Re: Does anyone have a Smart car?
From Consumer Reports:
Despite gasoline prices, smaller doesn’t always mean better
The Smart ForTwo is a long-awaited minicar that's been buzzing around European streets since 1998, where its diminutive size, small-displacement engines, and distinct design have given it
unique appeal. With elevated gasoline prices in the United States, the arrival of the second-generation Smart car is well timed, and initial sales have exceeded company expectations.
Made in France by a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, the new Smart ForTwo arrived Stateside in spring 2008.
We're testing a model called the "Passion Coupe," a two-seater powered by a 71-hp, 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine coupled to an automated manual transmission. The price came to $15,355 including shipping.
Initial impressions. Measuring 40 inches shorter than a Mini Cooper, the Smart ForTwo combines flashy styling and clever packaging, though it disappoints with dynamics and overall value.
Despite its tiny size, the high seating position makes you feel you're sitting in a small SUV. Generous glass, including a see-through roof, gives good visibility and a light, airy feel to the interior. The cabin is narrow, though, so having two people aboard makes for an intimate driving experience, although the seats themselves are comfortable. A very small turning circle makes it possible to pull a U-turn in your driveway.
A car like this should be fun and zippy. Sadly, the Smart is neither. The ride is harsh, and broken urban pavement, this car's natural habitat, pummels occupants mercilessly. The transmission shifts strangely, with pauses and heaves between gears. Handling is not so responsive, and it takes a lot of wheel winding to coax the Smart through corners. The slow, noisy engine makes it necessary to plan ahead when merging into traffic, although once on the highway it can keep up the pace.
Smart ForTwo dash
Fuel consumption is a high point. So far we've been averaging 38 mpg. The EPA rates this Smart at 33 in the city, 41 on the highway. However, the economy Smart requires premium fuel.
Crash test results are quite sound. The Smart scored a Good in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal offset and demanding side-impact crash tests. However, the front test is based on colliding into a car of the same size. That means "Good" if you crash into another Smart. A giant SUV might be another story.
CR's take: Despite its many quirks, the Smart can be rather endearing. But from a strictly practical standpoint, the Smart ForTwo is not so smart. Premium fuel eats up a good part of the savings from its excellent fuel economy. The car seats only two and provides modest cargo space. Although it won't gather a crowd of gawkers, we think a far smarter choice is the Honda Fit (due to be redesigned for 2009). The current Fit costs about the same amount, gets 32 mpg (34 with a stick shift), and has none of the Smart's drawbacks.
The Fit should start arriving this fall. One of my buddys wife has one - and she can literally drive ANY car she wants. She absolutely loves it, and this is the older model.
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Last edited by RonKMiller; Jun 26th, 2008 at 2:45 pm.