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PHOTOS: The world's grooviest small cars

Last updated on: September 2, 2011 14:03 IST

The world's grooviest small cars

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A compact car or small family car is a classification of cars which are larger than a supermini, but smaller than or equal to a mid-size car. This car class is also known as the C-segment across Europe.

In fact, not too long ago, Europe had the largest numbers of small cars. But now Asia wears that crown. With the rise in demand for fuel efficiency and increase in awareness about environmental concerns, the concept of small cars has become more common.

One can witness this change at various auto shows, where year-after-year some swanky, new compact cars are introduced.

So, here's a look at some of the world's newest and smartest small cars.

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Photographs: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters
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Tata Pixel
Price: Not available yet.

The stunning Tata Pixel, with 'zero turn' drive and an innovative diamond-shaped door system, is a new city car concept for Europe from Tata Motors.

Based on the Tata Nano, the Pixel is powered with a 1200 cc engine and is capable of seating four adults.

It has been receiving praise for its city-friendly features like maneuverability and the "scissor" gull-wing doors designed to rotate upwards for getting in and out after parking in the smallest of spots. The expect release year for Europe is 2013.

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Photographs: Reuters
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REVA NXR
Price: Rs 500,000

The all new electric REVA NXR will be officially unveiled at the 2012 Indian Auto Expo in Delhi.

For starters, Reva NXR has been totally restyled and looks a lot better than the REVAi. The REVA NXR has a seating capacity of four and the maximum distance covered in a single charge has been doubled to 160 kms compared to 80 kms of the REVAi. Another noteworthy fact is that the REVA NXR has a top speed of 104 kmhr.

Furhter, the Reva NXR is likely to be equipped with many advanced features like, keyless operation, digital display, Dual charge ports and SMS alerts.

It is likely to be powered with a new lithiumion battery. The Reva NXR will not only be bigger and roomier, but is likely to come with a better finish of the interiors.

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Tango 600
Price: Rs 49,84,200 ($108,000)

Tango 600, which is an electric car, is considered as the world's fastest urban car. It is known to combine the speed and agility of a motorcycle, with the security of a high-performance sports car.

Being 5" narrower than many motorcycles, it can get cut across traffic like no other car. And, with over 1,000 ft-lbs of torque starting at zero rpm and a 600 kW (805 hp) motor controller, the Tango accelerates from 0-60 mph in under four seconds, and can reach over 130 mph with no gear shifting.

However, batteries and drivetrain are not included with the T600, but the car is also available as the mass-produced T200 at a lower price.

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Myers Motors Duo
Price: Under Rs 13,84,500 ($ 30,000)

Here DUO stands for Doesn't Use Oil. This vehicle is a step up from the company's funky single-seat NMG (No More Gas) vehicle.

Myers Motors Duo is a two-seat, three-wheeler with an aerodynamic tear drop shape that is officially classified as a motorcycle.

The DUO consumes only 180W of energy per mile on the highway, which means it has a very low carbon-per-mile footprint compared to a gas-powered vehicle.

And, the lithium battery system is designed in a manner that it can cover 100,000-150,000 miles (161,000-241,000kms) and uses an overnight 110 volt home charging.

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Smart ForSpeed Concept
Price: Rs 5,07,188 Rs 8,16,393+ (Fortwo) ($10,990-$17,690+)

The basic smart Fortwo comes in gas-powered models. According to Smart, the forspeed roadster will reach speeds up to 75 mph with a rear-mounted 40 bhp electric motor and a 7bhp overboost function.

The electricity for the engine is stored in a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 16.5 kWh, and the range should be 84 miles. As for charging, the smart forspeed concept will plug into a normal 220 volt socket, with a quick charge in about 45 minutes.

With a convertible roof, and wind deflectors (rather than windshield) with integrated solar cells, and iPhone dock, many are hoping it will join the fortwo on the market soon.

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Photographs: Denis Balibouse/Reuters
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Toyota iQ
Price: Under Rs 9,23,000 ($ 20,000)

The world's smallest four-seat urban car (about 66 inches wide and 117 inches long) has buzzed throughout Europe and Japan.

Powered by a 1.0-litre VVT-i engine, the Toyota iQ comes with alloy wheels, air-conditioning and safety systems like anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control with steering assist (VSC+), Traction Control (TRC) and nine airbags, including a world-first rear window airbag.

The car is designed in a manner that two seats at the back can fold down to create a modest cargo area - enough to stow a suitcase or a medium-sized bag full of groceries.

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Photographs: Alex Grimm/Reuters
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Aston Martin Cygnet
Price: Rs 23, 08, 010 ($ 50,000)

Even though it's based on the Toyota iQ, Cygnet is true to Aston Martin's luxury craftsmanship.

This 'bespoke luxury commuter car' can seat up to four, and it's the same length as iQ, but the Cygnet has leather seats and numerous features that can be customised.

The tiniest Aston Martin ever is expected to share the same three-cylinder petrol engine as the iQ, along with its innovative three- plus-one seating arrangement.

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Photographs: Denis Balibouse/Reuters
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Rolls-Royce MINI
Price: Rs 3,137,860 ($68,000)

Inspired by Goodwood, MINI will be limited to 1,000 models worldwide. As the first premium luxury model in the small car segment, argues MINI, it's only natural for the brand to further establish its position.

Even, the original Mini has a long history of being fitted out by premium London tailors, with sales in the 1960s to stars such as Peter Sellers and The Beatles. The original Mini was built by the British Motor Corporation from 1959 until 2000.

Now, the new MINI carries on that tradition, but with a sophisticated twist that maximises the brand link between BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce.

This three-door hatchback will perform like the MINI S with an estimated 30 miles to the gallon, but its leather, lambswool, and walnut burr interiors and spoked alloy hubcaps evoke the Rolls.

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Alfa Romeo MiTo
Price: Rs 1,061,471
($ 23,000+ )

What is known about the MiTo is that it has a new stop and start system that reduces fuel consumption and C02 emissions, an integrated navigation device with a car menu of information, and available Bose sound system.

Further, the 2011MY MiTo is nonetheless a refreshed version of the vehicle that promises to have a number of enhancements over its soon-to-be-predecessor, the current edition MiTo.

The new MiTo is expected to hit dealerships in Europe soon, where it promises to come with new options and technologies that will "enhance comfort and driving feel" for the new model.

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Ford Ka
Price: Rs 6,46,170 ($14,000+)

The newly redesigned Ford Ka is noteworthy in Europe as a lower cost, smaller take on the Fiesta.

This small and compact car of Ford Ka has made the mini car lovers more enthusiastic and enriched with the sizes and styles.

The Ka has a 74 bhp engine and the 1.3 liter diesel option for the diesel lovers. The noise control and the throat clearing is also done quite beautifully. The petrol version of the car is offering 63 bhp with 1.2 liter version.

It also offers features like automatic parking sensors and other features in a swift, customisable compact package.

The Ford Ka is a 12 years older teen, but is redesigned in such smashing and splendid ways that it sounds like making the world pleasant for the buyers.

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Volkswagen XL1
Price: TBA

When Volkswagen unveiled the 1-Liter concept in 2002 and then the L1 in 2009, everyone believed that getting a car that actually consumed only one liter per 100 kilometers (62 miles) was nearly impossible, but now the company has just gotten one step closer to that far-fetched reality with the release of the XL1 Concept.

The new XL1 features impressive design, and it's a plug-in hybrid that combines a 48 HP two cylinder TDI engine with a 27 HP E-motor, a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG), and a lithiumion battery.

Further, most of the car's parts are made in carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) in order to reduce the total weight.


Photographs: Xinhua/Reuters
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