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Tell me about Micro-Cars

- Updated: 04/04/2011

Anybody that has spent time driving on Spanish roads will know of the Micro-Car, and curse them - especially when stuck behind one whilst driving on a narrow road when your'e in a rush.

Tell me about Micro-Cars

A Micro-car is basically a petrol engined, twin-cylinder featherweight city car that claims an average fuel consumption of 65mpg. On paper the given stats of the Microcar seem attractive and make good sense : It has a low weight, low emissions, low insurance, low running costs ( Only let down by having a Low Performance ). Hell, it's not even classed as a car – it's a quadricycle. Because it Is classed as being under 550 Kgs in weight it is legal to drive one on the roads without having either a UK or Spanish Driving licence.

The Microcar is manufactured by the Groupe Bénéteau, a French based company better known for Manufacturing boats . It started building small cars when France introduced a law that states you don't need a licence to drive certain small cars. They seem to be popular in rural Spain and other places where people basically want a scooter with a roof. For Almond farmers or those needing a little more space, there is a LWB four-seater version available, which is 275mm longer. Or a LWB two-seat version if you're greedy.

Despite annoying most other road users by driving slower than a three-legged tortoise walks - half on and half off the hard shoulder at that - they are an economical mode of transport , and one that is particularly attractive if not having a licence is an issue.

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How Much do they cost ? Around 8'000 Euros

Tell me about the Engine... 505cc 2-cylinder, 21bhp @ 5400rpm

What about the Transmission ? CVT, Front Wheel Drive

Ok, How about Performance ? 12.0sec 0-50mph, 72mph

What's it Made of ? Glass-Fibre and Metal Alloys

How Heavy is it ? 355Kg

What are the Dimensions ? 2855mm Long / 1495mm Wide / 1455mm High

A new EU Directive is due to come into force which states that each EU Member state can deem such vehicle to be driven on the road without the need for a license or not. Technically, you can drive a micro-car on the road in Spain if you hold a UK Provisional License, however, it is recommended that you seek appropraite advice from a micro-car dealer to receive advise that is relevant to you. We are waiting for clarification on this subject and will be posting further details when we have them.

Comment on this Article

 
The Ford Motor Company now make a 1 litre car with a three cylinder engine. It can produce over 100 BHP and return 65 mpg. In Japan the "Kei Class" cars and vans are limited to 660 cc. Honda have however produced a 660 cc three cylinder engine which produces 55 BHP but in England the classic Berkeley B105 used to have 53 BHP from 700 cc in the 1960s! Not much progress then?
Davey Of Cornwall - Fri 21st Feb 2014
your comment on using the spellchecker wouldn't save you in this case. Licence is the noun, and license is the verb! And can someone enlighten me re insurance on scooters. Is it the scooter that gets insured for any driver the owner allows, or is it the rider of the scooter that is insured to drive their own scooter and/or anybody else's scooter that permits them ?
Brianp - Mon 10th Dec 2012
You would still need to obtain insurance, though this is becoming really difficult to obtain. The insurers are nervous about covering people with no driving licence! At the moment the dealers are normally the ones who can provide insurance cover for you.
Mark Woodward ( Ibex Insure ) - Thu 15th Mar 2012
As it doesn't require you to have a licence, do you need insurance ?
Tina - Tue 13th Mar 2012
Er, I actually quite like them. Performance aside, cheap as chips to run, come in a variety of different shapes, styles and wacky colours. The little vans are soooo dinky. Soz for messing with old post!
Yossa - Wed 19th Oct 2011
Hey, nobody is perfect ! - I think i'll leave your comment and my mistakes live as a reminder to myself to use spellchecker more often.
Tumbit - Admin - Tue 30th Nov 2010
Just so that you know (as you seem unsure in the last paragraph) - (to) advise and (to) license are verbs; If you get a licence or ask for advice, they are nouns and are spelt with 'c'.
Alan - Tue 30th Nov 2010
thank you for your help. how would i find out if the spanish authority opts out of this ruleing or allows you to use the said vehicle with out a driving licence
Lorraine - Wed 24th Mar 2010
Guys, I have gone through the EU, Ministry and Manufacturers websites in some detail to try and get a definitive answer. EU Directive 91/439 is current until 2013 and whilst it recognises such Quadricycles as being road legal without a License it does give each EU member state the authority to opt out of this ruling if it so chooses (and this may be the 2007 change to the law you mention). HOWEVER, EU law also dictates that the holder of the license only needs to comply with the laws where the license was issued - So in other words if you have a UK(Provisional )license then you only need to comply with UK law. I have asked the manufacturer to reply directly with their input to this page shortly to shed some more light.
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 24th Mar 2010
I dont know, this is what Im trying to find out
Lee - Wed 24th Mar 2010
Does the theory and practical test still apply to the Aixam 400 ?
Lorraine - Wed 24th Mar 2010
I have just been told by Traffico that you do need to do a theory and practical test for any Micro Car and a Moped now. The law changed in 2007
Lee - Wed 24th Mar 2010
which micro-car can I drive on a provisional licence in Spain? - And can I carry passengers ?
Lorraine - Wed 24th Mar 2010
Lee, there maybe 1 of 2 different things going on here that you may wish to look into... 1) They may be insiting that a "Test" is taken, which could be just a simple safety test to ensure that your mother can use the vehicle safely (NOT a Test to obtain a License) ... 2) The vehicle that you are looking at may have an unladen weight of over 400kg and then is subject to different legislation. - Take a look at the manufacturers website for more info - Aixam.com or microcar.com/es
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 24th Mar 2010
Really? I went to my local driving school called Trafik in Elche and they say a test is now needed for them. So this is false information? So all I do is goto Traffico and get a permit for a scooter and thats it? Thanks for your help
Lee Henderson - Wed 24th Mar 2010
Lee, Yes it is still the case that a license is not required to legally drive a Micro-car in Spain. This is because it is classified as a Motorcycle / Quadricycle for road use purposes and therefore very popular with those who do not have a license.
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 24th Mar 2010
I saw your article on Micro Cars - Is it still the case that a license is not needed ? - My mother wants to buy one just for popping into our local town. Any help much appreciated. Thanks
Lee Henderson - Wed 24th Mar 2010