Saturday, June 23, 2007
Learning from the Europeans about how to save the planet and still have wheels: the mini-compact
Into the miniscule auto went 2 adults, an 11 year-old and 3 suitcases plus 3 stuffed book bag-type backpacks. Indeed, our son was a bit cramped in the back seat. Overall, it worked surprisingly well.
For the driver, the 5-speed joy-of-driving transmission was a winning item. It did not feel underpowered exiting toll booths, nor ramping into big highways. In 5th gear I would ease up to 80 mph (130 kph) and felt at ease alongside the Audis and Aston Martins.
Inside, it felt like we were riding in a standard sedan. When we got out and looked at the, well, motorized shoebox, we were amazed.
Evidently the 3-cylinder engine gets 60 miles per gallon. And it's a twin to the Toyota Aygo (sold in Europe, not the US). It was developed between Toyota, Citroen and Peugot.
The mini-compact is an enormously popular car in Europe. We hope it will be available in the US one day, because this planet saver costs about $10,000 US. That's much less than a Toyota Yaris or Corolla and about half the cost of a Prius.
Some 60 miles per gallon. All of a sudden, Americans can dig it.