Its makers are keen to note that the Microlino is not a car, but a space-saving electric city runabout with cute looks, peppy acceleration and more than enough range for a vehicle of its type. The most remarkable thing about it, though, has to be that it has somehow managed to make a small electric quadricycle from a new company cool and desirable, in a world where established companies have tried in the past but failed.
Most of its visual appeal comes from its design, which is a reinterpretation of the iconic BMW Isetta bubble car of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, it is more or less a modern reinterpretation of that design, complete with the single refrigerator door in the front of the vehicle or the headlights mounted on pods affixed to the sides of the body - in the Microlino’s case the same pods handily house the side rear-view mirrors. Right Rear Hub Assembly
Inside, even a very tall presenter like the Fully Charged Show’s Jack Scarlett can fit, thanks to an adjustable bench that slides back and forth, and a standard fabric sunroof that allows the tallest of occupants to poke their head through for limitless headroom. It also seems fairly well built and designed, especially since it comes from a brand new company with no car-building experience.
The only sign that that may be the case is when Jack notes that the side windows, which can be slid back in order to be opened, actually slide forward when applying the brakes harder. Other than that, though, he finds the Microlino very pleasant to look at and be aboard of, and he even praises it for its big trunk - 230 liters or 8 cubic feet, much more than you would expect to find in something so tiny that is also so accommodating for passengers.
One area we did observe the Microlino diverges from the Isetta formula is in the placement of the steering wheel. In the classic bubble car, the steering column had a universal joint that allowed it to move out of the way when the door was opened. In the Microlino, though, the steering wheel doesn’t move and when entering the vehicle, you first have to sit in the passenger’s seat then scooch over behind the wheel.
Cross Bearing But once you have positioned yourself behind its very sporty looking steering wheel, according to Jack, it’s really pleasant to drive and it is the kind of pleasant vehicle that improves your mood. It’s also a vehicle that draws a lot of attention, as he discovered driving it around Turin, Italy, the city where Micro, the company that builds it, has set up its own manufacturing location.