or long road trip down the coast, driving a smaller car is all in all a better experience, and it’s all because of the performance.
Fit in Compact Spaces, Including Your Tiny Garage
We are now living in a world of over seven billion people. It’s hard to imagine an automobile and a parking space for everybody. In North America, we feel as though we have unlimited amount of room, but that’s not true. Space is a fading commodity in the city core, parking lots and garages. Owning a large vehicle may be a way to showcase prosperity, but it also exhibits negligence and tactlessness. If you are buying a large vehicle to fuel your own desire, please reconsider, because if you don’t make room for us, there might not be room for you either.
When sifting through a list of affordable cars, you’d find that the majority are smaller vehicles. There are many factors adding up to savings, including fewer materials, better fuel economy, cheaper insurance rate and less maintenance.
In addition, smaller vehicles are also more environmentally-friendly. Electric and hybrid options are in high demand, not only because of the green factors, but also because it means money saved in your pocket. As emission taxes and gas prices increase, it only makes sense that our car sizes should decrease.
To all the car buyers out there: recall the Volkswagen Beetle ad that revolutionized a generation and “Think small.”