On the outside, a large car or SUV may look spacious and give off a vibe of safety; however this is not always the case. Just as tech giant Apple can jam so much engineering into your mobile phone and now your wristwatch, the clever minds working for vehicle manufacturers are pushing the envelope with what they can fit into the smallest of car bodies. Let’s take a look at why small car loans are on the rise!

Speaking of squeezing things into small cars, I reminisce over my old 98 model Holden Barina. “The Beast” came to the rescue many times whilst buying and lugging items from Gumtree. Try fitting a top loader, dryer, microwave and a TV (and I don’t mean flat screen) into the back of a sedan, I don’t think so! Somehow my newer model 2010 Corolla didn’t fare as well during our recent house move, having trouble fitting in square shaped furniture due to the shape of the boot opening. Oddly enough, the 2 seat fold down in the back lined up with the driver seat, thus not allowing any way of fitting larger objects in the boot and 2 passengers at the same time.

Peel P50 - Smallest car in the world

Worlds smallest car, Peel P50

This got me thinking about how the designers and engineers working for the vehicle giants manage to use neat tricks to make a car look small from the outside and feel spacious on the inside.

After doing some digging, I found the perfect example, the Volkswagen Up! A quick rundown on the specs show the length to be 3540mm and the width from side mirror to side mirror as 1910mm. These tiny go-karts are amazing in that both the 3 and 5 door models have exactly the same outer dimensions, somehow fitting 2 extra doors without the need to change the body shape. Compare that to the base model 2015 VW Golf and you see that with a length of 4255mm and a width of 2027mm respectively, the outer body size is quite a bit larger than the Up!

Volkswagen Up 2014 Volkswagen Golf 2015 4dr
Front Headroom 993mm 965mm
Rear Headroom 947mm 965mm
Front Legroom 1,009mm 1046mm
Rear Legroom 789mm 904mm

Now don’t get me wrong, the legroom in the Golf definitely trumps the VW Up, however what gets me is that the front headroom is an extra 28cm in the Up, which is almost a whole school ruler taller! So, if you have a long torso and short legs, choosing the smaller VW may be the option for you.

If you seldom shift around large items but want the flexibility to do so, purchasing a set of roof racks may be the key to ticking all of your car requirement boxes. Having shifted a fridge, my current queen size mattress and a telescopic chainsaw for my brother on my roof racks, I can attest to the handiness of having the extra carry capacity on your vehicle. Note: Be sure to check the load rating of your racks or you may find yourself with an unwanted sunroof if you exceed the maximum load and your load falls through the ceiling.

What about safety?

If you are still eyeing off a larger car due to the premise that the larger the vehicle, the better off in a crash you will fare, you may be surprised to find out that cars both big and small these days are expected to score the maximum 5 star safety rating from ANCAP (Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate). That means that size doesn’t always correlate to safety.

Long gone are the days where cars such as the iconic grandpa mobile, the Volvo 240 were considered to be “as safe as a tank”. With technology improving, the introduction of more air bags, better engineered seat belts (even for dogs!), and crumple zones shifting from the passenger bay to the engine bay, the bumper car of the 70s may find it difficult to cope in today’s high tech safety world.

Studies have shown that whilst coming off better in a vehicle on vehicle crash, larger cars and SUVs fare worse in crashes where a solid object like a brick wall is involved. This is largely due to the heavier vehicle mass and that unavoidable constant called physics. For smaller cars, the outcome is the opposite, coming off better when hitting a stationary solid object and being on the losing side when it comes to multi vehicle accidents. This again shows that having a larger car doesn’t always guarantee a safer ride.

Our advice when searching for your next car is the same as our advice for your search for car finance. Don’t just look at what’s on the surface, always try to dig a little deeper and find out the nitty gritty details as you may find that the right car on the outside is the wrong car on the inside. For all of your finance needs, a 360 Finance broker (always at your service) has the tools and the knowledge to delve a little deeper than the surface and find the perfect loan for your situation. To find out more, we are only a call away on 1300 361 360.