Today I wanted to talk about a very unique segment in the automotive world, the microcar segment. This segment has some of the most quirkiest and interesting cars in the United States.
All over the world, the micro car is incredibly popular. Since gas prices are atrociously expensive in foreign countries, having a tiny car really helps to save money. In fact in Japan, they have a class called a kei car, which has a 0.6 liter engine with around 50 horsepower, which is the definition of weak. Besides the point, city cars in the States grew in popularity when the Smart Fortwo debuted back in 2009. All of these have around 100 or less horsepowerAfter these years, the American automobile world has seen plenty of these.
These are the micro cars available as of now in the States. The Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi i, Smart ForTwo and thats about it. The surprising part is how all of these passed government tests and are available in the United States.
If there is one car I would not recommend, its the Mitsubishi Mirage. It is actually an old nameplate dating back to around 2003 when it was a decent compact car. Ressurected as a city car, and its one of the worst cars to buy in America. Mitsubishi just did not really spend time on fine details and had a measly 1.2 liter three cylinder engine with 78 horsepower. This combo with a sluggish CVT or 5 speed manual makes this car feel anemic and antequated after 5 minutes of driving. The only good thing about this car is it came with automatic climate control, other than that avoid this expensive car.
The Mitsubishi i has a weird proposition, its just an electric car imported from Japan. While there is not much performance data in America, what I can tell you is the styling is very quirky and its interior does not really suit up to American tastes. Seats are very tiny, controls are small and just does not really fit here.
The ForTwo will always be known as the reason why the microcar class came back, but that does not mean its a great car. It has one of the worst transmissions in all of time, a 5 speed sequential manual, which has clunkly and crude shifting. Its fun to drive though.
The Sparks a korean car dressed up as a Chevrolet and its actually not a bad car, it is probably the most practical in the class and it has a four cylinder which is nice. It feels decent inside and it is roomy.
The micro car to buy is the Fiat 500. There are millions of ways to configure this cute car. You can even get an electric version of the 500 and you can get a hyped up turbo Abarth model with 160 horsepower which makes this car super fun to toss around! I would honestly drive one anyday since you can find one in the used market for a really good price and they are selling like hot cakes so get yours while they last!
Overall other than the 500, this segment of cars is one I would completely avoid if you can, its worth getting a subcompact since you get more for your money. But for now I hope you all have a great week! Stay tuned!