The cars get cooler as I list down the Italian cars that caught my attention.
6. Lancia Ypsilon – At first glance the front of the Ypsilon has a face that only its designer could love. This is mostly due to its trademark grille that seems slapped on as an afterthought. It doesn't complement the design of the headlights. Actually it doesn't seem to complement the whole car.
But when I saw the rear my impression of the Lancia started to soften. I liked the whited out taillamps, the neat lines and the elegant shape. Now this, I thought, was Italian design. Most hatchback designs tend to lean towards sporty or *ahem* cute. The Ypsilon shows the world how to do a hatchback with class.
7. Volkswagen Golf GTI – For me the Golf GTI is the foremost reason why I want Volkswagen's official presence in the country. This dirty example I photographed could be the template for the perfect sporty hatchback. It has a six-speed manual transmission and 207 horses under the hood. I like the black color with red highlights on the brake calipers and the grille. As any car enthusiast can attest to, these little highlights can make or break a car.
Trivia: The 'CD' prefix on the car stands for corpo diplomatico, this means this Golf is owned by one of the foreign embassies in Rome. Maybe that's why it can double park with impunity.
8. Volkswagen Scirocco – When I saw the Scirocco on an Italian street, at first I thought it was a concept car. It looked too sleek, the headlight design was too radical (for a Volkswagen anyway), and it looked too mean--in a good way--to be a mass market car. But it was very real, and it reminded me of a wider Honda EG hatchback.
This is also one car that looks best painted white. The shiny black grille and airdam contrast nicely with the white color; you don't even have to change the stylish tires. Our streets need to have beautiful machines like this.
9. Smart Fortwo – The Italians love Smart cars. At times it feels like every street in Rome has at least several Fortwos parked.
They're the equivalent of the Toyota Vios and Honda City on our roads, it seems the no-brainer choice for anyone who wants to buy an automobile. On crowded Rome streets and sidewalks, the appeal of the Fortwo is obvious.
You can also park them perpendicular to the curb.
Buyers have a choice of three engines for the current models: a 0.8-liter, three cylinder diesel; a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline; and a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline. European Union testing yields a very frugal 21.2 km/liter of fuel economy for the NA gasoline, and an amazing 29.4 km/liter for the diesel.
Honestly we need cars like the Smart Fortwo. Many cars on EDSA only carry one or two passengers at a time, and no one wants to carpool with potential backseat drivers. Our roads aren't bigger than Rome's, but they had to adapt to the number of cars that reside in their city. It's about time we do the same.
The problem is price. If the Smart Fortwo were priced at half a million pesos here, I'm certain there will be plenty of buyers who will partake of its fuel economy and practicality. Or think about this way, you can either buy a compact sedan at P1 million or buy two Smart Fortwos. For the price of one car you can get two, perfect for number coding.
But the biggest hindrance to this car is safety. The retards who pass themselves off as bus drivers are already a hazard to compacts and subcompacts who they force to the side of the road with their reckless driving. A small car like this would be easy prey for them. There should be a law that bus drivers who swipe civilian cars have their feet trampled by the cars they bump.
While we're at the subject of legislature, the administration should pass a law making cars with displacements smaller than 1.0-liter tax-free, or better yet, give incentives. They should stop looking at the short-term tax profits, and look at the long term benefits of easing traffic congestion and achieving better fuel economy for motorists.
10. Fiat 500 – This is the Mini Cooper's archnemesis. It's also small, sporty, but even more stylish than the British icon.
I've seen the Mini and 500 beside each other, and the 500's simple and retro lines give it the edge in looks. It's like comparing Paul Smith to Armani. It's surprising how similar it looks to the original Fiat 500, yet modern at the same time.
The 500's interior also looks more enticing to drive than the Mini's. There are many seat color choices and the combinations can be almost breathtaking.
Have you ever seen a cockpit this classy?
CATS Motors, what are you waiting for?