Is the Smart car really smart?

November 8th, 2007

29_35_5-smart-car_web.jpgFirst, I’m no car reviewer. I’ve never driven this car, but I have read several articles about it. The gas mileage is good (40 plus mpg). It fits in small spaces. It’s great for congested areas.

And, it’s cute! But, it still uses gas. Less of it, yes, but gas all the same. While this car may be new to Americans, it’s been a favorite in European cities for more than 10 years.

I read several reviews that suggested this is a good second car, but not comfortable for longer trips. Others call it a commuter car. Some complain it doesn’t go very fast and shifts miserably.

It sounds a lot like a lazy bicycle to me.

Here are some places to gather your own facts/opinions about this hottie that will hit the U.S. market next year.

CNN (today)

Consumer Reports Smart ForTwo review (Dec. 06)

Smart USA (Official site)

PS– Thank you for the image.

12 Responses to “Is the Smart car really smart?”

  1. Steve on November 8, 2007 9:33 pm

    The Smart Car is great substiture for all of those gas guzzling ‘Yank Tanks’ – the Smart Car has been in Canada for 2 yrs & has seen positive adoption rates.

  2. Mike on November 8, 2007 10:12 pm

    I drive the Toyota Yaris and get a comined 35 mpg and bought the car for about 14,000. I am looking for a new car and looked at the SMART car. At 11,900 and 40 mpg sounds pretty good, except it requires PREMIUM gas. Why??? Not very “SMART” to me! I think I’ll get another Yaris instead.

  3. Greg Ebert on November 8, 2007 11:00 pm

    Other than perhaps cost, there’s little reason to buy a smart car instead of a Prius. I’m getting close to 50MPG in my 07 Prius, and my family of 4 regularly rides in it, comfortably. On the other hand, you might be able to squeeze 2 adults into a smart car if you’re lucky.

    Then ask yourself this question: what would you rather be riding in when another vehicle slams into you ? A Prius or a smart car ?

  4. Steve on November 8, 2007 11:03 pm

    I bought a Geo Metro in 1992… it got 48-49 mpg consistently. The Smart Car is cute, but the mileage is actually disappointing considering its size.

  5. Mike Gash on November 8, 2007 11:48 pm

    Such a small car and such nominal miles per gallon?
    Come on, there are much better entrys out there which get over 100mpg and are much more fuel efficient and maneuverable, which are deliberately being kept off the U.S. market by U.S. corporate interests for example, the Venture One by Carver:
    with more info at this web site:
    Give U.S. consumers a break and give us a break by not deliberately keeping better entrys off the U.S. market to protect corporate interests.

  6. Sean on November 9, 2007 2:48 am

    This car has been in Canada for awhile. It can handle the cold and snow. Although I agree the Geo Metro has better mileage!

  7. chocmoon on November 9, 2007 4:28 am

    Thanks everyone for stopping by!

    It seems like most of you agree that the size compromise isn’t worth the slightly better mileage you get versus other compact cars.

    Overall, this car may be a good thing for people who live in cities like New York. Where I live, I’m afraid I’d get run down and smashed by a Hummer.

    If you visit the smartcar website you’ll see they’ve given safety a lot of thought, but it is still a very small car after all.

    I will probably test drive it when it comes out just to see if it really drives as poorly as some think. Right now I’m loving my Honda Civic, but I’d like for my next car to not run on all petroleum.

  8. G Wier on November 9, 2007 8:11 pm

    I have heard a lot of comments over the last while, having my Canadian SMART down in Florida
    for the winters. Yes… I DRIVE IT from Canada… 2002 miles from door to door and my little SMART did GREAT. I averaged 74.5 miles per gallon (with my 2006-5 gal diesel fuel tank). So the gasers won’t be quite that high, but I’m thinking close as the SMART I drove from Madrid, Spain to the Mediteranean Coast averaged just over 62miles/gal on the trip with two of us inside. Yes, they’ve made the SMART “bigger” because of the US market. The rest of the world liked them just the way they “were”… small, light, fun and economical. Not a race car, but fun to shift and quick in manual. Face it, when your massive vehicle is filling up at $85 a tank and I buzz in beside you and fill mine up for under $15… who gets the last laugh. And, by the way… I LIKE driving around in a roll cage. Is it a BAD THING to be a careful driver? Perhaps more people should try it from THAT aspect.

  9. Ivan on November 9, 2007 8:58 pm

    Ont he prius vs Smart crash question: I think, honestly the Smart. why? It has a roll cage, and No high voltage system to electrocute you or the safety worker trying to get you out of the vehicle ^_^ (yes a little tounge inc heek, but still my view)

  10. Virginia Lee on November 11, 2007 9:31 pm

    I dunno. I think I’d rather go bio-diesel or electric. There’s a bio-diesel plant at the eastern end of my street, so frankly, when I get another car that’s likely how I’ll go. The trick is finding a car that’s safe enough, big enough, cost-effective enough and green enough.


  11. mike on November 12, 2007 1:53 pm

    ZAP was really the innovator behind bringing the smart car to the usa. They did the marketing plan, paid for initial crash testing..then daimler…did what big companies do..

    see :


  12. dooberheim on November 13, 2007 9:24 pm

    If big cars are the problem, tax them out of existence. Let someone that needs the occasional Suburban or F250 rent one (out of existing stock). This will make accidents between large and small cars less likely.

    Pay attention when you drive. Cars are more dangerous than handguns. No phone, no texting, no iPod to mess with.

    This car should not even have a gas engine. Diesel, or diesel electric only. My Swift got 45-50 mpg 17 years ago and is still going strong. This thing is far smaller, and 500 pounds HEAVIER. Get rid of the crash standards entirely. Driving is dangerous. Deal with it.


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