Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Small Car Analysis

So here by popular demand is the 2005 small car report. Now, being it is 2008, one might very reasonably ask why I am doing the 2005 report. Well, because the kind of people who read my blog buy used cars and 3 years old is probably the newest they can afford. An astute reader might notice that I am not including hybrids. The reason for this is that current hybrid technology requires a large, heavy and expensive battery pack which needs to be replaced every 3 -7 years. This is explained in great detail in this blog: . For this little report on I will exclude them.

I might note as well that me doing this report of small cars by no means constitutes a endorsement of the world auto industry. Chevrolet’s Corvette division, BMW’s large car division, Honda’s engine group, and Tata’s small car team are the only engineers in the entire field which are earing their paychecks, listed in order of ability. Everyone else is churning out the BS that they have foisting on a infinitely stupid public for 60 years.

Also all cars have manual transmissions unless I note otherwise. If you are two stupid and or lazy shift gears you don’t deserve to get good fuel economy.

If you notice a sort of pathetic sameness here, thats because there is a sort of pathetic sameness here. TCO by the way is a constructed number which is a verity of different things that one has to pay for the Toyota ECHO for example breaks down like this:toyotaecho.gif



Now you might reasonably say: But my calculated expenses don’t look anything like that. It doesn’t really matter. Since I used the same formula on all of the cars, the trends that the formula indicates are going to hold even if you use a different formula, or change values in the formula.

I know that some people also don’t take much stock in “depreciation”. Well, you should, it effects you.

Right now, if I get in a car accident, my car is worth less then it was when I bought it. Thus, the money my insurance company will pay me if the total it is less. Depreciation decides how much the insurance company pays you, and thus how much money you have to buy your next car, so its important in that sense. Also, looking at the total cost of ownership (TCO) forces you realize how much this car is really costing you and makes things like bikes look more attractive, as they should.

Anyway, I didn’t chose the ECHO as an example arbitrarily. As you can see from Table 1, the ECHO and the Chevy Cavalier tie for TCO. You might notice that the Cavalier is $2000 cheaper in purchase price than the ECHO, but since TCO includes purchase price, that means the two grand you save on buying a Cavalier, you will lose maintaining it. Further the ECHO gets 30 city 38 Highway, so once the initial five years is up, the ECHO will cost less and less every year in comparison to the Cavalier. Further, the ECHO got outstanding crash stats, 4 out of 5 stars on almost all measures. And its built by the most reliable car company on earth. You could spend more, but you won’t get more.


By the way, I hate all the cars that these companies build. If I had the 10 grand to invest in equipment I could build significantly better cars in my garage. Its not that I am that smart, its that the cars are that bad. Regardless, my car company is not up and running and won’t be for around 8 years, if at all. In the mean time, buy an ECHO.


Finally, if you lifestyle demands that you get a fuel efficient car to keep your finances in check, then you desperately need to change your life style. The TCO data is based off of a verity of things which won’t last

  1. $3.00 gas (It will be $4.50 by July, and will probably top out around $15 – $25 in the next 10 years.)

  2. Maintained roads (The US DOT says 25% of our bridges are either structurally deficient or totally obsolete, and they can’t get money to fix them. Large cities have been able to siphon off the lions share of highway funds for local pork barrel (ale “The Big Dig”) We refuse to take car of our infrastructure, and shortly it will refuse to take car of us.

  3. Insurance is based of of the concept of shared risk. If everyone’s risk goes up so does the cost of driving. Poorly maintained roads cause accidents.


So, like I said, if your lifestyle requires 100 miles of driving a day, you need to change it. NOW. In ten years you will be to broke to save money by making large lifestyle changes.


My bibliography, for your skeptical pleasure










January 26, 2008 - Posted by | Microcar, Small Car | ,

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