Our friends at Jalopnik have an interesting history on the Renault Twingo, a car that is about to celebrate its 20th birthday, and has arguably entered the “small car hall of fame” alongside cars like the Mini and the Volkswagen Golf. You can read about its origins as a Polish people’s car and see how its strayed further and further away from the ideal. The next Twingo is slated to share a platform with the upcoming Smart Fortwo replacement, and that means a rear-engine, rear drive layout.
Tag: City Car
Even though the Vauxhall Adam is named after its German twin’s founder, the British arm of General Motors felt it necessary to steal the ailing brand’s thunder, and release photos of their new city car – as if stealing production of the Astra wasn’t enough.
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark won’t unseat the Nissan Versa as America’s cheapest car when it launches in late 2012. Starting at $12,995, the basic LS model comes with a fairly decent suite of equipment, including 10 airbags, air conditioning, auxiliary jack (hooray!) power windows, Onstar and 15 inch alloy wheels.
Renault will start selling their Twizy electric vehicle in the United Kingdom, and the new vehicle is causing some headaches for UK regulators, who will have to establish a new vehicle category for it.
Chevrolet’s Spark minicar will go on sale in July starting at a price point below the Sonic’s $14,600 (destination included). The Korean-built minicar competes in the “A-segment”, alongside the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo and Scion iQ.
TTAC readers have suffered through my weird crush on Kia’s Picanto/Morning-based “Tam” for months now, patiently indulging my fascination with a car that’s so niche it won’t even be sold in Europe. But with Kia showing off these production images of what will be known as the Kia Ray, it seems that a lot of what I found so beguiling about this A-segment MPV will make it to production. What we’re looking at is a tiny A-segment micro-van, with the Picanto/Morning‘s 1.0 three-banger or 1.25 liter four. And, as we suspected based on early prototype shots, the car has three standard doors and one mini-slider on the passenger side, confirming that this funky little cube is half Kia Soul, half Hyundai Veloster. At a little over $11k, the Ray will also be a relatively cheap Kia, which is why it’s focused on Asian markets like Korea and China… but it’s probably too small to ever make it to the US or Europe. Scion is probably breathing a small sigh of relief…
Throw “Sport” on a car, and I’m going to expect certain things from it. So I wasn’t kind to the first FIAT 500 I reviewed. But, as with people, I’m always willing to give a car a second take from a more amenable angle. To avoid bits I didn’t care for, I requested the base-level “Pop” trim with an automatic transmission. Chrysler counter-offered a top-level Lounge. In brown. With brown leather. Not quite what I asked for, but as a member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society (sans card, alas) I felt duty bound to accept.
Though the Chevrolet Spark has been in GM’s small-car spotlight this week, the firm’s Opel division is working hard on yet another tiny A-segment city car, tentatively known as the Junior or Allegra. Built on a shortened Opel Corsa platform, the Allegra will be a three-door, four-seat model targeted at the low end of the European market, at an estimated price of €10k. With a European debut targeted for the end of next year, Opel hopes to take the fight to the VW Up! And after it debuts, the smallest, cheapest Opel will become the home of an entirely new generation of small Opel-developed engines, with hybrid and EV versions rumored as well. Will it end up coming to the US as a Cadillac city car, as tipped by the recent ULC Concept? If gas prices go up, at least that option will be on the table…
If you have a pulse and a willful ignorance of the local speed limit, you’re probably not interested in the Chevrolet Spark. If you’re a media-savvy hipster who’s on Facebook sixteen hours a day, you’re probably not interested in the Spark, either. If you’re a techno-geek or an eco-geek, you’re probably still not interested in the Chevrolet Spark.
If you need something to get you from point Alpha to point Beta and aren’t willing to pay too much, you might be interested in the Spark. But only after all the alternatives have been removed from your short-list as being too sensible. And even then, a lobotomy might be required to help you make up your mind.
That’s a shame, because the Spark isn’t really that bad.
It will come as no surprise to regular TTAC readers when I say that Scion has had some sales issues lately. But instead of euthanizing the brand as some on TTAC have suggested, Toyota has decided to take a different route. Thankfully, rather than creating more me-too models based off of US-market Toyotas, the plan includes some JDM/Euro models and the much anticipated “Toyobaru “sports car. The first object of foreign desire landing stateside to start off Scion’s resurrection is the Toyota iQ micro-car. The iQ should be in showrooms across the country soon, but does Scion have the IQ to make a smarter Smart?
When asked by thenational.ae if he preferred to drive his McLaren F1 or Mclaren-Mercedes SLR to work everyday, the man who designed both legendary hypercars, Gordon Murray demurs:
I wouldn’t say the SLR is quite an everyday car but I certainly like to drive it to work. But for me, despite all those cars and my single-seater Rocket [a car he privately designed], it’s the [eight year-old Smart Roadster] I’m most taken with. For one, it’s a great-looking car. It has a power roof, heated seats and air con, and it all weighs just 830kg. In fact, it’s got all you’d want from a car. It nips around corners and it’s fun to drive.
So, other than proving that Murray has exquisite taste (I’d kill you all for a Brabus Smart Roadster Coupe), what’s the point? That, having been there and done that in the world of high performance, Murray’s taking on a less obviously sexy but ultimately significant project that first occurred to him in a traffic jam back in 1993: the T.25 and T.27 city cars. We’ve written about Murray’s T.25 before, but the real news today is the release of specs for the T.27, an all-electric version of the tiny three-seater. And yes, it weighs 1,500 lbs on the nose (including batteries), and ekes 100 miles of range out of just 12 kWh. That beats the efficiency of competitors like the Smart EV (by 29%), the Mitsubishi iMiEV (by 36%) and MINI E (by 86%). So, how does it do it?
According to a recent projection, GM will be selling over 2m vehicles on its Gamma (Aveo) platform by 2016… and thanks to Cadillac’s Urban Luxury Concept, we know what the most profitable iteration of that platform could look like. Yes, it’s the new-wave Cimarron of the future, inspired by such pedigreed city-car competitors as the Aston-Martin Cygnet and the Bugatti Petit Sport Sang de Navet. And with Lambo doors and a grille that would put a crunk rapper to shame, the littlest Caddy certainly does everything it can to distract from its humble (presumably budget Korean hatchback) roots. Because, as lead designer Frank Saucedo puts it
There is no minimum size for a Cadillac driving experience.
But there is a minimum volume per platform target… and the importance of this metric almost guarantees that, in some way or another, the Cimarron will ride again.
The need to expand automotive brands while improving fuel economy is driving automakers to some interesting lengths of late. From GM future concepts that have more in common with a Segway than a Cruze, to Honda’s U-3X and Chrysler’s ill-fated PeaPod, automakers are sending strong hints that the future will be smaller and decidedly less car-like. And MINI and Smart recently took this trend to its logical conclusion, each announcing that they would build (or, more precisely, re-brand) scooters… or as they call them, “alternative mobility concepts.” Which raises the question: what’s a scooter brand to do? Well, Piaggio, maker of the Vespa and other scooter-based “alternative mobility concepts” isn’t going to just drone off into that good night, and it’s fighting back by creating an “alternative” to its core scooter products: a four wheeled car-like “mobility concept.”