Compared to our Euro and Asian cousins, we Americans have typically tended to favor larger, more powerful cars and trucks. Opinions differ widely on exactly why. You could argue that the sheer size of our country demands larger, more comfortable vehicles. But then why don't Chinese or Russian people subscribe to the same logic? You could argue big cars are a reflection of our national self image – strong, powerful and in command of our surroundings.
But perhaps it's much simpler than that. Historically, small cars in the U.S. have been cursed by small, anemic engines paired with bottom-of-the-parts-bin suspension components and low-grade interiors. Think Chevette. Think Escort. Think Omni. Think Metro. Think Cavalier. The list is long.
There have been notable exceptions through the years. The offerings from venerable hot-hatch pathfinder Volkswagen come to mind. Honda, Toyota and Nissan have offered fun-in-four-cylinders since the '80s and before. Saab was turbocharging every small car in sight before turbocharging was cool. And more recently, Subaru showed us that compact combined with AWD could be absolutely, undeniably, blow-your-mind awesome when turned over to a maestro like Ken Block.
Speaking of Kenny from the Block, the WRC superman, YouTube sensation and baggy fashion impresario is at it again. A while back, he ditched the Subie in favor of a (albeit nowhere near stock) Ford Fiesta, and now he's looking for help from you, err, us, to show it off properly. The DC Shoes Team is prepping for Block's next Gymkhana video, "Gymkhana 3," and they're open to suggestions. Wanna see Ken Block jump a school bus full of frightened orphans? Wanna see him turn doughnuts inside the rim of an active volcano? Hey, maybe he should dodge live mortar rounds while shaving with a straight razor. It's up to you. And the winner gets to go for a ride with Mr. Block. So quit reading about cars and start brainstorming. We want to say that we know the person who wins.
The great irony is, by inspiring an entire generation of hooligans to go find a dirt road and death wish behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta, and thus maybe selling a mega-ton-crap load of 40mpg Fiestas, men like Ken Block could do more for the image of fuel efficiency in this country than men like Elon Musk and his overpriced, battery-powered go-karts ever could. ( Disclaimer: We love the Tesla Roadster. Really.) After the jump has never been so appropriate.