Today's small cars are so good, you may not need a larger one. After all, they offer all of the technology, such as Bluetooth and GPS navigation, and comfort, such as leather seats, that larger cars do.
It wasn't always that way.
Even as Europe was embracing small cars in the 1950s due to punitive taxes and scarce resources, Americans were buying cars as big as their dreams. Europeans never understood the appeal of large cars, nor did they understand Americans. You could tell by the small cars they attempted to sell on this side of the pond.
Here are five small cars that you might have heard of (but odds are, you probably haven't):
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1963 Messerschmitt KR-200 Kabinenroller: The company that built German fighter planes during World War II produced micro cars like the KR-200 Kabinenroller, or "enclosed scooter." The three-wheeled micro car featured tandem seating and an acrylic bubble top that tilted sideways for entry. The KR-200 was truly low-budget motoring. Its four-speed motorcycle-style transmission lacked a reverse gear. You started the car by pulling a rope; you steered with handlebars.
1959 Goggomobil Dart: The first Goggomobil was built in 1955, and they were exported to the United States through 1961 by German automaker Hans Glas. The firm produced almost 300,000 vehicles with various chassis and body combinations, including this two-cylinder, 15-hp cutie. If that sounds meager, it isn't. This micro-car has a 71-inch wheelbase and weighs a mere 761 pounds. Never popular, only 700 Darts were built. Glas was acquired by BMW in 1966.
1960 Fiat 500 Jolly: Yes, it's a Fiat with the fringe on top — and wicker seats. Truly, someone at coachmaker Carrozzeria Ghia was in a jolly mood when this concept was created. The Jolly was based on the Fiat 500 and used its 16.5-hp, rear-mounted, air-cooled two-cylinder engine, and four-speed manual gearbox. The Jolly was produced in limited quantities and cost $1,760, nearly twice as much as the standard 500 model.
1938 American Bantam Cabriolet: Built in Butler, Pa., the Bantam started life as the American Austin, which was based on Britain's popular Austin Seven. It never caught the fancy of Americans, and the company halted production in 1934. The car was restyled and returned in 1937 as the Bantam with a 22-hp four-cylinder engine and one-barrel carburetor. The company finally ended production in 1941, but not before designing the first Jeep prototype.
1960 NSU Prinz III Coupe: Germany's NSU was known for building motorcycles until the mid-1950s, at which point it started building micro cars. The Prinz (German for "Prince") was introduced in 1957 with a 598-cc overhead-cam, two-cylinder air-cooled engine. Its ad slogan, "Drive a Prince and become a King" helped sell 95,000 cars through 1962; fewer than 2,500 were sold stateside in 1960.