Tag: Size

By on February 20, 2018

Image: 1977 Honda Civic CVCC

Uh oh. We’re talkin’ size today. That’s right, a topic tailor-made for awkwardness, embarrassment, even shame — something best not spoken of in polite company. Just amongst your close friends and, perhaps, a doctor… whose brother is a salesman.

The fact of the matter is, sometimes we don’t fit in the cars we love. Or, we can’t cram our gangly or girthy frames into a less desirable car with several redeeming qualities, thus striking it from our mental list of automotive “maybes.”

It’s happy times for those whose height or weight deviates from the norm. Vehicles in all segments are growing like Western nations’ deficits, stretching in wheelbase and expanding in interior room, providing us all with far more comfortable cabin than the vehicles of yesteryear. Remember the Ford Contour? Midsize, my ass. (Read More…)

By on September 29, 2015

2016-Mini-Clubman-rear

This past Sunday night, I wandered over to my local movie theater to catch Black Mass. Although I’m suffering from a bit of Joel-Edgerton-related-ennui lately and I never really got over the idea of Hey, that’s Johnny Depp in makeup, I had to admit that overall, it was a tightly plotted and thoroughly entertaining film. More importantly, it had an absolutely killer lineup of Malaise-era automobiles, including an utterly stunning ’78 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight with a white leather interior. In fact, until the moment that a 1980 Citation makes an unexpected and rather violent appearance on the scene, it’s nothing but wall-to-wall Seventies sedans. Just the way I like it.

I remember that as a child my grandparents complained about the squared-off, generic appearance of pretty much everything for sale in the post-Nixon era. I can sympathize a bit because although every car sold in the Fifties also looked just like every other car for sale, the general template of the Bel Air/Fairlane/et al was appealing and colorful and optimistic. But even if you don’t care for the ’74 Malibu Classic or the ’79 Granada, at least they had proportions that emphasized width over height. The worst of them had a certain dignity.

Not so with today’s rolling toaster ovens. We’re rapidly approaching the era where every single car for sale will be some variant on the almighty CR-V. The latest sales data from Porsche and MINI simply hammer that home, with a uniquely depressing twist.

(Read More…)

By on October 7, 2010

The Countryman is a game-changer for us. We are going from extra-small to small
MINI USA’s Jim McDowell turns brand defiance into “game changer” status, by defining the forthcoming Countryman “SUV” as “small” and the previous MINI models as “extra small” in Automotive News [sub]. But the $22,350 Countryman (Cooper S trim with AWD should cost “just under $30k”) is considerably less extra-small than even the next-least-small MINI, the Clubman. According to MINI’s European sites [UK comparison tool here], the Countryman Cooper S weighs about 200 lbs more than the Clubman Cooper S (loaded or “kerb” weight, before adding AWD) and 400 lbs more than the MINI Cooper S. It’s also nearly six inches longer than the Clubman, four inches wider and five inches taller. In fact, with AWD and an automatic (sure to be the most popular configuration in the US market), there’s no way the Countryman Cooper S will weigh less than 3,000 lbs. If that’s what qualifies as “small” these days, it’s a wonder the MINI brand exists at all.

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