While there are people trying their best to get us to start liking small cars and push the US carmakers to move/keep the plants here at home, consumers are saying something totally different. It was in 2015 when the US market sold more pickups and SUVs than sedans.
It just has to do with our nation’s ideology: bigger is better, safer and more awesome. It all comes back to those days when we had so much space in Texas that people could ride several tractors abreast and “environmentalism” didn’t have a meaning. While the physical reality has changed, our minds have yet to catch up. And that’s why we are still seeing so many people running out to buy fully tricked out trucks. NPR states that it’s the desire to have tall seating and high ground clearance that makes drivers think they are safe. While being in a bigger vehicle can be safe, it doesn’t mean fully equipped small vehicles can’t be safe. However, the fact of the matter is, small vehicles are disappearing. Just take a look at how Ford is axing a most of its little-car lineups.
That “bigger is better” deal has not only safety implications, but also power. There certainly are cases where a bigger car is outfitted with a massive engine, which gives drivers more power, whereas small cars usually get tagged with weaker engines, unless we're talking about a sports car.
Considering all that, let’s go ahead and check out some big cars that are really fast and some small cars that are really slow.
20 BIG & FAST: CADILLAC ESCALADE
If you were to read the specs of this car, your memory might jog back to the 1966 Cadillac Eldorado. Both boast similar capabilities, just that the Escalade is more powerful. It’s capable of hauling up to eight humans and a couple of dogs and cats thrown in here and there.
I’m not sure why the standard is a rear drive on an SUV, but at least all-wheel drive is available as an option.
Despite being able to carry a family of two (or one big family)—which necessitates the curb weight be 5,882 pounds—the monster can do 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, thanks to 420 HP.
19 BIG & FAST: AUDI Q7 TDI
Ah, the lovely Q7. There are various things to like about this car. Whether it’s the classic styling of the car, including the top-notch grille, or the brand’s aroma itself, it’s all liked very well by the public. It costs around $50K, but at the end of the day, you get a car that’s worth every penny.
The TDI version is essentially a turbocharged direct injection, and although things have become complicated because of the whole “Diesel Dupe,” the TDI version of the 2014 model produced a solid 240 HP and 406 lb-ft of torque, despite the curb weight being 5,412 lbs. Its 0-60 was near eight seconds.
18 BIG & FAST: BMW X6 M
If you wanted to flaunt your wealth (or wanted to just have this car without any intentions of showing off) this car would be ideal. It’s a style item. The exterior looks good, although I personally am not the biggest fan of the way it looks—just a little bit too fluffy.
My opinion aside, the car has an impressive powerplant.
Despite the weight being over 5K pounds, the car churns out a whopping 567 horses. It’s a little less efficient than the X5 M, but you can rest knowing its 0-60 is 3.8 seconds.
17 BIG & FAST: DODGE DURANGO SRT
Talking about a big car, here’s the Durango. Check out the size and design of this car. It’s just massive and seems unmanageable. If you wondered how a big, brawny car can manage to strive in the era of soft, good looking crossovers, you’re on the spot with this one.
GM has been wondering the same thing, and it looks like the Durango won’t make it far. Anyway, various options are available, but the SRT trim takes the game to a whole new level with 475 horses and sub-five-second 0-60 time. That’s pretty impressive for a car that has a curb weight of 5510 pounds.
16 BIG & FAST: DODGE CHARGER
While this may not look that big in the sea of all these SUVs listed here, I can assure you that C/D criticized it for being a little overweight and essentially said things would have been better if it had lost some weight. Sometimes I think these review websites think they are talking to and about humans.
Nevertheless, it’s a good ol’ muscle car that can fulfill the dreams of anyone.
The ride itself is comfortable, the exterior styling is aggressive, and the engine is powerful. Various engine options exist, and the 0-60 time can be as fast as 6.4 seconds.
15 BIG & FAST: LAND ROVER DISCOVERY HSE
The Discovery has been a good car—in terms of appearance. You’ll like the well-appointed interior and the third row seats that are actually capable of seating adults. On top of all that, the car is well built to be a true off-roader. There aren’t many problems I can imagine you’d have with this car in that regard.
However, there’s always that little issue of reliability that needs to be watched out for. But other than that, this 3L V6 beast can churn out a whopping 340 horses. The car is big with a curb weight of 4,751 pounds, but the 0-60 is 6.1 seconds. The price of this is around $60K.
14 BIG & FAST: BMW M760
Here’s another Bimmer. The M760 is one majestic car. The exterior styling looks pretty neat. The potency of these cars is not that apparent from the outside. There are minimal changes to the exterior when jumping from base to this version, but the actual driving experience is completely different.
As soon as you press that pedal, you’ll start flying! I mean, the car does have, like, 601 HP and 590 lb-ft of torque.
What exactly are those numbers there for? The 0-60 is well under 3.5 seconds, despite the car being well over 5K pounds. That’s the magic of the engine.
13 BIG & FAST: ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM
And here we are, with one of the heaviest vehicles. In addition to being big and heavy, the car is just full of luxury features. There’s not much you could want more in a car after you get something as good as an RR Phantom.
While you’ll likely have a chauffeur—so you can enjoy the luxuries in the back—you can still get a sense of sub-4.5-second acceleration when you sit in this car. It has a curb weight of over 5.5K pounds, just in case you were wondering.
12 BIG & FAST: MERCEDES-BENZ G-CLASS
The idea of this car came from the King of Iran, who at that time had a significant stake in MB. He suggested MB produce a military vehicle and from there this civilian version evolved. It’s a jeep like truck actually. It has the square proportions of a Jeep.
However, this one here comes with the MB badge and a bunch of features that make you think you’re traveling inside a luxurious yacht. Despite the big size, the beast is quite powerful and capable. The 0-60 is well under five seconds. However, the $100K plus price tag is a little too much for some.
11 BIG & FAST: TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
There’s a Curiosity on Mars that is perfect for the job of exploring Mars, and then there’s a Land Cruiser on earth, which is also perfect for its job. You can’t ask it to do any more than it already does, that’s how well built this is.
The off-road performance is just exceptional. Car and Driver even said this thing is quicker than what a vehicle in this class should be.
It’s a big and heavy thing, yet manages to do 0-60 in just 6.7 seconds. Now, its price tag is also kind of on the high end, which is a bit disconcerting for some.
10 SMALL & SLOW: HONDA FIT
The Fit is arguably one of the best cars you could have in its class. It looks pretty decent, but that’s not where the emphasis should be in a car like this. You have got to go to the name and then back to the car. It’s able to fit so much that, well, you can fit in anything you’d like.
The interior is highly configurable, which is one of the best selling points of this car. I mean, you should be able to fit a room worth of stuff into the car. There’s a downside to it though; the 0-60 time is in the eight-second range.
9 SMALL & SLOW: 2011 FORD FIESTA SES
The car itself was fun to drive. That’s the beauty that all of the small car-manufacturers can utilize and give to their customers, though not all of them choose to do so. But this one manages to do so because of its handling and that lovely manual transmission. We simply can’t resist a hatchback.
The car, however, lacked the power to carry itself around with pride.
It was equipped with a 120-HP engine and took 9.3 seconds to do the 0-60 race. There’s a good reason why a lot of these hot hatches have optional engines that are more powerful.
8 SMALL & SLOW: TOYOTA PRIUS
I’m sure Danny Koker from Counting Cars would have laughed at Toyota’s attempt to launch the eco-friendly Prius nearly two decades ago (Koker doesn’t believe in environmentalism), but I think this car did make a significant impact on our planet.
The exterior has improved over the years, and although it’s not the most liked exterior, it’s still doable. All said, the steering is just numb, and the 0-60 time is rather amusing. It’s kind of difficult to find a lot of 2018 cars with a 0-60 time of 10.5 seconds. That’s just not a good thing about this small Prius.
7 SMALL & SLOW: NISSAN VERSA NOTE
Here’s another neat little car. It looks pretty decent, but the car is not doing well in the market. The car is just not that famous among young drivers or shoppers on a tight budget. Part of that has to do with a dull driving experience and the dearth of regular features.
The interior is bland, in other words. While the car has some pros—good amount of rear space and cleverly designed cargo system—there’s not much that makes the car shine in the sea of mediocrity. Oh yeah, it does take the car a good 9.5 seconds to do the 0-60 trick.
6 SMALL & SLOW: SMART FORTWO
There’s always the question of how MB got into making a car like this, but sometimes I think I’d have to be above average to kind of understand the reasoning of the executives. However, there’s this little thing called money, which is probably why. The car is small and all cozy, which could be the nicest thing if you happen to live in a city where breathing fresh air becomes a chore, let alone driving a car.
But once this 0.9L turbocharged three-cylinder comes out of the city setting, the smoking hot 89 HP engine becomes rather impotent. It takes the car a solid 10.2 seconds to do 0-60.
5 SMALL & SLOW: MITSUBISHI MIRAGE G4
As much as I want to stay positive, this car really is making me pull my hairs out. If you check out C/D’s review of this car, you’ll note they were ruthless, just brutal with this car. The only highs of this car are fuel efficiency and inexpensive price tag.
And while there’s only one low for this car, it’s a big one— “Pretty much everything else,” writes C/D. Yikes.
There’s nothing to this car. The exterior looks so-so, the interior is lacking, and the powerplant is just slow. To give you a better idea, it crawls to 60 from zero in 12.8 seconds.
4 SMALL & SLOW: CHEVY SPARK
Unlike the Nissan Note, which just couldn’t make the cut, the Spark is doing pretty decent. It’s not at the Camaro level or anything like that, but at least it gets decent love from the drivers and reviewers.
One thing that distinguishes this from other little cars is the suite of 10 airbags that is standard. That’s pretty neat; your safety is utmost important to Chevy.
Additionally, it’s a hot hatch, so we like that. All told, the 98 HP 1.4L doesn’t do much when it’s time for the 0-60 race, finishing at the 10-second mark. Good thing it’s a manual.
3 SMALL & SLOW: TATA NANO
This car was built in India for the Indian population who wanted to free themselves from motorcycles and scooters. It was a really cheap car with a price tag of $1.5K. It’s hard to even find a stable 20-year-old beater here for that price.
However, the project ended up folding after a year due to incidents of fire, perceived safety issues, and dwindling sales. Considering the cheap price, it could have led to something big, but it never did. The car looks really small and was equipped with a 0.6L I2, which required 29.4 seconds to do the 0-60 trick.
2 SMALL & SLOW: MIA ELECTRIC CAR
When I first read the name of the car, for some reason I thought it’d be a Korean car manufacturer or something like that, but apparently, it’s a France based electric car company. Unlike a few other electric cars, here you can become a bit creative and get some bright contrasting colors to make it look a little exuberant. It looks decent.
But the powerplant of the car is severely strained. It can do 0-60 in 30 slow seconds. Folks, this car wouldn’t be legal on the highways here. Anyway, the company collapsed in 2013 due to financial burdens.
1 SMALL & SLOW: PEEL P50
While these little cars were built back in the ‘60s, they have surfaced again now. The newly designed cars are apparently road legal both here and in the UK. It’s a tiny car. When you get into the car (you better have been going to the gym religiously), the car will move with you.
Obviously, there’s no room for cargo, but it does seem to travel fine in crowded cities.
And once you’re at your office building, go ahead and wheel the car into your office like a suitcase. (You can watch Jeremey Clarkson doing that.) It’s so slow that it doesn’t have the ability to reach 60 mph.
Sources: autoguide.com, jalopnik.com