Who says small cars can't be beautiful? Here are 10 that go down in history as masterpieces of styling (13, if you count modern-day descendants ) and the year they debuted.
Pretty and petite
10 of the best-looking small cars of all time
Beetles old, shown, and new put form and function ahead of add-on adornments and detracting decoration. Ferdinand Porsche's organic design caused the Type One to be called the "bug."
Alec Issigonis conceived and designed the original, shown, for British Motor Corp. Issigonis, an engineer, created a space-saving, front-wheel-drive layout that influenced a generation of carmakers. He showed that function can have wonderful form. Decades later with the original's successor, BMW designer Frank Stephenson showed that gorgeous form functions wonderfully.
Yes, it's really ugly, but so ugly that it's cute. The 2CV, built by Citroen from 1949 to 1990, also met its design criteria: carry four people (or two people and 100 pounds of produce). The 2CV (French: deux chevaux vapeur) also could carry a basket of eggs unbroken across a plowed farm field.
The simple form of the Dante Giacosa-designed original, shown, produced by Fiat between 1957 and 1975, became an Italian icon. The new, retro-styled 500, left, maintains pleasing proportions underscored by clean lines and modern surface treatment.
With its advanced aerodynamic style, the Opel Kadett E from General Motors' German subsidiary was voted Europe's car of the year in 1985. It was also the start of a product revolution at Opel in the 1980s that would help elevate several GM Europe executives, including Rick Wagoner, to the top of the company.
Sophisticated and angular on the outside with a sleek, stylish interior, Hideki Suzuki's design disproved the theorem that small looks cheap. The chic styling changed perceptions of what a small car could be and prompted rivals such as Toyota to rethink the design of their own subcompacts.
The Italian design house Pininfarina gave the European hatchback both Italian flair and French chic styling cues in the mid-1980s. The 205, produced by Peugeot between 1983 and 1996, was declared Car of the Decade by Britain's Car magazine in 1990.
The beltline of Tom Gale's first-generation Dodge/Plymouth Neon — introduced in January 1994 — had an elegant lilt. The proportions broke with small-car tradition here and abroad.
Giorgetto Giugiaro's original Golf, sold in the United States as the Rabbit, spurred interest in the five-door form that gave us such easy-on-the-eye vehicles as the Honda Civic Si hatchback and the Mazda 323 GTX in the late 1980s.
The delectable minicar influenced several city cars that would brighten European capitals the 1990s.
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