Spiky-headed weight-loss guru Susan Powter once pleaded with the country’s overfed citizens to “stop the insanity.” Some heeded her advice (Kelly Osbourne), some didn’t (David Anthony Higgins; anyone who’s eaten multiple KFC Double Downs). The auto industry didn’t either.
Tightening safety regulations, feature bloat and heightened demand for cars that consumers perceive to be safer (i.e., larger ones) have led to the enfattening of automobiles over three decades. These larger, heavier cars have amassed tremendous technical complexity, much of which has gone toward managing the physical stresses of size while retaining a semblance of fuel efficiency. Continue reading