Of all the editorial staff members here at Top Gear Philippines, I have the smallest ride. My daily-driver is a Hyundai Eon--a micro car, which, despite its size, is a huge pain in the ass to pay for. But I'm not here to talk finances. I'm here to talk cars. And what better topic to discuss--given my experience behind the wheel of a tiny vehicle--than things only small-car owners can relate to. Here it goes...
1. We save a lot on gas. Small engines mean small displacement, which in turn means the vehicle consumes less fuel. My car has a 32L fuel capacity. By your SUV and sedan standards, that's like a few gulps. I travel around 20km every day, but P500 is enough to last me a week! With the way fuel prices are dropping these days, I'm able to save even more. Take that, gas-guzzlers!
2. Parking is a cinch in tight spaces. Maneuvering my small car is a piece of cake in tight mall-parking areas. A simple turn of the wheel gets the job done. My hatchback is so tiny that it often tricks drivers of giant SUVs into thinking there's still a free parking slot.
3. Car washes are lightning-quick. The cleaning is fast because there is less surface area to wet, soap, wipe and rinse. This also means I save time, and my car saves water. That's good news for the environment.
4. Everything inside is within arm's reach. Apart from my car's limited interior space and almost nonexistent cupholders, everything I need is easy to reach. The radio is easy to read because it's really close to my face, and I can grab stuff from the glove box without having to strain my shoulder. Even my girlfriend can give me a spoonful of hot fudge sundae without fumbling.
5. We get bullied by trucks and buses. One downside is that small cars aren't easy to see in blind spots of trucks and buses. Being beside a humongous vehicle is a nerve-racking ordeal. My car, for example, is barely taller than the wheels of some of these monsters. So before I move ahead of them, I have to honk and flash my headlights a lot to make sure I don't get crushed to a pulp.
6. Speed is an alien concept. I seldom hit 90kph when the road opens up. Getting up to speed isn't an enjoyable experience either. To be frank, my car just isn't fast. It struggles upon reaching its fifth gear.
7. Flood is the enemy. Downpours are particularly unsettling because I know that flood is just around the corner. I don't have the ground clearance or the ride height to even think about testing my car's wading depth. Passing through even just ankle-deep waters can be a heart-stopping experience. My car is cute, but it won't float like a rubber duck in a torrent.
8. We know what "packed like sardines" feels. My car can fit more than you think. Squeezing people inside is one of the challenges of owning a small ride. I once went on a road trip with five passengers. Not enough space to take a nap, and one of us had to lean forward just to make things bearable.
9. Insurance is very affordable. One of the advantages of owning a micro car is that it is incredibly cheap to insure. Comprehensive insurance costs just P8,000 to P10,000--even less as I move closer to paying off the entire loan.
10. Potholes are a nightmare. With 13-inch wheels and a suspension that bottoms out more often than I would like, driving my diminutive car can be hell. I travel regularly to Rizal, which means I have to conquer the countless bumps and holes that litter Ortigas Extension on a daily basis. You can imagine how my back feels after a long drive home.
So yeah, owning a pint-sized car has its pros and cons, but not once do I regret choosing my beloved Scarlett over bigger cars. All this just means I appreciate the driving experience even more. At the end of the day, it's the small things that count.
Photo by Raynand Olarte