The term refers to small cars in Europe, vehicle class between micro-car and compact class. In the EuroCar classification is the B segment. Typical representatives are the VW Polo, the Opel Corsa, the Skoda Fabia and the Ford Fiesta. It is a small but full-fledged car with an affordable new price between about 12,000 and 18,000 €.
In the 1950s and 1960s was the term small car for significantly smaller scooters Mobile and various mini- cars. Full-fledged car were prohibitively expensive for the population in the first years after the war. In the 1950s, therefore, tested many manufacturers with various small vehicle types to meet the need for inexpensive cars. One of the first small cars include the Gutbrod Superior 600 and the Citroën 2CV, each produced from 1949. Typical representatives were later Lloyds, the NSU Prinz, the Goggomobil and BMW models 600 and 700 in the GDR, it was deemed this small car model as well as the Roller Mobile as inappropriate and therefore promoted the development of a suitable family car to mass motorization, with one be based on Lloyd Alexander. The result was the Trabant, which according to the Citroën 2CV one of the first car was when it first appeared in 1958 with the features of a modern small car - front engine, front wheel drive, and a passenger compartment that four adults and luggage ( trunk: l 415) provided space. Characteristic of small cars of the late 1950s was a two - or four-stroke engine with a displacement of 500 to 800 cc and an engine power 10-30 hp. A landmark was achieved in Europe in 1959, the mini with his new body shape - a hatchback (full rear ), which was shorter than notchback sedans. Cars similar emerged as the Suzuki Suzulight TL, Honda N600 and later Autobianchi A112. However, these lacked a full trunk - with 120 liter capacity was the largest of the mini. 1974 The next big leap in the small car development for Germany occurred with the premiere of the VW Golf - VW built as one of the last of the independent European manufacturer with a full-fledged small car in a compact design. As early as 1968 had in the GDR with the Trabant 603 can go such a vehicle in series. Due to an arbitrary decision of the Politburo production preparations, however, were stalled just before series overpass. The golf concept has been widely copied, making the contemporary understanding of a small car. At the latest release of the Golf III, he grew out of this segment, it was taken over by the VW Polo at. Even today, the small car is the only family-friendly car for many people, the affordable also as a new car ( VW Polo 2012 New price: from 14.000 Euro ).
Vehicles with hatchbacks found until the 1950s and 1960s hardly buyer in Germany. For practical reasons, this design for vehicles placed in the lower segment then largely. Variants with a notchback play on the German market is no longer relevant, yet exist numerous small car models such offshoots that are often offered under a separate model name or were (Polo / VW Derby). Small cars are used in the southern countries a higher share as a family car and need in this function a large trunk and four doors as possible, which explains the greater dissemination of notchback versions. This extended design has been, or is being used by manufacturers as a platform for small cars station wagons. Suits, however, are much less established than in the compact class. Some small cars were used as the basis for a panel van, the precursors of today's high-roof station wagon.
Some aspects speak for a small car; e.g. is easier in urban areas to find parking on the roadside.
The fuel consumption is no longer an argument for a small car. For example, weighs a VW Polo V today only slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf VII (Polo from 1067 kg; Golf from 1205 kg = only 13 percent more - the heavy weight is largely due to the required crash safety, see also Euro NCAP ); Both models are available with 1.2-liter and 1.4 - liter engine. Given the downsizing play differences in taxation through more displacement differences at best a marginal role. Small cars are often in a worse car insurance class as a slightly larger car models.
Many models now offer a much higher level of occupant protection as eg in 2000. However, there is still some models for which (including surcharge) no ESP is available. As of November 1, 2014 ESP across the EU for each new car sold prescribed (for details and sources here). For many small-car models trim levels such as ESP or air conditioning cost extra charge; in the next higher class they belong to the standard equipment. This leaves the list price difference between small cars and compact cars appear larger than it " ausstattungsbereinigt " actually is.
A relatively new trend is the premium small car. These give yourself sportier and more elegant than classic small car and are aimed at wealthy customers who want a relatively small vehicle. Typical features include a more powerful engine, even the basic version and two-tone finishes. As a pioneer of this concept applies in 1985 presented Lancia Y10; followed after 2000 models retro design like the BMW MINI, the Fiat 500 and the Alfa Romeo MiTo. New momentum in this segment without historical precedent gave the Citroën DS3 and Audi A1. The A1 has many components with the VW Polo in common (see platform (automobile) ).
Mini ( BMW)
Mitsubishi Space Star (2012 )
No complete catalog, but some typical representatives of their time
VW Polo I
Mini Metro, and Austin / MG / Rover Metro
Opel Corsa A
VW Polo II
Opel Corsa B
VW Polo III
Opel Corsa C
Renault Clio II
Skoda Fabia I
Subaru G3X Justy
VW Polo IV
Registrations in Germany
For figures on annual new registrations of passenger cars in the small car segment in Germany according to statistics from the Federal Motor Vehicle Office, see the list of registrations of new passenger cars in Germany by segment and model series # small cars.
Small cars in the movie
- Small but my! The great age of small cars. With Hans -Joachim Kulenkampff, 67 minutes Tacker film. Official trailer on youtube