Scott Lear
Scott Lear
7/16/19 1:14 p.m.

This amazing story originally ran in our November 2007 issue, which explains why there was no inclusion of the new Fiat 500, as we didn't get the 500 in North America until 2010. What can you expect to pay for these microcars? Pricing will be included under each respective car, courtesy of the Hagery Valuation tool.

America is obsessed with big things. Skyscrapers are fighting to blot out the sun. Televisions now rival sliding glass doors in size. Übersized fast-food drink cups have gotten so massive that they will barely fit into any of the umpteen cup holders in an 18.5-foot long Chevy Suburban.

And while said Suburban used to stand out as a true titan of the road, these days Chevy’s family bus is lost in a crowd of equally massive beasts. Auto makers spend lots of money trying to figure out what the people want, and it turns out the people want big—and they’ll spend big money for it. Not surprisingly, the manufacturers oblige them.

Notable exceptions from the past 20 years include the Mazda Miata and the BMW-designed MINI Cooper. Unfortunately for lovers of the Lilliputian, all designs evolve. It’s extraordinarily rare for a new car model not to take up more space than the design it’s replacing. Even the Miata and MINI have ballooned with each evolution—big just keeps seeping in.

Dire situations like the fuel crisis of the 1970s have been able to ratchet this growth back a few steps on a broad scale, but as engineers find new ways to increase efficiency we inevitably end up wondering how our garages got so small. Doesn’t anyone appreciate the little things in life?

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Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
7/17/19 2:10 p.m.

It's good to see a Berkeley again. 

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