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Old 06-21-2010, 03:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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10 lightest new cars available in 2010 (North America), 2009 (Europe)

Updated list:
---

Tim and I got into a conversation about this today, and I thought I'd do a bit of research and put together a list.

Fortunately someone already did it for me!
  1. Smart Fortwo Coupe / Cabrio
    Weight: 820 kg ó 840 kg ( 1,807ó1,851 lbs.)
    .
  2. Lotus Elise
    Weight: 899 kg (1,984 lbs)
    .
  3. Lotus Exige
    Weight: 942 kg (2,077 lbs)
    .
  4. Mazda2
    Weight: 1,045 kg (2,306 lbs)
    .
  5. Toyota Yaris Hatch / Sedan
    Weight: 1,049 kg (2,313 lbs)
    .
  6. Hyundai Accent Sedan
    Weight: 1,072 kg (2,365 lbs)
    .
  7. Mazda MX-5
    Weight: 1,115 kg (2,458 lbs)
    .
  8. Honda Fit
    Weight: 1,119 kg (2,466 lbs)
    .
  9. Hyundai Accent Hatchback
    Weight: 1,119 kg (2,467 lbs)
    .
  10. Nissan Versa Sedan
    Weight: 1,150 kg (2,535 lbs)
Honourable mention:

Chevrolet Aveo / Suzuki Swift+ hatchback 1,155 kg (2,546 lbs)
Kia Rio Sedan 1,160 kg (2,557 lbs)
MINI Cooper 1,165 kg (2,568 lbs)
Civic Coupe 1,179 kg (2,599 lbs)
Tesla Roadster 1,238 kg (2,729 lbs)

Now these are Canadian specs, so they may not perfectly match the USA figures. Also, I didn't double check them against manufacturer's info.

More details & pics of all the cars on this list can be found at: 10 Lightest cars on-sale in Canada - Sympatico.ca Autos

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Old 06-21-2010, 04:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thaks for posting the list. Makes interesting reading, coming from Europe where the list would be significantly more expansive.

I'm impressed how far up the Mazda 2 is on the list - they've been one of the first manufacturers to recently make a conscious effort to reduce the weight of their cars - I think the previous 2/Demio was a good 100kg heavier.

Here's a list for the Europe by the way (source, as of March 2009). First number is kg, second (in brackets) is pounds:
  • 1. smart fortwo cabrio 1.0 mhd
    Weight: 825 (1818)
  • 2. Daihatsu Cuore 1.0
    Weight: 840 (1851)
  • 3. Toyota iQ 1.0
    Weight: 845 (1863)
  • 4. Chevrolet Matiz 0.8 S
    Weight: 850 (1874)
  • 5. smart fortwo cabrio 1.0 mhd pure
    Weight: 855 (1885)
  • 6. Lotus Elise S
    Weight: 860 (1895)
  • 7. Daihatsu Trevis 1.0 Junior
    Weight: 865 (1907)
  • 8. Peugeot 107 70 Petit Filou
    Weight: 865 (1907)
  • 9. Morgan 4/4 1.8 16V Lowline
    Weight: 868 (1913)
  • 10+11. CitroŽn C1 1.0 Advance/ Toyota Aygo 1.0 3-door
    Weight: 875 (1929)
  • 12. Suzuki Alto 1.0 Club Auto
    Weight: 880 (1941)
  • 13. Fiat Panda 1.1 8V Active
    Weight: 915 (2017)
  • 14. Daihatsu Copen
    Weight: 925 (2039)
  • 15. Fiat 500 1.2 8V Pop
    Weight: 940 (2072)

Interesting to note how the heaviest in that list is lighter than the 3rd lightest in the US list! Three sports cars in the top 15, the Elise, the Morgan and the Daihatsu Copen. Some British small-volume manufacturers shame these though - Ginetta's G40, for example, weighs in at 850kg in road spec. The benefits of a fibreglass body right there...

The Elise is a comparative heavyweight too compared to the 720kg the very first model started off at. Likewise the Mazda on the US list - my own MX5/Miata weighs in at under 950kg.

Smart should be happy for topping both lists though! The heavier model there is a more powerful (bigger engined) variant - 71bhp as opposed to 51.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJI View Post
I'm impressed how far up the Mazda 2 is on the list - they've been one of the first manufacturers to recently make a conscious effort to reduce the weight of their cars - I think the previous 2/Demio was a good 100kg heavier.
I recall reading that too... and yet, they're only beating the Yaris by 4 kg!

I like that the Diahatsu Cuore is 2nd on your list - and the first 4 passenger vehicle, yet not much heavier than the Smart.




That car has won fuel economy honours before in competition (gasoline class). Judging by the numbers posted, it's probably fairly conventional driving.

The Seat Ibiza Ecomotive wins the Eco Tour 2008 — Autoblog Green
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Much of a car's weight comes from components that have to be sized according to the car's weight. This includes the engine, drivetrain, exhaust, unibody, tires, etc. Weight savings at the design level have a ripple effect of weight reduction.

I ran across this article in the Times' blog, which suggests cutting 400lbs from the unibody of a 3500lb car saves an additional 125lbs elsewhere in the car.

A Gas Mileage Bonus From Aluminum - Green Blog - NYTimes.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by New York Times
The American trade association, extrapolating from that study, calculated numbers for a sedan the size of the Ford Fusion, weighing 3,500 pounds. For that car, the so-called body in white weighs about 900 pounds if made from ordinary steel, but only about 500 pounds if made from aluminum.

Making the body lighter means that the engine and brakes can be smaller, too, without affecting performance, so the total weight savings comes to 525 pounds. That would yield 2.7 extra miles per gallon, the group said.
If the 400lb weight reduction came from outside the unibody, you could reduce the weight of the body as well, so the impact would be much greater.


High curb weight means more than just higher rolling resistance and inertial loads. It also means you have an even larger mismatch between your power requirements during a hill climb vs during cruising. This reduces your BSFC during cruising. Or if you're going hybrid, curb weight means a heavier and MUCH more expensive electric motor.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good points, Mr Smalls.

The other great thing about lighter weight is most auto journalists like the way the lighter cars drive, particularly if they're tuned to feel responsive/sporty. The older ones probably remember what light cars felt like, but for the greenhorns, it may be a pleasant surprise (and they'll hopefully pass that on to their readers).

I hope that in North America, we're near (past) a peak of vehicle weight for a given class and will see improvements from here.

Let's hear it for deathtraps! ;-) (Thought I'd pre-empt that one.)
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Drove a 59 Healey Sprite (bug eye) when I was a senior in high school in 1968.

Now that was a lightweight crate!

33 MPG and gas was 32 cents per gal.

regards
Mech
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I gotta respond to that last line

There is a huge misconception that everyone from consumers to manufacturers to insurance companies have totally bought into.
The mass of a heavy vehicle can absorb some of the impact inertia in a head on collision.

On the other hand, weight increases momentum exponentially, so that (given the same brakes and speed) a vehicle that weighs twice as much has FOUR times the braking distance.
Which means that, all other things being equal, a heavier car is more likely to get into a collision in the first place.

Think about it - which is safer, the car that survives a crash, or the car that avoids the crash all together?

Just as important, in a rear-end crash or a side-impact, extra mass in a vehicle does not increase survivability.
In crashes involving a car and a semi-truck, the truck hitting the car is by far the more common crash (braking the distance) and yet at the same time, more fatalities occur from cars hitting trucks than the other way around (being hit from the rear, even by something as massive as a semi, doesn't tend to cause fatalities)

Rear-end Large Truck Crashes - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The lesson is: if you really care about safety, instead of buying a heavy car, slow down, pay attention, and don't drive into the back of a truck or into oncoming traffic.
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Quote:
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A few months ago I returned home just as my neighbor pulled into his driveway. It was cold (around freezing) with some rain and sleet, and he yells to me: You rode your bike? In this weather?!?

So the other day we both returned home at the same time again, only now the weather is warm, sunny, with no wind. And I yell to him: You took the car? In this weather?!?
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Let's hear it for deathtraps! ;-) (Thought I'd pre-empt that one.)
Darin, you troll. Look what you've started.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
A few months ago I returned home just as my neighbor pulled into his driveway. It was cold (around freezing) with some rain and sleet, and he yells to me: You rode your bike? In this weather?!?

So the other day we both returned home at the same time again, only now the weather is warm, sunny, with no wind. And I yell to him: You took the car? In this weather?!?
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Let's hear it for deathtraps! ;-) (Thought I'd pre-empt that one.)
Yeah, if a vehicle doesn't have a couple inches of armor, it's not worth driving: M1 Abrams - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now if you want lighter cars from the '60s/'70s, how about the Lotus Europa, 1,320 to 1,570 pounds (600 to 710 kg), Elan at 1500 lb (680 kg), or the Seven at about 1100 lbs?

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