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Old 03-10-2009, 12:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Upcoming Economy Cars

Hi,

I see in the recent Road & Track issue a "first drive" of the 2010 Ford Ka, which is apparently based on the Fiat 500:


[click on image for link to article]

And not to be outdone, the Fiat 500 itself might be sold by Chrysler?

[click on image for link to article]

Will there be a Tata Nano in our future?

[click on image for link to article]

And, we should look for an R&T video "first drive" review of the 2010 Prius on March 25th, around noon time, EST.

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Old 03-10-2009, 02:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think I'm officially annoyed by round headlights inside of torpedo-shaped housings, such as on the Ford Ka and Tata Nano and... well, tons of other vehicles.

Same with taillights... cars used to have isolated lights stuck onto the outside of the vehicle, like this


Then they got integrated into the body lines like this



And then suddenly it came into vogue to have... isolated round lights again, but stuck into body-integrated pods?



Retrotarded! So now we are having headlights that extend from the nose of the vehicle to practically the windshield, but have small round projectors stuck inside them?
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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From an aerodynamic point of view, body-shaped lights--especially headlights--are preferable. I'd rather have integrated lights than external lights, because external lights generally hurt the Cd.
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1337 View Post
From an aerodynamic point of view, body-shaped lights--especially headlights--are preferable. I'd rather have integrated lights than external lights, because external lights generally hurt the Cd.

yeah that's cool but why do integrated lights have to be segmented into individual round lenses then? like the taillights above, what possible advantage does that have over a consistent integrated lens? and on headlights, what's the advantage of an acre of clear plastic lens if only 6 square inches of it are actually going to emit light?
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Old 03-10-2009, 09:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Those tail-lights came on Lexus's and Toyota Altezza (Lexus to every other country) models... they're not stock on anything else I can think of, and according to 90% of the world, they're retarded on any vehicle they didn't come on stock.

That's not a "trend" perse... at least not w/ auto manufacturers.

The headlight thing comes from the testing that found that small focused lenses are better for distance than broadly lit huge chunks of glass or plastic. The "cover" lens is just an aerodynamic integrated cover panel, which admittedly, is only there for looks, but could easily be paint matched to be less notable. Refer to 1994+ 3000GT (Mitsubishi GTO).
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I never bought into the chrome taillight trend.

Super cheap toy cars from the 60's and 70's- the ones that were too cheap to fit red lenses to, or even put a blob of red paint on, had chrome taillights.

So to me chrome taillights scream "CHEAP!!!" and I don't like how they look. I can't imagine spending extra to get aftermarket crap that looks WORSE than stock?
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Old 03-11-2009, 10:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi,

Does anybody have any other upcoming cars to add to the thread, please?
[/ back on topic]
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think the notion of “economy car” needs to split in two. On one hand you have the short range, easy-to-park CITY CAR. Two passengers and a couple bags of stuff. No more. 40 MPH tops. 40 mile range, tops. Never goes on high speed roads but rather sticks to its natural habitat – city surface streets. Surface street environment limits ultimate MPG, but limited performance envelope leans toward a straight electric (work out a heater and AC, please). At low surface street speeds, aerodynamics is not a big consideration. A slightly shorter Scion X-Box in straight electric might be just the ticket for the urban-only mission.

The other leg is the LONG-RANGE COMMUTER. This is for the person who lives in the exurbs and drives the superslab on a regular basis, albeit within a mostly urban milieu. Two adults, two kids, four bags of stuff. Gotta go at least 80 MPH top speed. This consumer expects a range of 300 miles. Aero is more important in the higher speed range and parking ease is less of a consideration, so this car is longer and lower than the CITY CAR. Think Aero-Civic with diesel or hybrid drive train.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Right on, Big Dave.

But the notion that the long-range commuter should have to carry four people and four bags is really unfortunate. Most of the miles logged on our highways are done with just the driver, or occasionally one passenger.

Thus, the typical American-style economy cars with four doors, four seats, and four cylinders doesn't meet our actual needs very well. Sadly, I'm only aware of one production car that really lived up to my idea of what a long-range commuter needs to be: the 01-06 Insight. Two seats, three cylinders, excellent aero.

I am looking forward to the Ford Fiesta, but expect mpgs in the 30's, just like most economy cars.

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