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Old 10-02-2007, 07:29 PM   #31
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Sorry but I think you have it backwards....car companies make the cars the market demands, not the other way around. These days the US market still demands too big, too heavy, and too powerful.
There is no doubt a segment of the population who just can't get enough power/acceleration. Just look on the diesel truck forums -- very depressing (and rather pathetic I think). OTOH, If I took an informal survey of all my friends and aquaintances, I'd be willing to bet that the majority would say they want decent safety features and impact ratings, and enough power (more torque than acceleration) to keep up with traffic and get up hills adequately. Beyond that, I think they would be willing to trade the excess power for efficiency. I guarantee my mom's '99 passat has never once seen 5,000 rpm (even when she let me borrow it when I was younger/stupider), and I think she's a pretty typical driver.

Not that we americans are completely blameless. The manufacturers feed us their latest crop and we passively accept it without clamoring for something better.

And it probably is true that the vast majority of automotive "enthusiasts" want speed and performance, and they're the ones who read the magazines and respond to market surveys, etc.

But I've got to think that an 85-95 hp car with modern safety features, good styling, a 50 mpg epa rating, and priced in the mid teens would sell. It would have to be one of the best selling cars out there -- assuming it came from one of the major manufacturers and was enthusiastically marketed (unlike GMs EV1 a few years ago). And with current technology and intelligent design, this would be easily doable.

I think it's a combination and feedback cycle of public apathy/ignorance and the manufacturers deliberately keeping certain vehicles -- which they already mass produce for other markets -- out of America. But I do blame the manufacturers primarily because you can't really expect the average soccer mom to understand gear ratios and engine thermodynamics.
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:58 PM   #32
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A rough idea of a conversation I had the other day at work after seeing my metro and finding out how good a mileage it gets.

girl:"I wish I could get that kind of mileage in my car"

me:"It isn't that hard just get a little car strip it down to the bare essentials and legal minimum stuff"

girl:"but I want to keep my power windows and air conditioning and I like sitting up high in my explorer"

me:"There is no secret trick to get better mileage, change how you drive or change what you drive can get you better mileage, but getting a big heavy station wagon to get over 20mpg is not really possible"

girl:"I have heard there are things you can buy and put on your car to get a lot better mileage that are coming out soon" (as seen on TV crap I figure)

me:"ok sure whatever you say"

It wasnt that simple of a conversation but you can get the general idea of it. She is not willing to give up all the nonsense and perceived safety of her wagon and thinks that any day now she can buy something to put on it that will get it up to 30mpg or whatever. So I bet the next car she buys will be another big thing and she will still think that soon it will get better mileage so it is ok to put up with bad mileage for now since it is only temporary. Or maybe like a lot of stupid people they still think that once bush is out of office gas will go back down

Me personally I don't think small cars actually have an image problem. I get plenty of attention in my Metro, not just weird looks and have actually picked up several women while cruising around in it. I went to a car show and parked on a side near the end of the show cars and it got more attention that most of the cars at the show, so next year I am actually going to wash it and put it in the show beside my kit car. If anyone actually made a basic small car that got 50+mpg and was around 10k they prob would be selling a lot of them. Right now the only way to get a basic small car or truck with good mileage is to buy used.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:36 PM   #33
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thast the problem right there i think, ok i can see if a really tall person needs a bigger velchle to fit in and be comforiatble but when you have some tiny little woman in a huge truck that she need s a stepladder to get into it just because she wants to sit up high and feel liek "shes taller/better than everyone else" then they get that soccer mom attitude and idea and accualy think they are better than you in the tiny geo(just an example) and try to run you over. and oh man i cant be seen *GASP* manually rolling down my windows!!!! or i dont dare be hot unless im tanning!!!!!!!
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:46 PM   #34
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thast the problem right there i think, ok i can see if a really tall person needs a bigger velchle to fit in and be comforiatble but when
New Beetle... For people that gain height when they sit down Seriously, you'd be hard pressed to wonk your head into the roof

To be fair though, I physically don't fit in an older Miata - my head is above the windscreen due to my giraffe like neck I also don't fit in the back seat of a Porsche 944 - we have to take the sunroof off and 3/4 of my head sticks out (luckily, that only been a "need" once)
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:57 PM   #35
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I've always driven small cars...my first was a 1976 Renault 5.

My smart has power windows, ESP, ABS, remote central locking, A/C, cruise control, heated seats (two stage), heated/electric mirrors, electric softop, decent sound system, locking glovebox.....it's pretty much as comfortable as any larger car I've been in, and is definitely not a bare-bones stripper.

I have had a guy who is 6'8" sitting "comfortably" (his words) in the car, saying it was much more roomy than his New Beetle.

I think it's just complacency. Why do so many people eat at McDonalds? Surely not because of the food.
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Old 10-02-2007, 09:50 PM   #36
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New Beetle... For people that gain height when they sit down Seriously, you'd be hard pressed to wonk your head into the roof

To be fair though, I physically don't fit in an older Miata - my head is above the windscreen due to my giraffe like neck I also don't fit in the back seat of a Porsche 944 - we have to take the sunroof off and 3/4 of my head sticks out (luckily, that only been a "need" once)
Somehow I always saw you as having a really long neck...there's a guy on campus I don't know but call long-neck behind his back...mehbe you're related?
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:31 PM   #37
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They test both belted and unbelted scenarios
NHTSA

Unbelted tests are key for airbag design - as airbags of yore would cause an unbelted occupant to submarine under the dash in an accident :/ However, for safety ratings - NHTSA uses belted data on crash and sled tests

consumer Reports on Testings...

IIHS also tests both scenarios - but I'm not sure if they use unbelted data in their ratings (I'm having trouble finding that information on their website).

Really, the testing most of us need to worry about is the IIHS elevated side impact crash test... The one they designed to simulate an SUV crashing into the side of your car o.0
True...that is what is tested, but do you know what the requirements are for the design, regardless of the results?
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:36 PM   #38
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And again...we just need some more advertising on the part of the auto makers to get people to realize that they are NOT always safer in an SUV...nor is it really "cool" to spend several minutes looking for a parking space that your monster will fit and still be able to open the doors!
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:51 PM   #39
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True...that is what is tested, but do you know what the requirements are for the design, regardless of the results?
That is actually a really great question - the answer to which, I don't know (yet)
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:39 PM   #40
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You can't just say something like that either way. There is much more too it than can be summed up in one sentence, and anyone who tries to talk about such relationships and pretends to know the answer is likely full of crap anyway...

Inappropriate language on your part...go take a marketing class, then we can talk, and agree ;-)
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