Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I'm Attracted To Cheap Small Cars
By Andy Lilienthal
Here I set at 11:08pm scouring Craigslist, Auto Trader, and Cars.com for deals on the Chevrolet Spark, Toyota Yaris, Mazda2, and Scion iQ. I admit, I love the thrill of the hunt when it comes to cars. (I also admit I don't need a new car.)
But whether I need a new car isn't the point. Why do I keep looking at these cars? I can afford something bigger, more powerful, more expensive. Yet, I'm inexplicably drawn to the Chevrolet Spark 2LT; the Toyota Yaris SE; the Mazda2 Touring; the Mitsubishi Mirage ES; the Scion iQ. They're inexpensive, frugal, and small. Yet, I'd likely own any of them. (The iQ and the Mirage are definite maybes, however.)
If I were to buy a car tomorrow, I could likely afford a lightly used Fiat 500 Abarth—one of the most fun cars out there. I could probably afford cars like the Fiesta ST or an FR-S/BR-Z (aka the "OMG RWD" twins). But when it comes down to it, I'm always drawn to the smallest fugal cars; the underdogs if you will. Would I be happy with a Chevy Spark? I don't know. Then again, would I be happy with an Abarth? It's likely I'd be happy with both for different reasons.
I posted up photos of the next-generation Spark. I often think to myself that I'd like to get a 2014 or 2015 model before the new one comes out. I love the Spark's edgy, chunky look, especially in 2LT trim (although I think all of them are good looking). I know they only make 85 horsepower. But like my Yaris, I'm a sucker for small compact hatchbacks. And do I really need 160 hp in my car? The answer is of course—no. But power is addictive. Hey, I already have a 265 hp WRX for when I need my fix.
For whatever reason, I just can't shake my love for small, funky cars. Cars that are not the most refined and cars that are not perfect (too slow, not refined, too small); cars that require an explanation when telling other car people what you drive (yes, it's a lowered Yaris with a custom intake manifold and orange wheels). These are often cars that draw attention and often draw jest. But for some reason, be it frugality, practicality, or whatever (it's certainly not performance), I've always been drawn to them. Whether it's a Daihatu Rocky or a Subaru Justy; a Chevrolet Spark or a Scion iQ, I often tell people I love the small ugly cars that no one likes. I guess someone has to.
People, even car people, are often surprised there is a Yaris following, or an enthusiast base for Smart ForTwos. Yes, believe it or not, there are other wackos out there like myself. I just happen to write about it from time to time. It's also likely that I don't intend to stop anytime soon.
So bring on the Mirages, the iQs, the Sparks, and the Rios. The Cubes, the Justys, the Rockys, and Sprint Turbos. You are imperfect, tiny, and often mocked. But I don't care. I love you—and thankfully—I know some of you do, too.