Small cars are taking over. At least that’s the way it seems. In the last 15 years, more and more small, fuel-efficient cars have been designed and produced by auto manufacturers as they try to meet the demand of car buyers looking for inexpensive compact cars that are cheap on gas.
But small cars aren’t necessarily for everyone…like Yao Ming, the 7-foot-6 Chinese native, who according to Yahoo! Sports is retiring from basketball. Yao’s feet, unable to sustain his larger than life body, routinely broke down on him during the last half decade.
In honor of Yao, we give you a list of seven small cars that we could never fathom him driving, despite the great gas milage:
Volkswagen New Beetle
In 1998, Volkswagen reintroduced the world to the Beetle. Heavily imitating the original Volkswagen Beetle exterior design, the New Beetle was immensely popular, especially amongst female owners.
It’s height is listed at 59 inches, but with the top down on a convertible, Yao wouldn’t be concerned with having head room. However, it is being redesigned. The 2011 model is the final edition of the current design.
Yao Ming could potentially fit into the Mini Cooper, but there’s no way he could ever be comfortable. Not only does the Mini sit lower to the ground than the Volkswagen New Beetle, making it even more difficult for Yao to get into the car, it is also six inches shorter than the Beetle.
Billed as the cheapest car in the world, the Tata Nano is the poor man’s dream, starting at around $2,500 when it was introduced in 2009. Good thing Yao isn’t poor. While he may fit into the 65-inch tall vehicle, he definitely wouldn’t be comfortable having to ride in a car that doesn’t feature air bags, air conditioning or any type of radio/CD player — all cost-cutting features.
If Yao Ming is looking for a more luxurious brand, he might consider luxury car giant BMW. However, there is no way he would go after a BMW Isetta. On several models, the car opens from the front, giving the driver a door instead of a hood. The Isetta also looks like a giant dinosaur egg due to its bubble shape and three-wheeled design. Produced from 1956 to 1962, the Isetta became a popular European city car, but not one we could ever see Yao driving.
Taller than either the Beetle or the Mini Cooper, the Smart ForTwo still falls short of even Yao Ming’s shadow. While his head might just barely graze the ceiling headliner, there is a good chance Yao’s knees would be doing the same.
Luckily, if Yao was able to fit in the car, he wouldn’t have to worry about parallel parking since the ForTwo is short enough to snuggle up a bumper to the curb and still be shorter than the average cars width.
Not even Yao’s home country of China is exempt from making the list of cars unfit for the giant. Geely, China’s largest independent automaker, designed the small hatchback to compete with Chinese auto rival Chery in the small and cheap segment, but could you really envision Yao Ming in a hatchback?
Manufactured from 1962-1965, the Peel P50 became the smallest automobile to go into production. At only 54 inches long and 41 inches wide, the P50 was just a baby, yet it was still fully street legal in the United Kingdom where it was produced. There were only 50 originally made with each featuring just one headlight, one wiper, one door and one seat.
The Peel P50 was brought back in 2011 with both gas and electric versions. The ECO electric version has a top speed of 50 mph…not bad for a glorified Power Wheels.