I'll admit it. As the owner of Subcompact Culture, sometimes I feel guilty looking at bigger vehicles and considering purchasing one. I mean, this is "The Small Car Blog," right? I've always had smallish cars; the largest car we've ever owned was a 2012 Subaru Forester—not exactly a land yacht.
Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't ever consider buying anything larger than a Honda Fit. As much as I love the smallest of the small cars, I admit to having a thing for vehicles that are a bit bigger. This includes the likes of the extremely off-road capable Jeep Wrangler; the powerful Ford Mustang (although technically still a subcompact); the mid-sized Toyota Tacoma, and the super-versatile Mazda5. Honestly, I'd own any of these vehicles despite the fact none of them is a "small car." Then again, none of them are enormous, either. In fact, they're all still pretty small compared to some of the other vehicles in their respective classes.
Sometimes you have to consider what you're doing with a vehicle and if it fits your needs. For example, while the Teal Terror pictured above is fine for venturing out into the woods or putt-putting around the urban Porland landscape, traveling 800 miles at Interstate speeds in a lifted Suzuki Sidekick isn't exactly the most comfortable. With only about 70 horespower to the wheels, a range of about 140 miles when pulling our trailer, and wind noise levels that makes it feel like you're driving a tent down the freeway while in a typhoon. There are times I long for something more powerful and comfortable, such as the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Tacoma, or even a V6-powered Suzuki Grand Vitara. Shit, even a 1999+ Suzuki Vitara or Chevy Tracker with the 127 horsepower 2.0-liter mill would be a vast improvement over my Sidekick's anemic 1.6-liter hamster wheel. Even a modern Jeep Wrangler feels luxurious compared to the old Sidekick, especially with its 285 horsepower Pentastar V-6. The Sidekick roars at 70 MPH and spins about 3,800 RPM, all while the soft top flaps in the breeze. A hill? Downshift to third gear and floor it; hopefully that semi truck doesn't creep up on my bumper too much. Speeding, however, isn't usually an issue. Finding a gas station in the middle of nowhere with only 140 iles per tank can be.
So perhaps a Suzuki Sidekick isn't the optimal Interstate cruiser, but it still does get decent mileage, is super maneuverable, and plenty of fun at slower speeds (really, it does great at about 60 MPH). So what about a daily driver?
Sometimes my big car guilt even makes me feel like a compact car is too big. I should be driving a subcompact! I don't have kids. I don't have a dog. I don't haul people around a lot. Hell, there's a good chance that I could get by every single day with a Scion iQ. So do I really need a "big" Subaru WRX? Of course I don't! Does anyone really need a 265 horespower, all-wheel drive car? No way. But the WRX is heaps of fun. It's fast, it's practical, it comes in a manual transmission, and it's capable in foul weather. If we all drove exactly what we needed, we'd likely be on motor scooters most of the time. (Although we love scooters.)
When it comes down to my automotive passion, I suppose it's not limited to a one-size-fits-all thing. I love hot rods, muscle cars, trucks, sports cars, and can respect any gearhead's passion—no matter what size, shape, year, or style. I'd be the last person on earth telling someone they should be driving a Smart car because they don't need a big car, or that they should buy a small EV for environmental purposes. Drive what you love, love what you drive, and respect every enthusiast's passion.
Maybe it's time to give up the big car guilt. If I want something a bit bigger, that's fine. But even my "big" would likely be pretty small. After all, sometimes it's not the size that matters. (Sorry, it had to be said.)