Saturday, June 23, 2007

Learning from the Europeans about how to save the planet and still have wheels: the mini-compact


C1 [on Woodbury] 3
Originally uploaded by acra
Crossing Belgium and part of France over a couple of days drive has shown us that a mini-compact, the Citroen C1, is a viable vehicle.

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.

3 comments:

Noma said...

The only problem with those small cars is that over here, they'd have to be right next to a massive SUV that wouldn't even notice as it rolled right over you. I am all for them, but the transition time will be very scary.

annabel said...

We have a friend who drives a two door Yaris around Houston and she hasn't been run over yet. It was about $11,000 and gets 40 mpg, it isn't the C1 but it is getting closer.

Anonymous said...

Construct a car with a carbon composite body with a hybrid energy system and 100 mpg should be the minimum fuel efficiency for the average commuter ... plus increase driver/passenger safety from current models.