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Big cars still remain popular in America

February 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Small cars can save you money on gas, but some people still need or desire the large cars. Auto specialist Dave Kunz shows you some of the latest designs with fuel efficiency in mind.Detroit is working to bring out smaller, more fuel efficient cars. For example, Ford will soon launch the compact Fiesta -- practicality with a little European flair.

But Ford and the other domestic auto companies haven't given up on larger cars. Ford's new Taurus is a fairly big car with lots of room inside. It's the kind of car a lot of American drivers still want.

"Because engineering has advanced so much, it's not a huge car, but it really maximizes the space inside so you get that kind of 'big car' experience," said James Bell, Kelley Blue Book.

Ford isn't alone in this arena. Buick has gotten positive reviews for its LaCross sedan. This car could help change the image of Buick. It's stylish and modern and aimed at a younger buyer.

Many buyers young and old want improved fuel economy, and the federal government is demanding it in the coming years.

These more modern larger cars are up to the task thanks to technology.

"You're looking at a lot of new materials, lightweight aluminums and new technologies as far as the engines go," said Bell. "So you're able to have the big vehicle but with the more responsible footprint, if you will, and I think that's the angle they're going for."

Chrysler's still in the large car game with its 300 and Dodge Charger sedans. Even though parent company Fiat is pushing through small car models from Europe, the big four-doors remain popular.

Later this year they'll get some much needed updates with interior revisions and a mild restyling.

The big cars of today have a lot comfort in them, but one thing you won't find is a bench seat. These days it's strictly bucket seats and a console. There are a lot of reasons for this: consumer tastes, safety and packaging.

There are still a handful of cars out there with bench seats, but they're few and far between, and their days are numbered.

So big cars aren't like they used to be -- they're actually better. They still provide room to stretch out and a smooth ride.

But these large Americans are lean enough to be ready for the future, even a future that's often talked about as one dominated by smaller cars.