You know how the EPA classifies car sizes? It's pretty fantastic, if you're a fan of things that make no rational sense whatsoever, like I am. It's all done based on interior volumes, which on one level is a great idea, and on another level is insane. Here's a few pictures to show what I mean.

The good part of this classification system is that it really drives home just how incredibly space-inefficient so many high-end cars are. I guess part of conspicuous consumption means gleefully wasting the volume of your car so you and your passengers are crammed into tiny, mammoth-leather-lined cavities inside massive cars.

For example, here's two cars classified as compacts:

Yes, yes. A Rolls-Royce Phantom and a Veloster. Those two get cross-shopped all the damn time for all those people that shop based on interior volume. Still, those compacts may be just too damn roomy inside for those of you with even a touch of agoraphobia. You should check out some cozier subcompacts:


That's more like it. A Bentley Continental GT Convertible is in the same size class as a Chevy Spark. That makes sense, right? I mean, you'd park either of those in one of those tiny 'compact' parking spaces between a brick wall and a massive concrete support column, wouldn't you? Of course you would. They're subcompacts. That's what they're for.

Still, if you really give a shit about urban congestion, you probably want a minicompact. And if you're shopping around for a good, genuinely mini car, two fantastic choices are the Fiat 500 and an Aston Martin DB9 — you know, the 12 cylinder one. Both considered "minicompacts.' Because nothing says 'minicompact' like twelve fucking cylinders.


I'm a little conflicted here. Interior volume is actually a pretty sensible metric to evaluate the scale of a car, but the idea that a 12 cylinder Aston is classified in the same fuel economy category as a Fiat 500 is, frankly, clamshit. I think some classification of interior volume is fine, but for these fuel economy metrics, we probably should move to something that takes into account the overall size and weight of the car.

But then again, if we did that, there would hardly be any categories that contained both a Chevy Sonic and a Rolls-Royce Phantom, and I'm not crazy about giving that up.