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(Some Guy)   A review of a soon-to-be U.S. production car that's shorter than a golf cart, gets 40 miles to the gallon and is French. Gets rave reviews with the exception it breaks down everytime a VW crosses its path   ( divider line
    More: Cool  
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3276 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 May 2007 at 12:37 PM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

53 Comments     (+0 »)

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2007-05-15 10:31:53 AM  
You see these things--or cars similar to them--all over the EU. Delivery drivers use them a lot.

No American driver will buy one. At least, none that have to commute on roads beside Hummers and Tahoes.
2007-05-15 10:41:11 AM  
I used to love them--great idea. Not for their size, mind you, but for the idea that they were very customizable at the dealership level. Since then, Scion has basically done that, but it was a great idea at inception.

Practically, they're just not economical enough for their small size, and they cost a bloody fortune for what you get. Plus, they have a very rigid frame--in an accident, you have to allow some crumpling, but in a tiny car that would mean intrusion into the cabin. These things "bounce" and transmit most of the accident force to the occupants with predictable results.
2007-05-15 10:42:18 AM  
Aren't those Swiss?
2007-05-15 10:49:38 AM  
Bet they're tough to remove from your radiator grille.
2007-05-15 11:50:26 AM  
These things "bounce" and transmit most of the accident force to the occupants with predictable results.

They just brought out a slightly longer version (20cm) that is expected to get 4 out of 5 stars on European NCAP safety tests
2007-05-15 12:03:16 PM  
saw one the other day here in mid was registered to canada though
2007-05-15 12:16:06 PM  
It's time America got off its fat ass and embraced that squirting foam safety thing from Demolition Man.

But noooo, they go on rants about how Big Squirting Foam has a choke hold on the world's supply of squirting foam.
2007-05-15 12:17:17 PM  
For your roads (I've driven a couple thousand miles on them) and typical vehicles, they are fine in that size. Unfortunately the US--and to a lesser degree, Canada--have a lot more breadth in the sizes of vehicles you encounter regularly. Against a 3-metric-tonne vehicle with its bumper at head level, that's a scary proposition....and that's probably 30% of our non-commercial traffic due to the SUV craze.

I'm still a proponent of proactive safety (ie, good driving), but sometimes you just get t-boned by inattentive people with more vehicle and responsibility than they can handle.
2007-05-15 12:29:31 PM  
2007-05-15 12:29:44 PM  
these are the cutest cars

they will sell millions of them

SUV drivers, beware
think GNATS
you will be swarmed by them
2007-05-15 12:44:27 PM  
I drove one in a promotion for Target a couple years ago. It was really fun, but not really worth $11,000 plus for.
2007-05-15 12:44:44 PM  
Yea, cool. A hideously ugly golf cart that guarantees certain death in an accident.
2007-05-15 12:48:14 PM  
We have these ALL over the place in Vancouver. If I didn't already have a hybrid I'd buy one.

Then again, it would certainly make my upcoming roadtrip slightly more difficult.

/Hope in the back!
/...Oh wait.
2007-05-15 12:50:03 PM  
They've been selling these for a few years in Canada. They're popular with city drivers who run short distances in the car.

Also a dream to park, if I lived downtown it would be my primary car.

Cheap on gas, easier to park, in the city this makes sense. Toronto is about to introduce a surtax on larger cars, cost to park on the street will be 7.00/hr vs 3.50 for standard, and if you want to park over night you also pay double.

In the burbs or country, not so much.
2007-05-15 12:52:06 PM  

My '88 Ford Festiva STILL gets 39 mpg, has plenty of head and leg room, AND a back seat, AND rear storage.

Only cost me $1000.
2007-05-15 12:56:07 PM  
cheap, fuel efficent, semi-safe. Still better then what I have. Nice commuter car but no good for a family.
2007-05-15 12:56:20 PM  
These things are all over in southern Ontario. If you can't wait to buy one, you can just go north of the border. Only catch would be paying Canadian sales taxes and having metric dashboards.
2007-05-15 01:00:54 PM  
I always wanted a car that would fit in the bed of my truck. Now I just need a Mask that shoots lasers..
2007-05-15 01:04:13 PM  
These are horrible for your standard US traffic. SUVs and pickups everywhere with their bumper set high above the Smart's. I've seen pictures of what happens when a Smart hits one of those. Driver cut in half.
2007-05-15 01:04:42 PM  
Doesn't sound particularly fuel-efficient. I would expect far more than 40mpg from such a spartan little vehicle.

Just bought a Honda Fit, which should give me 37mpg, plus all the usual Honda benefits (reliable, fun to drive, comfortable, bags of room, chick-magnet). Well, four out of five ain't bad.
2007-05-15 01:08:15 PM  
My Hyundai Accident gets 39 MPG, and when I fold the read seat down has almost as much cargo capacity as a small pick-up truck. With the seat up, I can haul 4 people semi-comfortably.

Dollars to donuts it will cost more than a bigger Hyundai or Kia, will get about the same mileage, but seat fewer people, haul less cargo, and will fail in the US.
2007-05-15 01:09:23 PM  
sed 's/read seat/rear seat/g'
2007-05-15 01:27:32 PM  
Woody Allen was killed driving one of these in Scoop. But that's probably as much testament to his poor driving skills as the overall safety of the vehicle.

In the meantime, my 1970 Honda CL450 is shorter than a golf cart, gets 50 mpg around town and could run circles around a SmartCar in the standing quarter-mile.
2007-05-15 01:54:36 PM  
I read another article about these things, I forget where, but I believe it stated that the Prius was more efficient. I agree that it's a tad pricey for such a small car. I still kinda sorta want one, but by the time my current ride croaks I am sure there will be quite a selection of rinky dink cars.
2007-05-15 01:54:39 PM  
I think they were doing a promotion of these cars in Boise, I've seen several of them around town with local plates.
2007-05-15 02:02:56 PM  
In a Smart your legs are toast in a head-on accident.The only thing crumpling is the body of the driver.
2007-05-15 02:08:21 PM  
A friend of mine was going to pre-order one (he lives in the Bay Area). I told him he'd be better off with a Prius.
2007-05-15 02:13:08 PM  
Smart Roadster:

[image from too old to be available]

Smart ForFour:

[image from too old to be available]
2007-05-15 02:15:54 PM  
Buddy of mine just got a Yaris for about $13k and gets 38-42mpg on the highway. I don't see how the smart car can compete with that except in cities where its size is a real selling point.
2007-05-15 02:32:35 PM  
If I had 11k I could get my 7y/o one so she can drive it on the sideway
2007-05-15 03:21:09 PM  
namatad: SUV drivers, beware
think GNATS
you will be swarmed by them

How many people have been killed by gnats?
How many gnats have been killed by people?

I don't think it's the SUV drivers that need to beware.
2007-05-15 03:25:16 PM  
Great car!
Terrible price for the size.
2007-05-15 03:34:22 PM  
LemSkroob: Smart Roadster:

That's the one I like

[image from too old to be available]
2007-05-15 03:37:57 PM  
These things are pretty interesting. An 800cc turbo diesel engine. The car is made by Mercedes-Benz and has an unbelievable safety rating.

Still fugly, but meh... if the west wants to beat terror, gotta stop dependence on oil.
2007-05-15 03:39:05 PM  
40MPG??? my understanding is it was closer to 80
2007-05-15 03:43:13 PM  
Meh. Couldn't even fit my hockey stick/bag inside of it. Hell, I don't think I could fit my telescope in it.
2007-05-15 03:44:51 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

Is that a USB port?
2007-05-15 03:51:47 PM  
I'm surprised these get such poor MPG given their size. Only 37 MPG from Marshall, Michigan, to Wilmington, Illinois. There are a number of cars on the road today that will exceed
2007-05-15 03:56:43 PM  
By the time they're tuned to U.S. pollution standards, they get bad mileage.
2007-05-15 03:58:38 PM  
arcas: Not really most motorcycles only get about that. In order to get above the 40s you have to either use more intelligent energy management systems and or use diesel. Sadly this does neither.
2007-05-15 04:05:17 PM  

arcas: Not really most motorcycles only get about that. In order to get above the 40s you have to either use more intelligent energy management systems and or use diesel. Sadly this does neither.


Geo Metro XFi: 58 MPG, introduced in 1990.

What you need are small engines in lightweight, aerodynamic cars.
2007-05-15 04:08:15 PM  

There's plenty of motorcycles that get 50+.

Just a quick one I found:

2007 Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster: 59.7 hwy / 45.0 city

EPA doesn't track them, so it's tough to find numbers. HD posts their's on their website.
2007-05-15 04:09:35 PM  
I should also add that with increasing regulation of both emissions and safety, it would be difficult to duplicate the mileage of the XFi.

Personally, I think cars SHOULDN'T be safe. There should be a 6" dagger blade protruding from the middle of the steering wheel in place of the airbag. You'd have fewer accidents that way.
2007-05-15 04:59:55 PM  
I'd really like a Smart Crossblade:
2007-05-15 05:14:51 PM  
Smart Roadster

I believe not particularly fast or fuel efficient - just designed to look flashy.
2007-05-15 05:33:17 PM  
These still the slowest car Consumer Reports has tested
0-60 20 sec.

I remember a Top Gear video showing how crappy they handle. Couldn't beat a Malaysian car.
2007-05-15 06:10:18 PM  
I'm still waiting for the KTM X-Bow.


Now that's a car I'd be willing to risk my life in.
2007-05-15 06:43:16 PM  
I drove a convertible smart car for a day recently, it was a blast to drive!

[image from too old to be available]
2007-05-15 10:56:57 PM  
Wow, my car(-t) *is* a Golf, can't cross its own path, and it also gets 40mpg.

Suck it, Mercedes.
2007-05-15 11:22:04 PM  
So... they want me to get rid of my current car and pay roughly 4 times as much and get half the car in return? Not happening. The Earth can die a miserable, rotting death, I don't care.

/surprised there's no "It's a (death) TRAP" 'shops.
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