This Ridiculously Small Car Has A Feature Not Found In Any Other Car Ever Made

You Don't Need A License To Drive This

4y ago

For most Americans, the smallest car we can think of is the Smart ForTwo. The two-door hatchback, two-seater, three-cylinder engine producing 89 horsepower, is the runt of the American automotive world. When it's not envied by people roaming around busy cities looking for a parking space, it's often ridiculed on the road as being ugly and unfairly characterized as "unsafe" because of its diminutive size. When you take yourself out of America, however, you'll find that there are a lot more cars that's even smaller. I went to the Netherlands recently and found this little gem that's roughly two-thirds the size of a ForTwo.

This little car, if you can even call it a car, is the Canta LX. Powered by a 0.16 (that's zero-point-one-six) liter one-cylinder engine, the Canta only produces a lawnmower-like 5.5 horsepower at 3,600 RPM. This little microcar is built by Waaijenberg, a Dutch automotive company that is proud of the fact that they're the only manufacturer that builds cars limited to 45 kph (28 mph).

Why is having a car that can't go highway speeds (and therefore not allowed on highways) a good thing? Because it's the perfect solution for the congested city streets like the ones found in Amsterdam. In a place where parking is scarce and having a normal sized car is a huge hassle, owning a car that can traverse bike and pedestrian lanes and can be parked wherever you please is a major appeal. The minuscule dimensions of the Canta LX (44" wide, 91" long, and 62" tall") only takes up as much room as a few bicycles, and won't hog the wide and ubiquitous bike lanes in Amsterdam. You don't even need a driver's license to drive this thing!

You won't be able to fit a lot of stuff in the Canta, and when you weigh it down with an extra passenger you may find the 0.16 liter engine is small enough to make you think that you should have walked to your destination in the first place. As far as safety is concerned, you won't get yourself in too big of trouble as you, or anything around you, won't be capable of traveling at a high rate of speed.

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What's even more impressive about this tiny car (that's actually classified as a scooter) is that Waaijenberg has made a version specially made for the disabled. You may have seen cars that can transport people in wheelchairs, but you've probably never seen one specifically made for people in wheelchairs to drive it. The Inrij-Canta, the most expensive version at €18,950 (base model comes in at €13,250), can lower its backend and extend a ramp for wheelchair bound passengers. Here it is in action:

Waaijenberg has been producing the Canta since 1995, and after 22 years producing the same exact car, the company is finally making a next generation model. They will announce the next Canta on October 5th and have teased features like round halogen headlights, LED turn signals, knobby AC controls, and a digital clock! We'll be sure to share with you the next Canta when it comes out!

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Comments (2)

  • These are all for the disabled. They were developed exactly for that market. Most non-handicapped Dutch would not buy such a car, as it does not go on the freeway and many main thoroughfares. Further, they cost as much as many other cars which will. They also have no standard heater, and an aux standalone heater is another 2500 euro above the 14000 they already cost. There are other "mini cars" which do in fact have heat, but may not be driven on the bike path nor parked on the sidewalk. What makes this what it is is its width, which must be less than 43 inches wide.

    Their main advantage is that they may be parked and driven where bicycles can go, and even more. It is actually a bicycle with special parking and access privileges and not a scooter in the law.

    There is a small second hand market, but only about 5000 have ever been made since 1995. I owned 2 of them plus a brand new competitor, the JDM City, which looked more like a regular car, particularly from the side. Many people rejected the external design of the Canta, and would not be seen and thus classified in such a thing. Thus a competitor in Jan. 2004.

    They are expensive to buy, expensive to maintain, cold and noisy. A Canta's windows don't even open but a small bit. But fr the handicapped in Holland, they are a Godsend.

      1 year ago
  • The new model! Photo by @nykrayne

      2 years ago