Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When the going gets tough, the tough drive compact


As the global problem with the scarcity of fossil fuels runs deeper with each passing day, prices of oil and its by-products soar to levels that burn holes right through consumers’ pockets.

Everywhere these days, driving huge Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV)- for leisure and lifestyle enthusiasts, Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPV) for work and business – even luxury cars (For those who consider maximum comfort) for travelling in and around cities has now become a wasteful indulgence! Purpose and design has become irrelevant because of one thing – rising fuel cost.

Driving around in gas-guzzlers just doesn’t make sense anymore. Good thing car manufacturers are boosting the production of their compact, subcompact and even mini lines to meet this growing need.

Come to think of it, why would you choose to drive a compact in the first place? If you had asked that question a couple years back, the answer would’ve been laughable. Compacts were never taken seriously back then – as affordable as they are, they held true to their name where the values of safety, space and comfort is seen as compromised. While compacts may not come as comfortable as large vehicles for the car aficionado, owning one offers some big advantages: convenient parking, the much needed fuel economy and, of course, the cheeky look!

With recent trends however, engineers and designers have come up with design changes to accommodate the hip and younger market segments and even the older markets through added safety and security features. Engines have been redesigned for improved fuel economy. Car prices are made more competitive and a host of payment options are now offered to attract budget conscious buyers.

Major brands and car manufacturers worldwide now offer compact and subcompact model lines suited to individual or family needs and varied lifestyles. Stiff competition among the brands open even more opportunities up the highway for consumers.

For choices, one can always go for the brand new models, the advantages of which are: assurance of quality, getting the latest models and technologies, and excellent payment and financing schemes. The thrifty on the other hand, can always go for used models readily available online or through local dealerships which sometimes offer great financing schemes as well! A lot of compact models from the past still remain popular on the road to this day. Some are even available with improved features, proving they pack the kick and stamina like their bigger competitors. A few market favorites from the past decade include:

A. European

1. Volkswagen- Golf, Touran
2. Renault- Scenic
3. Opel- Zafira
4. Fiat- Multipla

B. United Kingdom

1. Renault- Megane
2. Vauxhall- Astra
3. Citroen- C4

C. American Tops

1. Ford- Focus
2. Chevrolet- Cobalt

D. Japanese

1. Nissan- Sentra, Micra / March
2. Honda- City, Civic, Fitz/ Jazz
3. Toyota- Corolla, Yaris, Vitz/ Echo
4. Mitsubishi- Lancer

E. Korean

1. Hyundai- Elantra, Accent
2. Kia- Avella, Rio
3. Daewoo- Racer, Matiz

The disadvantages are common to just about every used car, meaning: outdated models, greater mileage and decreased vehicle road worthiness. Fortunately, parts centers that cater to the used car market are largely flourishing these days and in the case of hard to find parts and accessories, (allowing for the patience needed to wait for shipment deliveries) one can always browse and order thru hundreds of parts dealers online.

Dubbed as “econocars,” compact and subcompact lines are now benchmarks for customer taste.



1 comment:

Brian said...

Recently gave up a well paid job to make a move to France and had to choose between my 4x4 (28mpg) and my Renault Megane (64mpg) as I would not be able to run 2 cars. Bit of a no brainer really.