Friday, July 07, 2006

The new compact... size matters

The new compact is big
For a 4342mm length the Focus II has a massive 2640mm wheelbase (only 8mm shorter than a Audi A4) and a huge 1840mm width. This means loads of space both for occupants and luggage. So big is the new compact that one does not have much advantage in space in a Mondeo over a Focus SW or a Focus C-máx. This is in itself a recent trend that has helped conventional 4-door sedans to loose a lot of sales for these models. Incidentally, the compact segment also lost appeal for consumers that don’t need much space: today, cars like the Peugeot 207 or Fiat Grande-Punto can fill the space needs for many consumers as these are about the same size as a Golf III.

The massive size of modern “compacts” is in the origin of another trend: future versions of these cars will not grow much more in size. And will not change a lot in their underpinnings. So expect mainly design and interior improvements for the Focus III and Golf VI. On the other hand, the current Opel Astra will have to be greatly improved for the next generation, not only in size and space but mainly in suspension design… But the current Astra is what might be called in this context “old compact”.

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1 comment:

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