By Roger Boylan
Do you like American compact cars? Have you ever desired an Escort, or yearned for a Chevette? I thought not. Many, if not most, of our homegrown compacts have been duds. I still shudder when I think of the Dodge Neon I once briefly owned. Not that there haven’t been some bright spots here and there: The Ford Focus has always been a pretty good car, and the Chevrolet Corvair made automotive history—the wrong kind, but hey. These days, the Cruze and Sonic look promising, as do the Fiesta and revamped Focus. Still, by and large, the best part of the compact-car market in this country has been dominated by imports, whose dimensions are dictated by the price of fuel and the exigencies of urban geography in their home countries, and engineered accordingly. My guess is that most American compacts have been bought for want of anything better, by college kids and the chronically hard-up (I fell into the latter category when I signed on the dotted line for my Neon).