Years after being promised smaller and more fuel-efficient cars the next generation of diminutive autos is finally on its way. But these new "small" cars aren't as small as you might think. In order to provide a point of comparison, we've compared the length of these cars to a Ford Super Duty Crew Cab pickup truck. At 21.8 feet long, the long-cab's one of the longest production cars in recent history. So how do the ten upcoming new small cars for North American stack up? Let's find out.
GM's previous attempt at a minivan was a massive failure, which is why it is heartening to see the Chevy Orlando concept, which essentially an MPV. Similar in size to the Mazda MPV, the Orlando should offer 7-passenger seating in a much smaller package than a Chevy Uplander. Built on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze, the Orlando will almost certainly offer a dramatic increase in fuel efficiency. Though some version of this car should see production sometime between 2010 and 2012 as a replacement for the HHR, GM's current situation could delay or nix production.
length: 183.5 in (est)
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 70%
The Chevy Cruze could every well be the small car that we've been begging the Not-So-Big 3 to build for years, which isn't surprising given it was actually designed in Europe. This new small car will actually be large on the outside for a compact car but, in order to achieve an almost Prius-like 45 mpg, it will get a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Like the Orlando, the Cruze could be jeopardized by a failing GM despite the likelihood it could seriously improve the company's standing.
height: 57.7 in. (est)
width: 68.3 in. (est)
length: 180.5 in. (est)
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 69%
The final of GM's Delta-triplets, the 2011 Chevy Volt is the most enterprising of the General's plans for an eco-friendly future. The plug-in hybrid will carry only four people compared to five in the Cruze or seven in the Orlando, but will cost a lot more because of its electric powertrain. Whatever is left of the company should produce the car for a for-sale date around November 2010.
height: 56.3 in.
width: 70.8 in.
length: 177 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 68%
The new Nissan Versa 1.6S is much like the old Nissan Versa but with a smaller engine, a few less trim pieces and different wheels. The difference drops the base price of a Versa to just $9,990. The tall sedan offers seating for five and, should you be in a position to go without A/C, you'll be able to have the second-cheapest (by $20) car in America. The Versa 1.6S should start hitting dealerships throughout the rest of the year.
height: 60.4 in.
width: 66.7 in.
length: 176.0 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 67%
Ford's latest global small car will come to the US as the 2011 Ford Fiesta, packaging a lot of European style and design into a small package. We're inclined towards the tiny and efficient Fiesta three-door, but this market will likely prefer the Ford Fiesta Sedan. The sharply-designed Fiesta should wipe the bad small-car taste left in the mouths of anyone who owned a Ford Aspire when it debuts in 2010.
height: 58.3 in.
width: 77.7 in.
length: 167.3 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 63%
The 2010 Kia Soul, like many of the cars on this list, ratchets up the quality and style of the company's previous small car offerings in a way similar to what Toyota did with Scion. The Soul offers a look similar to the Scion xB and, unlike the Kia Rio, will offer a host of desirable standard features. Combined with a 2.0-liter fourbanger good for 142 horsepower, the Soul should achieve good mileage with passable performance.
height: 72.8 in.
width: 70.3 in.
length: 161.6 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty PickupD: 62%
Do you like the Chevy Aveo? Neither do we. But it gets reasonable mileage and GM has decided that it needed another small car on the market until the three vehicles mentioned above enter the market. Enter the 2009 Pontiac G3, a rebadged version of the Aveo. The 34 mpg highway mileage should make the price-conscious happy and, honestly, that's probably just it.
height: 59.3 in.
width: 66.1 in.
length: 154.3 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 59%
Nissan's entry into the feature-rich-box small car market, the Nissan Cube, is a small car that has gathered many admirers in parts of the world other than here. Its funky looks may turn off the conservative but the high-level of design, iPod-ready sound system, standard ABS brakes and "sofa style" bench could equal a major success for the automaker. The possibility of an electric version is even more enticing.
length: 156.69 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 59%
The GEM Peapod may look like a smiley monster, but it's not happy because it wants to eat you it's smiling because of its electric powertrain. A "Neighborhood Electric Vehicle" or NEV, its 25 MPH top-speed means you can't take it on the freeway. Still, the 30-mile range and four seats mean that this overgrown golf cart is perfect for an around-town vehicle for a small community.
height: 70.5 in.
width: 56.5 in.
length: 143.6 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty PickupD: 55%
The Toyota iQ is the smallest production four-seater in the world, a revolution in tiny transportation for the masses. Unlike a SMART car, which only seats two, the iQ can fit three adults and a small child, or three adults and some tiny luggage. The iQ is already on sale in Japan and will be available to customers in the UK early next year. It is expected that the iQ will enter production in the US either as a Scion or the next generation Yaris in the next two years.
height: 59.1 in.
width: 66.1 in.
length: 117.5 in.
% Of Ford Super Duty Pickup: 45%