Fiat’s Uno is a better car than any current, flashy A-segment car in the local market. Well, at least in terms of one significant respect: luggage capacity.
A glance at the car guide in a worn February 1995 edition of CAR Magazine I own confirms that the Uno had an almost unbelievably spacious basic luggage capacity of 336dm3. That is roughly three times the capacity that any of the current class leaders in the budget segment can offer up.
It really does boggle my mind that manufacturers spend vast amounts of time and capital to develop A-segment cars with snazzy looks, functional interiors and greater refinement, while forgoing the importance of a decently-sized luggage area. It is probably the only reason I wouldn’t buy myself a Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10. Not too long ago, I used an i10 as a rental car and found the lack of junk I could cram into its truncated trunk quite disturbing.
The Toyota Aygo (along with its French cousins, the C1 and 107), looks really good, but the snazzy design – with rear doors that stretch so far back that a C-pillar is pretty much non-existent – means that the boot is a pitiful size.
Back in the day, the aforementioned Uno – along with the Volkswagen Citi Golf, Toyota Tazz/Conquest and Mazda 323 – were all basic hatches with plenty of space for the weekly shop. It was a level of practicality at the bottom end of the market that we just don’t find any longer. Yes, we have the new Toyota Etios as well as Renault’s Sandero as cheaper, spacious family cars. But both completely skipped the stage in their development usually dedicated to adding “style and street cred”.
Downsizing remains an unavoidable scenario for many of us, with the typical buyer of an A-segment hatch now including small families, not just students and pizza delivery boys. In that respect, the need to cart around more than a loaf of bread and three golf balls is real, and manufacturers would do well to go back to basics and give even the smaller new vehicles some decent load-carrying ability.