I’ve been seeing this cute new car around town. Turns out it’s the Toyota Yaris Liftback, appropriately named because it looks like it was just lifted straight outta Europe. It’s really small, which is always a boon in the city. Makes me wonder if this isn’t some kind of preemptive strike against DaimlerChrysler’s introduction of the Smart car to the US in 2008.
Eyes can be deceiving, especially when zipping by on a Vespa at night, so I decided to check it out and see how it compared to the Smart Fortwo (and some other cars) lengthwise.
The first thing I discovered is that as much raw data as there is on cars out there, there’s no universal (dare I say Web 2.0), application for sorting and filtering cars by non-traditional, cross-make criteria like length (or mpg). I’m thinking of something like Kayak.com for cars. Or maybe there is, and I just don’t know about it. Here’s where I have half an idea to finally jump on the Ruby on Rails bandwagon and pound out Edmunds.com with a little Web 2.0 sugar this weekend. Nah.
To create the list below, I had to screenscrape like every car manufacturer’s website with my eyeballs. But now if you ever wanted a list of the shortest cars available in the US (sorry Twingo and Ka) circa 2007, here you go. My methodology for inclusion was whether I thought the car would be purchased primarily for its smallness, secondarily for its price. Hence no BMW. Keep in mind, the list is not exhaustive. The Civic is on there as a reference point. It’s the last car I owned, and is fairly short itself, so it makes a good ceiling (err, floor).
|Hyundai||Accent 3 door||159.3||2|
What I found interesting was just how damn small the MINI Cooper really is. Considering you can’t buy a smart in the US yet, the MINI currently holds the shortest purchasable car title, besting the Yaris by 5 inches. Let’s just hope Toyota used those 5 inches for some extra legroom in the back seat, as I’ve experienced the back of a MINI Cooper.
But the smart, man, it’s a full 52 inches (4’4″) shorter than the Yaris which I’d thought looked pretty smart-like on the street.
Hmm, I wondered, what would they look like side by side?
Why might one prefer a Yaris over a smart? Four seats.