Another Car We’re Not Allowed to Buy

Would you be interested in a brand-new, fully warranted, five-door crossover SUV built by a major, name-brand automaker that gave you 50-plus MPG with a gas (not diesel or hybrid) engine, that has a top speed around 125 mph, is capable of getting to 60 in 12 seconds (about the same as a Prius hybrid) that stickered for less than $5,000?

Yeah, me too.

It’s called the Renault Kwid (see here) and it looks kinda-sorta like a Nissan Juke or Kia Soul and is about the same size as those units.

It isn’t a latter-day Yugo either.

Against the State: An ... Rockwell Jr., Llewelly... Best Price: $5.02 Buy New $5.52 (as of 11:35 UTC - Details) The Kwid comes standard with AC, power windows and a digital dashboard, a seven-inch LCD display in the center stack and most of the apps you’d find in a new Soul or Juke.

It also has a modern, fuel-injected engine and a five-speed overdrive transmission.    

The difference is the Kwid costs about a third what a new Juke or Soul would cost you to buy: Its base price is just $4,700 (not counting taxes and tags).    

Too bad we can’t buy one.

Not because such a vehicle isn’t available.

Real Dissent: A Libert... Thomas E. Woods Jr. Best Price: $8.48 Buy New $7.93 (as of 03:10 UTC - Details) It’s just not available here.

Neither are other such cars, like the Suzuki Alto 800 (53 MPG and a base price of $3,870; $5,755 loaded) and the Hyundai Eon (50 MPG and $4,856 to start; $6,636 loaded).

Because Uncle.

His “safety” mandates make these vehicles illegal for sale in the United (at gunpoint) States. Even though the Kwid has an air bag – the main fetish item of America’s gone-off-the-deep-end Safety Cult.

It just doesn’t have enough of them.

Only one (for the driver) rather than the six or more that are now necessary in the U.S. to comply with Uncle’s nail-biting, neurotic – and very expensive –  “safety” mandates. It also couldn’t pass current federal bumper impact or The Little Green Book ... James Delingpole Best Price: $5.70 Buy New $19.99 (as of 06:30 UTC - Details) roof crush standards – notwithstanding that the Kwid is much more crashworthy than, say, a classic ’70s-era VW Beetle or (probably) even a Chrysler K-car from the 1980s.

“Safety” is relative.

The federal government says a SmartCar is “safe” because it meets the requirements for its class (subcompact). But see what happens when it gets T-boned by a ’70 Eldorado without a single air bag that would never pass the “safety” tests required of the not-so-smart car.

The Kwid is probably “safer” – as far as its ability to protect occupants in the event of a crash – than the federally approved SmartCar.

It doesn’t matter.

The Great Deformation:... David A. Stockman Best Price: $2.00 Buy New $9.95 (as of 09:55 UTC - Details) Nor the fact that the Kwid’s emissions are also a fraction of those produced by cars that were legal for sale in this country as recently as the 1990s. Unfortunately – for us – the Kwid doesn’t meet current federal standards, which ceased being reasonable back in the ’90s. Current federal standards pursue the remaining 1-3 percent of a new car’s exhaust emissions not yet “controlled” with an Inspector Javert-like mania – irrespective of cost and even when achieving compliance results in more emissions, grand scheme of things.

It doesn’t matter that the Kwid’s less-than-one-liter three cylinder engine produces a smaller total volume of exhaust – because it burns less fuel – which means that on the whole, its emissions output is lower than U.S.-legal cars with much larger (1.8-2.5 liter four cylinder, typically) engines that burn much more fuel overall and so produce a greater volume of exhaust gas.

And, therefore, more emissions.

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