versa haters don't bother me none
I'm not anti Nissan or Toyota or Mazda or even Honda in this. I really want to like the new smaller cars. I love small cars. They say that car makers and consumers are being forced back to small cars. But what they are selling is not really small, and not delivering what they are portraying. And it certainly isn't an improvement on what they were doing 20 years ago.
Twenty years ago, we did not have direct injection, variable valve timing, and non-batch fire true multi point and individually spraying fuel injection.
But we had 1.6 liter engines that put out 130 HP.
The Versa comes with a 107 HP 1.6 liter, or a 122 HP 1.8 liter.
We also had 2,400 pound cars that, with the above engine, would get 36 MPG on the highway with no problem at all. Nineteen years ago they had independent rear suspension and four wheel disk brakes.
The Versa has drums on the back and weighs 2800 pounds.
Several car makers have gone back and forth on four wheel disk brakes, never seeming to permanently embrace the technology in favor of cutting costs.
There's no excuse for the solid beam rear axles aside from the same cost cutting measures at the expense of product performance and poorer fuel consumption.
These new small cars are supposed to be set up for maximum fuel economy, but are tarted up with oversized aluminum wheels and fat tires. If they were serious, they would be looking at the wheel and tire combinations off of land speed record cars, skinny and light weight. It's obvious to anyone that tried to build a race car for two types of racing, you can't build the same car for autocross and drag racing and road racing and rally and land speed and expect to be successful. So you can't build for maximum fuel economy and maximum cornering grip and be successful at both.
Advertising continues to stress sportiness and performance while design reflects that these cars are built for an obese customer. Commercials show high speed cornering and flying down the highway. But the cars are tall, littered with cup holders made to hold 50 gallon drum size big gulp cups, seats are tall, and there is no hint of design for performance.
Basic aerodynamic theory covers things like the cross sectional area of what you are trying to push through the air. The taller it is, the more area it has, and the more resistance there will be. But if your customer can't bend down to sit down, there is a problem.
Clearly, I am well outside of the demographic they are trying to sell cars to, and we are not going to see something like the Starion or 240SX or even the light weight but sporty economy cars of the same era, which make our current crop of small cars look shameful.
But there is a level of dishonesty and misdirection in the auto industry right now that is insulting.
Cars are built for gluttony and to fit a gluttonous user, but advertised as high performance. Cars are labeled as fuel efficient but trade economy for fashion. Marketing cars as an extension of the Lazy Boy chair in the family room is wrong, they are a machine for travel, and society be better off with a back to basics approach to transportation, especially given the economic climate.
I was probably the only person going into the auto show a few years ago, excited to see the Yaris when it first came out. I was also the only one upset with the sight in person. Sure, it's a Toyota, it can be expected to be overweight, but what is this garbage of having to climb up to get into a small car? The Fitt, Versa, and Mazda2 that followed were just repetition of the same chorus. It's not hate, it's extreme disappointment after hopeful anticipation.