05. 31. 2006
Other than a Mini Cooper, I haven’t wanted a car as much as I want one of these. I’ve been seeing more and more of these little Smart cars zipping around the streets of Hong Kong lately. They are so tiny and cute that I feel like I could just grab one from its rooftop and push it along in traffic like one of those die-cast model toy cars.
I believe that up until just recently, the Smart cars were only available in Europe and other Asian countries, but I found out that there is now an importer in Santa Rosa, CA called Zap that has started bringing them in.
The Smart cars come in 3 different styles. In Europe, they’re called Fortwo, Forfour, and the Roadster. You can compare them on Smart .
However, they did away with the Roadster in the US, then repackaged and renamed the models as Pure, Pulse, and Passion. All models come in either coupe or cabrio styles. Maybe it’s just me, but I kind of like their original, simple and straightforward names.
Even though these Smart cars are not electric or hybrid vehicles, with gas prices continuing to go up and up with no end in sight, it just seems to make sense to be driving a smaller vehicle that gives you good gas mileage. The Smarts (as they’re called) have recently been promoted to “starlet” status by starring in the blockbuster movie Da Vincci Code with the lovely Audrey Tautou, so perhaps with their newly established celebrity status, more people will see that small is beautiful, instead of going for the big, bigger, biggest designs of SUVs.
However, there are still some controversies surrounding their actual gas mileage. The European version of the car, which is manufactured by Smart, a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, is rated to get 60 miles per gallon. However, in order to meet the U.S. emissions standards, the modified version for the US received an initial Environmental Protection Agency rating of just 37 mpg. The company's internal tests indicated that the modified car should get at least 50 mpg, so it has asked the EPA for a retest. (Via Wired News )
Prices range approximately from USD $12,000 for the cheapest model, to just over USD $20,000 for a convertible.
No matter what you think about the intelligence of these Smart cars, their gas mileage, or their funny looks, one thing is for sure, with one of these, you’ll easily be able to squeeze into that tight parking spot!