There was one company at the 2015 LA Auto Show that had everyone intrigued. They didn't have a big booth, and they only had one car on display, but they definitely had everyone's attention.
It wasn't Tata Motors, a company that gained international recognition when it launched a sub-$2,000 car—the Tata Nano—in 2009, sold exclusively in India. While the Nano now sells for more with steady price increases and suffers from horrendous safety ratings, it provided the idea that driving a new car doesn't have to break the bank.
Enter Elio Motors, the American company building cars for Americans, but in the spirit of affordability and safety. And starting at $6,800, they just might have a hit on their hands.
Here's the deal. Yes, it's a three-wheeler. Yes, it only holds two passengers, and they sit in tandem. Yes, you're going to get some looks when driving this thing. Yes, it gets great gas mileage.
But you know what, three wheels are cheaper than four. A two-passenger max means less weight, and 1,228 pounds is simply cheaper to operate than the 2,400 pounds that the average entry-level car weighs.
With increased fuel prices, saving money at the pump is key. And the Elio, well, this guy gets up to 84 MPG (49 MPG in city-driving conditions)! No, that's not a typo. This gas-powered machine blows the dust off most hybrids, and in fact, is more environmentally-friendly than a cow, which emits 4,840 pounds of CO2 a year, versus only 4,500 pounds of CO2 for every 20,000 miles driven in the Elio.
So, to sum up, we have a ridiculous price of $6,800, an even crazier 84 MPG gas consumption, and, for better or worse, a head-turner on the streets that's built in the good ol' U-S-of-A. And, oh yeah, the Elio is more environmental-friendly than cow farts.
And unlike the Tata Nano I mentioned earlier, the Elio does not take safety lightly. It comes with three air bags, a roll-cage frame, ABS, and large crumple zones.
Frankly, a whole lot of people. If you're thinking about a smart car, you have to seriously consider this one.
If you're in the market for a motorcycle, but mostly for price and gas savings, the Elio is a much safer option.
If you're a minivan driver that that finds themselves driving a huge gas-guzzler throughout the day when you don't have the family packed in, the Elio would make for a terrific second or third car.
The only bummer? You gotta preorder this bad boy.