Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yes, it really is only 50cc

Check out the cars in the above photo from Mitsuoka Corporation. Unlike the tiny "go kart with a body" cars featured here in the past, this is a real, practical, city car, with a real suspension, designed for navigating the urban congestion of Japanese cities.

Weight is a minimal 180kg (397 pounds), and top speed is a modest 50km/hr (31mph), but how much speed do you need to navigate downtown Tokyo? (Assuming you're not being chased by a giant radioactive monster.) With a length just over 8' and a width of only 4'3", it's smaller than even a Smart Car. Claimed millage is 30km/liter, or 70.5mpg; the only car I know of that equals that in city driving is the Honda Insight, a hand-crafted technology tester that cost (and weighed) quite a bit more.

Personally, I'll stick to my scooter for city driving, and for inclement weather I'd prefer something with a roof and windows. But for the masses of people looking for cheap transportation who'd rather not ride a two-wheeled vehicle, this could be a great alternative. (And I'd rather have Grandma tearing up the streets in a 500lb micro car than a three ton Lincoln Continental.)

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