A car's size is a very controversial attribute. To avoid stirring up the reader's emotions, I will try to emphasize only the positive aspects of each size.

Small Cars

Small cars have all of the positive attributes of smallness. They weigh less, so they cost less to build. Also, they get better gasoline mileage. They fit into parking spaces more easily and some people are likely to say that they are cute. A large engine in one of these cars gives it great acceleration.

Large Cars

Large cars are extremely useful. They can carry many passengers and much luggage. They are less likely to feel cramped and many are called luxury cars. They can be taken on long trips and to the hardware store.

Because of what large cars can do, two vehicle types have become very popular: the minivan and the light truck. Both vehicles can do the tasks mentioned in the previous paragraph, except that it is hard to imagine several passengers riding in a truck in comfort.

Another positive attribute of large cars is that they are safer in a collision. Experiments at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, NHTSA , and elsewhere have shown that in a two car collision, the car with more weight has less damage. This may mean that one should buy a large car, but a small car fan will argue that everyone should buy cars that weigh the same. If you include the fact that large cars fare better when hitting stationary objects, one is tempted to conclude that large cars have safer designs. Instead of promoting all large cars, I would rather advocate cars of safer design. Look for cars that do well in crash tests and have safety technology, such as air bags.


Copyright 1996 Alacrity Research