Tuesday, November 10, 2020

We're Still Enjoying Small Cars

Toyota Yaris TSD Rally Car - Subcompact Culture

To be honest, I'm tired of writing about how small cars are disappearing in the U.S. and Canada. I originally started this post with yet another glum note about the disappearance of small cars on the North American market—a screed about the woefully small amount of subcompact car choices. But I'm done griping. The bottom line is this: Times change, buyer's tastes change, and life moves on. However, doesn't mean we have to stop enjoying small cars. In fact, I'd say it's the opposite. 

Admittedly, the majority of our time has been focused on our sister site, Crankshaft Culture, which embraces the idea that every vehicle is an adventure. We talk four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and two-wheel drive adventure vehicles—some of which aren't your typical truck. However, we still enjoy driving our small cars. This includes our modified 2007 Toyota Yaris pictured above and 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage below. 

The Yaris

In fact, two weeks ago we opted to use our Yaris liftback in the 2020 Ghouls Gambol road rally held by the Cascade Sports Car Club. It was a 100% tarmac time-speed-distance (TSD) rally, and it turns out the Yaris was the perfect choice. There were lots of curves, twists, and switchbacks on the route, and none of our lifted 4WD diesel-powered JDM Mitsubishis would've been able to keep the pace as well as our sporty Yaris. In fact, we took 2nd in our class and 3rd overall at the Halloween-themed rally in our sporty little Yaris. To be honest, this really sparked something in me. 

It reminded me why I love our nimble hatchback and small cars in general. It also made me think about changing it up a bit; keeping the flame alive. The Yaris was such a great little car for TSD rally, we might just add a bit more rally bits to it to make it our dedicated TSD car. Maybe we'll lift it up a bit, add some driving lights, perhaps some mud flaps to protect the paint on dirt routes. We're already entered into the 2022 Alcan 5000 summer rally. Maybe we'll take the Yaris instead of the 1991 Mitsubishi Pajero we used on the 2020 Alcan 5000 winter rally?


2017 Mitsubishi Mirage - Subcompact Culture
Our 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

All 'The Rage'

Our Mitsubishi Mirage (akaThe Rage) continues to be a great little super commuter, despite the fact we're no longer actually, you know, commuting. It's not exactly rapid, but its no-fuss nature and frugal fuel economy are still endearing. Plus, with the Eibach Pro Kit springs, rear sway bar, Nankang AS-1 tires, and 15" JDM 5Zigen Pro Racer GN+ wheels, it's actually fun to drive in the twisties. It is, however, what we call a "momentum car." We have an intake on it that makes a lot of noise, probably doesn't make an iota more power, but presents the illusion of speed—something small cars have always been good at. I've threatened to put a custom muffler on it too just to make it sound a bit better. The Mirage's throttle response is admittedly dreadful for performance driving, but I hope to have a device in the making that should combat that. Stay tuned. 

So instead of focusing on how few new small cars are on the market these days, maybe we need to turn our attention to why we love the ones we have, how we might obtain that one we've always wanted, and simply continue to enjoy the aspects that have always made us passionate small car enthusiasts. 

1 comment:

Jay said...

Thanks for the post, always glad to hear what you're up to!