The way we human beings have a thing for the bigger the better, similarly, we also tend to have aww-moments with things that are tiny, small or otherwise cute. This is the reason there are videos aplenty on Facebook where they make cook tiny amounts of food using a miniature kitchen. So the way we love trucks and huge things on wheels, we also love tiny cars and not just for their usefulness.
With the way the things are on most roads, congested and crowded, it won’t be surprising to see more mini-cars up and about shortly. So here are five mini cars that are or were simply awesome, and five too ridiculous for words. Does size matter?
10 Cool: The Smart EQ Fortwo
The Smart EQ Fortwo is the smallest thing on four wheels in the global car bazaar right now, but it also manages to stand out because of its futuristic design. Its miniature stature and electric motor make it one of the best city cars we have today.
True to its name, it can smartly take you around the cramped city streets without difficulty. This all-electric car comes with a host of first-class features that make it a premium offering in the segment. It houses a small 60-kW three-phase synchronous motor under its hood that can put out 80 horsepower. For a car this size, these output figures are pretty cool to zip around in.
9 Cool: The Intelligent Toyota Scion iQ
The Scion iQ is just 120 inches in length but it is one power-packed pocket rocket. It’s very high on IQ since it has a lot to offer when it comes to features and is a perfect choice for city commuters. Parking, U-turns, and daily commute are perfectly hassle-free if you zip around in this tiny thing on wheels.
Under the hood lies a 1.3-liter straight-four engine rated at 97 horsepower and 91 ft-lb torque. The best thing in the car was its clever seating setup – three adults and a child could easily fit in the Scion iQ by adjusting the seats. And remember this adorable little car is a Toyota, a brand known for its reliability.
8 Cool: The First Van: Fiat 600 Multipla
On its debut in 1955, Fiat 600, as the name suggests, was armed with a 633cc straight-four motor. It is still dubbed as one of the most iconic names in the automobile history of Italy. Following its success, its MPV version, The Fiat 600 Multipla, was introduced the very next year. The Multipla was in the car bazaar for about thirteen years and around 130,000 Multipla were sold in its lifetime.
In the 1950s, it ruled the European auto markets and manufacturers from other countries bought rights to create their versions of the car to cash in on its popularity, as quickly as possible. Of course, some dubbed it the ugliest car Fiat had ever brought out, but sales proved otherwise.
7 Toyota COMS, For One
Another one from Toyota’s stable, this ultra-compact car is a single-seater and it weighs just about 900 pounds. The best thing about this micro EV is the fact that it’s a really good value for money, though it can seat a grand total of one. The mini-car has a range of about 31 miles on a single full charge which may sound less but if you use it to run zippy errands, is enough.
The car may be small in size but its rather futuristic design does attract a lot of eyeballs as does the single drive cum passenger. It’s about 97 inches in length and 43.5 inches in width. This makes it one of the smallest and handiest cars around.
6 Cool: Autobianchi Bianchina Transformabile
Autobianchi was an Italian auto giant that was born out of a union of Bianchi, Pirelli, and Fiat in 1955. Their marriage lasted for almost 40 years as they carved a name for themselves in the small car segment. The Bianchina Transformabile came into being in 1957 and was the smallest in the family.
This small four-wheeler was just 117.5 inches in length and weighed just about 1120 pounds. The tiny little excuse for a car was an open-top semi-convertible one. Under the hood was a rear-mounted 499cc two-cylinder motor that could crank out 21 horsepower, which was okay for that time. Its engine unit was paired with a four-speed manual transmission and many remember it as one cool drive.
5 Silly: The Not-So-Reliant Robin
Anybody who has ever watched an episode of the British slapstick comedy Mr. Bean must have spotted the Reliant Robin. This is the car that would often be forced to swerve away from Bean’s green 1977 Leyland Mini 1000. And what is shown in the program isn’t far from the truth – far for being reliant, the Robin tended to topple because of its precarious three wheels.
It was popular because it was cheap and ran cheaper, at 70 miles per gallon. And if it got stuck in parking, you could just lift one end and move it around a tad. That said; it still looked far too funny to be considered a car.
4 Silly: Not A Scooter: Piaggio Vespa 400
So once upon a time, the Vespa was a scooter. Or rather, Vespa is a scooter now but once upon a time, it was a car. The Vespa 400 was a tiny little 360-kilo car that was 112 inches long. It was 50 inches high and wide each.
It could only sit two full adults, with enough space to squeeze in a kid, or some stuff in. It remained in production from 1957 to 71 and looked adorable. Obviously, with a car this size, the engine was in the rear and the boot in the front. The two-cylinder, two-stroke, air-cooled powerhouse, if you could call it that, produced a horsepower that will leave you laughing – 13!
3 Silly: Isetta: Bubble-like But Not Bubbly
The Isetta, sometimes also referred to incorrectly as the BMW Isetta was thought of and made by Iso Rivolta. It was a licensed to the BMW who did sell some from 1955 to 1962 before sheer embarrassment took over and BMW washed its hands off the Isetta.
The horsepower here is even more ridiculous than the Vespa, being an all-encompassing number of nine! The dimensions were equally the opposite of gargantuan with the smallest Isetta being 52 inches high, 53 inches wide and just 90 inches in length. It was called the “bubble car” due to its bubble-like shape and managed to become quite the little spectacle on the road.
2 Silly: The Strange EV: Corbin Sparrow
The 1999 Corbin Sparrow can now perhaps be called ahead of its time, despite the three wheels. It’s not the size that was so important, but the fact that this little bird ran on electricity rather than gas. Even at that time, it was a little electric wonder, but perhaps no one had the idea of how important electric cars would come to be in the foreseeable future.
The Sparrow was taken over by Myers Motors in 2004, rebadged the Myers NMG (no more gas) and was last heard as awaiting crowdfunding. Unfortunately for this 600-kilo, 96inch-long, 48-inch wide, and 57-inch high car – all the big brands are now into electric cars.
1 Silly: Biscúter 100: Look Ma, No Doors
The post-war scenario of any country is grim, and it reflects upon everything and anything the country makes. So post WWII Spain was no different – the war, coupled with the civil war had decimated many big brains. Plus, there was an international embargo that limited money.
So Spain needed low-budget rides and someone thought of a car with the tiniest dimensions and the most minimalism possible. The name Biscúter comes from a French car Biscooter which means two scooters. The car looked like a tinier version of today’s golf cars with no doors or windows and no reverse gear either. It was a single-cylinder 9-horsepower marvel that even the Mini could snigger at!