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Despite the fact the Elio looks more like a toy car than an actual vehicle, it could take to roads across the US as early as next year.
The three-wheeled vehicle which retails as just over £4,000 ($6,800), seats two passengers (one behind the other) and can reach 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds. Whilst it’s the same length as the Honda Fit, its half the weight at just 1,250lbs, allowing it to achieve an impressive 84 miles to the gallon.
Phoenis-based Elio Motors is planning to release the car onto the US market next year and claims it is an ideal vehicle for commuters whose incentive is to keep travel costs as low as possible.
Already more than 27,000 people have reserved a model, and the firm hopes to make 250,000 cars by the year 2016 – close to the amount of Mazda cars sold in the US.
Because the Elio only has 3 wheels, two in the front and one in the rear, its classified as a motorcycle by the US Government, but Elio Motors founder, Paul Elio, has said that the vehicle contains all of the safety features of a car, such as anti-lock brakes, front and side air bags and a steel cage that surrounds the occupants. Drivers of the Elio will not be required to wear helmets or have motorcycle licences.
The seating in the Elio is such that occupants sit front and back as opposed to side-by-side so the driver is positioned in the centre with the passenger directly behind them. Taking the seating seating position into account alongside the new configuration and the lack of power steering, and it is safe to say the Elio takes a bit of getting used to! However, test drivers claim it does feel just like any other small car.
The Elio comes with a three-cylinder, 0.9-litre engine and a top speed of more than 100mph (160km/h) and it can achieve an estimated 84mpg on the motorway and 49mpg in city driving. Its lower cost of just £4,000 is due to the fact it only has one door on the left-hand side which, according to Elio Motors, shaves a few hundred pounds off manufacturing costs.
The Elio combines the compact size of the Smart car with the stability and manoeuverability of the Can-Am Spyder cycle. Buyers will be able to choose from manual or automatic transmission and the car will also contain features such as air-conditioning, electric windows, door locks and an AM/FM radio as standard.
So, would you buy one? Unfortunately, the company has no immediate plans to roll the Elio out in the UK market, but with its current popularity in the US, and 27,000 pre-orders, UK buyers may be fighting for a chance to own one in years to come.