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EPA Says: 5,771-Pound Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Is A Compact Car

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EPA Says: 5,771-Pound Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Is A Compact Car

By Nelson Ireson


December 8th, 2010


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on a roll of remarkably nonsensical declarations of late, not least of which are the "mpg" ratings for the 2011 Nissan LEAF and 2011 Chevrolet Volt. The latest, and possibly silliest, pronouncement: the 5,771-pound, 453-horsepower V-12 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is a compact car.

How, in the name of all things measurable, did the EPA come to that conclusion? The EPA classes cars not on weight, length, or some other exterior factor, but on interior volume. Even more laughable? The Bentley Continental GTC, at 5,663 pounds and 552 horsepower, is classed as a sub-compact. The Aston Martin DB9 and DBS? Mini-compact cars in the same class as the MINI Cooper.

By way of comparison, the Toyota Prius; Nissan Altima, Sentra, and Versa; Hyundai Elantra; Chevrolet Malibu; Ford Fusion; Kia Optima; and Audi A6 are all classed as "midsize" cars.

But what's the point of the EPA's classification structure anyway? To regulate fuel economy, dividing passenger vehicles into sub-categories. The rub? While cars are rated on internal passenger and cargo volume, pickups, SUVs, and minivans are rated on Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The result: many heavy pickups and SUVs aren't held to fuel economy standards at all.

Does any of this make sense? Not that we can tell.



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Motor Authority? This guy is the farthest thing to an "authority" on this topic. Sigh.

Cars have been measured by interior space by the EPA since they started doing fuel economy...in the early 1970s. Rolls-Royce's Silver Shadow was a compact car as a four-door sedan. As a matter of fact, no import car was ever considered a full-sized car (aside from the Rolls-Royce limousine) until the Saab 9000. Interior space is THE way to measure car sizes since that what we, as buyers, care about.

As for trucks, the same goes. Buyers care about how much they can carry, which means that trucks should be measured by their load capacity. A Class 1 truck has a total capacity (including vehicle weight) of less than 6,000 lbs (Class 2 is up to 10,000 lbs, etc.). SUVs, however are used as cars and should be measured as such...which they never have been. And that's by design...when the government made gas guzzling cars hard to sell, they made gas guzzling trucks (SUVs) that could replace gas guzzling cars and skirt the law.

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The whole notion seems inane to me, as does the absurd policy of CAFE which drives it.

We need a new way to do such things.

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Since this system produces such wild polarities, I submit that the EPA way of classifying cars needs replacement.

Interior volume dictating the size class of vehicles never made sense to me, regardless of how long it's been done.

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