Smart vs. Mini

Smart Cars are finally cropping up on the streets of New York—I’ve spotted three so far. For all you naysayers (ahem… Marc), I like to think of the Smart Car less as a car, and more as a covered moped. Maybe it’s best to define the Smart Car in terms of what it’s not. It’s not your family car. It seats only two (unlike the mini that can seat four or squeeze five). It’s really meant to drive in the way most Americans drive their vehicles most of the time – solo. It’s also not your sports car. The maximum speed compares more with that of the Vespa, at around 90mph. And lastly, it’s not exactly your “green” car. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit critical here, as it does tout many environmental advantages. I was kind of hoping they’d take the clear lead in this department, though, by leaving the competition in the dust in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions. Maybe Smart 2.0?

The Smart Car is not trying to be all things to all people, and for that, I commend them. I think I need a ride…
Smart Fortwo

The Smart ForTwo is being marketed in the US at three different price points. The Smart Pure, the bare-bones edition, is sold at around $12,000. The Smart Passion is slightly spiffier and costs around $14,000. And the Cabriolet has the same features as the Passion with a convertible top. It starts at around $17,000.

The environmental bonuses include better fuel efficiency, averaging around 36mpg and low carbon emissions. In addition to that, the panels of the car are supposedly fully recyclable. The cars are manufactured in an environmentally sensitive plant (green), and shipped from France (not so green).

One cool claim to fame, is apparently the cars are so small (almost 3.5 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper), that you can park them sideways.

Smart Car Parking

In all, it seems to be a great city / commuter car. Like any other hot item, if you want one, you’ll have to wait. For $100, you can sign up on their wait list. You should have one in just under the brief waiting period two years. Maybe they should rename it Smart InTwo.