10 SUBCOMPACT OR SUPERMINIS
When many think German cars, all they picture in their minds are some power loaded cars with some interesting performance and some sideways actions. Well, the smart car is one smart little German subcompact car company having Mercedes Benz as its parent and it isn’t all about power and all the sideways actions but more of towns drive and coolness.
There is the Smart for two and Smart for four with other forms like the coupe, cabriolet and the crossblade which looks so interestingly busy with several body parts missing. The Smart cars always come with smart size engines too. At the tops a 900cc power unit. They say that the smart EQ fortwo is their most advanced vehicle except that there may be more to come. One reality is that these little cars won’t be produced for the American market any longer though the electric version is what is being made. So, no more Smart cars with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) any longer.
Mercedes-Benz promises to push the boundaries of Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric mobility (CASE), as evidenced by the smart Vision EQ fortwo, a fully autonomous electric concept is already in view. Imagine a car telling you it is on its way and it is actually rushing down to you with nobody on board. Something of dreams right!
Unveiled in 2005 at Salon de l’Automobile de Genéve. This little guy isn’t just one but three cars because the presidents of Toyota and PSA Peugeot and Citroën decided to produce the cars while sharing development costs. They named the project B-Zero. The outcome of this union was the birth of the triplets with different badges. The outcome also has the Peugeot 107/108 and Citroën C1 as rebadged versions of the same car with some differences in front and rear bumpers and the lights too.
As nimble as it is, it is still streetwise and ready for the challenges of the road. It is loaded with Pre-Collision System (PCS) and Lane Departure Alert (LDA)
The Aygo is built alongside its other two sisters at the same delivery hospital in the city of Kolin in Czech Republic. That is evident in the name of the partnership, Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile.
The Aygo will seat 5 and it comes with 4 doors despite the size. Rear windows pop out instead of winding up and down which implies lowered price and lighter car. Up came another trio to jointly conceive and deliver the Volkswagon Up, Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo. There is even a Chinese clone.
You could have a soft top car and options available include a 7 inch touchscreen and a reverse camera and those moved about running on a 3 cylinder 68hp 1.0L engine or an 82hp 1.2L power unit matched with a 5-speed manual transmission. Also note that the base trim doesn’t have air conditioning.
The Audi A1 is another sweet supermini which was launched at the Geneva Motor show in 2010. There is the 3-door or 5-door option. The A1 first turned up in Germany and then to the UK before it started spreading to other parts of the globe in 2012.
You will also find the gills on the side of its bonnet that reminds you of the sport Quattro. LED daytime running light is optional which in our opinion should have been made standard. It has also been made slightly longer to bring more comfort and space on the interior. It is 4.7ft high.
The instrument cluster is fully digital with proper high-resolution lighting. There is also n optional virtual cockpit with more futuristic functions like the animated navigation maps nd some driver assistance system. There is also a smart phone interface that has relationship with iOS and Android smartphones using Apple carplay and the Android Auto. The sound system is not just any one but the Band and Olufsen Premium Sound System which means you could have some studio or theatre like sound as you enjoy your micro cruiser.
The Mini is a British automotive car line that has graced the rallying and has hoisted its banner in the heart of rally lovers and those who enjoy the real essence of motoring and racing. The Mini is one of the most fit and most powerful in the world of super minis. There are various forms of the Mini to suit you. The Mini Cooper, Cooper S, Clubman, Mini E, Countryman, hard top, soft top and all sorts of mixes. The Mini Cooper S will do 0-100kph in 7.9secs with its 168hp engine.
When you hear of Clubman or you see it written out on the robust backside of a Mini, just know that it is a station wagon which is 24cm longer. The Mini Cooper crossover suv was launched in 2010 at the Geneva Motor Show. It was the first 5-door mini introduced since BMW took over. You could have it in rear wheel drive or ALL 4 which means all four wheels do their work individually. It is the most robust of all. 6-speed manual transmission is standard but there is also an automatic transmission option. Instead of the traditional rear door that opens upwards or a door that opens to a side, the clubman has its own style split doors or twin barn doors.
The Mini Countryman is one other sweet trim as it is the first crossover suv from the Mini brand. Imagine an suv called a mini. It is the first 5-door mini. Rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive that comes with the ALL4 badge options are available. It rides a little higher than the others and with longer wheel base and more space inside.
The Mini Paceman is the 3-door crossover suv based on the Countryman. It is the official 7th model from the brand.
There is also the awkward looking coupe which started in the 2012 after being unveiled in 2011. This one is a 2-seater and the fastest of the bunch. This is the John Cooper works trim and it will do 0-100kph in 6.4secs and will hit a top speed of 240kph. That is made possible by the turbocharged 1.6L 208hp 4 cylinder engine.
There is also the Mini E which is a front wheel drive electric vehicle. This carries 201 horsepower in itself and it is said to have the range capacity of 240km on one charge and Vmax at 152kph.
The Nissan Micra replaced the Nissan Cherry. It was exclusive to Nissan Japanese dealership network until 1999, when the “Cherry” network was combined into Nissan Red Stage until 2003. There was the Nissan March which was the smallest car from the brand. The Nissan micra is properly popular at Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state as taxi cabs. That is because it was found out to be a fairly cheap car to buy and also to run.
Some models of the Nissan Micra fit into the public transport system of the capital city of Oyo state in Nigeria and several factors made that decision for them. nimbleness, smartness, fuel economy, ease and cheapness of repairs, tyre size which also means cheapness.
The Micra wasn’t all that interesting to look at or to drive even. Richard Hammond of Topgear drove a pink one while having some paper bag on his head to prevent him being seen by people but the car turns out to fit into the idea of a work horse for several people. Some of the old versions of this car had air conditioning which took its toll on the engine which made several users of the car either pull it off or just leave it unused.
The new Micra turns out to have a much better design and the interior isn’t as empty as it used to be. It is still based on the former one but it does have a different spirit entirely.
The Ford Fiesta has been known for its nimbleness and lightness, true subcompact car. The 7th generation showed up towards the end of February, 2017. It was said to have a 1.5L 3 cylinder ecoboost power unit.
The new Fiesta has 3 drive modes; “Normal”, “Sport” and “Race Track”. Every single mode has its own characteristics. Steering feel changes, throttle response changes and you get to de-activating the engine ‘start-stop’ feature and once the flap in the exhaust opens, more engine noise results.
The Fiesta ST was released on 7 May, 2018. Despite being heavier than the previous ST model, the new ST can go from a standstill to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.5 seconds. Power and torque have been increased to 197 bhp (200 PS) and 290 N⋅m (210 lb⋅ft) respectively, which match the figures of the limited edition Fiesta ST200 of the previous generation. From launch, it is available in either a three-door or five-door body style, and comes standard with a six speed manual gearbox, with no option of an automatic. On April 1, 2019, the Fiesta ST-1 was discontinued, leaving only the ST-2 and ST-3 models
The Hyundai i10 is the little guy from the South Korean auto maker. This doesn’t turn out to be one of the sleekest or the most aerodynamic of the car lines churned out by the brand. Hyundai has put its foot down as the truly and physically one of the makers of the most aerodynamic cars. The i10 first showed up in 2013and it is still kicking till date.
You get a 1.0L 3 cylinder 68hp engine or a 1.2L 4 cylinder 87hp engine. You get a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed auto transmission.
Hyundai developed a slightly larger version for the Asian market and it is called the Hyundai Grand i10. It also had a sedan model to the hatchback.
The third generation was launched later on in the year.
The Kia Picanto is the micro car from Kia also of the same nationality as the Hyundai. The Picanto turned up in 2004. If you hear that a subcompact car is called Kia morning, just know it is the same Picanto with a different name for some other places on the globe.
Fiat 500 Abarth
Fiat 500 or Abarth 500, whatever you choose to call it or whatever badge you prefer. Every one of them has a 1.4L multiair turbocharged 4 cylinder engine with twin intercoolers. This delivers 160hp and 170lb-ft of torque. For such a car in this class- subcompact, it is a lot of power. The car has a sweet hunch-like design. Those with the automatic transmission are a bit less powered at 154hp which is 6 horses less than the manual option. Even though it generates more torque.
The Fiat 500 comes with 2 doors and it has space for 4 passengers. Front engine and front wheel drive. It is a sweet little city car and a super mini at that.
It turns out to have picked up a challenge from the Smart fortwo in Italy since the Smart turned out successful there. In the bid to make serious challenge, they decided that customers wanted more than just a fortwo city sub compact car.
An interesting idea came up from the Fiat Trepiuno. It was the car from which the 500 was derived. The word ‘trepiuno’ is a clipping from the group of words ‘tre piu uno’ which simply means 3 + 1. That you would expect to be four and it is except it may actually be a 3 + little 1. The idea was that instead of having a fortwo, they put in a high tech space saving thin material creating more space in front, the front passenger could move a bit forward and more space is created for another adult just behind the front passenger and the little space behind the driver fit the child or +1.
It turned out to be the ‘Worst car for passenger injuries’ and it didn’t score high in small overlap crash testing.
MERCEDES BENZ A CLASS
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is also a subcombact car. It is from the German side of auto makers. It looks and feels more like a compact car and it is not as light as the others in this range. Other sub compact cars are the volkswagon Up and Renault Twingo.