Mazda's frugal 55mpg 4WD commuter

Mazda's frugal 55mpg 4WD commuter
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We know that the grass is always greener on the other side… but do the cars also have to be greener elsewhere too? Mazda's Carol micro-mini is only available in Japan yet its excellent fuel economy, affordability and specifications read like a wish list for commuters the world over - 4WD, 55 mpg, CVT, keyless entry, keyless start system, immobilizer, DOHC VVT motor, four-wheel ABS, electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist, split folding rear seats, heated seats… there's even wing mirror heaters to prevent fogging on cold mornings.

The newly announced Carol GS4 has added four-wheel drive (4WD) and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the existing Carol range for the first time. The motor is still the 660cc DOHC VVT, but with such a small car, acceleration is still quite acceptable and you'll simply love the GS4 when you pay for the gas – 55 mpg in US measures and 66 mpg in imperial measures. How much? JPY 1,120,350 (approx. US$12,000) including tax.

Is it just us, or do you think Mazda should have the Carol on showroom floors everywhere?

Facebook User
Great stuff but why on earth would you call a car \'Carol\'?
Since the US auto biz is effectively controlled by the oil corporations they will not permit importing of high mpg micro cars.
Oil corps are in the business of selling more fuel, not less!
Why `Carol` Because every day is Christmas Day when you\'ve got 4WD AND 55mpg..!
Call it whatever, just get it to the showroom NOW! And, how do we tell Mazda to do this?
Will, the tink
\"Prez\" touches on only part of the problem. It\'s frustrating that we do not have a special class of micro-cars in America, similar to the \"Kei\"-cars of Japan. I have a early example I am restoring, a Honda 600 sedan, that was sold in America in the early seventies. This was before restrictions were tightened for the manufacture or import of such micro cars. I quote from Wikipedia which says it best:
\"The obstacle to adaptation of such vehicles in the United States is less technical than cultural and political. The mandates by regulatory powers that such vehicles meet FULL U.S. safety regulations ensures the unavailability of vehicles suitable for use in the mixed traffic conditions that predominate in U.S. suburban areas.\"
Notice the obstacles are listed as cultural and political. Without naming names, a person can pretty much figure out who thinks they would be hurt financially by introduction of this class of car in the U.S. Those lobbying against it would probably include some automotive manufactures, big oil, and insurance companies, all who would stand to loose money.
Perhaps the movement towards \"green\" solutions will push the reintroduction of micro cars but I would be among the last to force someone to adopt better transportation solutions. Financial encouragement would be better. It should cost way less to buy, fuel, and insure such vehicles, \"right-sizing\" for that one or two people trip!
Adrian Akau
I think that this car should be made available to US buyers. A Korean company is planning to set up an electric car factory in Honolulu. Their car looks more like a large golf cart and costs about the same as the Carol. While an electric car would be wonderful for the down-town area, I think that the Carol would be a definite improvement overall for drivers on the island of Oahu and for the outside islands. Most electricity here (about 80%) is being produced by burning oil and it is expensive (about $.40 per KWh on the island of Hawaii). Until there is an inexpensive source of electricity, it would be best to consider a vehicle like the Carol rather than a plug-in.
Just about any car is safer than a motorcycle yet they\'re allowed. Just EXCUSES. If they care so much about safety,why\'d they crucify Preston Tucker? The same real reason. Blind greed. -g
Serafina Tikklya
Will, the Tink! Oh a Honda 600! I had one when I lived in California eons ago! Such a fun little car and I got 43 MPG all the time. The 598cc engine worked hard all the time but it was good enough to drive the freeways of LA back in the 70s! I LOVED it! I wish I still had it...
That said, I think the US is long overdo for fuel efficient, inexpensive micro or mini cars. I am interested in the new little Fiat 500 that Chrysler is getting. What I would truly like is a convertible, and that is an option with the Fiat! And it\'s projected MPG is in the mid 40s.
Several posters want mini cars well there are three being sold in the U.S. right now. Fiat 500, Smart Car, and the Scion IQ. All the Kei vehicles are 10 ft long, the Smart is a shade over 8 ft and the IQ eleven inches longer They all meet U.S. safety standards and if considered too expensive buy one second hand when they become available. If these cars are not accepted by America they too will withdraw, its down to the consumer to create the demand where more variety will come on line. The option is to sit on the side line complaining or put your money where your mouth is.
IMHO the size of the vehicle is irrelevant. it's the fuel economy without the need of hybrid technology which may equal lower maintenance costs that makes this vehicle so appealing.