WIll Cars Ever Get Lighter?

Illustration for article titled WIll Cars Ever Get Lighter?

It's no surprise that most new cars weigh more than their predecessors. The addition of new technology, nanny-state safety equipment, entertainment systems and a desire for more legroom have led to some seriously leaden vehicles. On the other hand, new materials like carbon fiber and new technologies have worked to lighten cars. But, given that every car seems to need a five trillion gigabyte hard drive, 60-inch nav screen, 40 air bags and tinted glass on every window, will feature bloat be overcome by a desire for greater fuel economy and performance — and lead to lighter cars? Recent history is not going in favor of "less is more." The 2009 Honda Fit we reviewed weighs in heavier than the first generation. The new Mini weighs nearly 1,000 pounds more than a classic Mini, which is impressive when you consider a classic Mini typically weighs in at less than 1,500 pounds. However, lightweight innovators are still out there. The Lotus Evora may be the lightest thing to carry four passengers this side of a novelty bike cab. Will cars ever get lighter? Or will Colin Chapman continue to spin in his grave? QOTD is your chance to answer the day's most pressing questions and experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good "Question Of The Day" send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com. [Photo: Auto123]


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Rob Emslie

No. They will continue to get heavier as more and more "must-have" options are added. The only way that a car will get lighter is if a new generation model is made significantly smaller (i.e. '76 to '77 chevy caprice) and less capacious.

And regarding Colin Chapman spinning in his grave; keep in mind that Lotus cars, under the auspices of Chapman, got bigger and heavier with each ensuing generation. An Esprit is significantly bigger and heavier than the Europa it nominally replaced. The Eclat is a +1 over the Elan 2+2, etc . . .