Fully enclosed, heat, defrost, lockable, those attributes it has over a scooter or motorcycle.
Small size, fit three in a parking space, that it has over most automobiles.
For a commuter, specifically in the suburbs and city, it makes good sense.
For highway, or as an only vehicle, not so much sense.
For fuel efficiency, forgo th egasoline version, get the Canadian diesel version, at least 60 is about the worst they get.
the diesel version available in europe get's over 71 mpg combined. (3.3L/100km) petrol's are stuck around 41mpg combined, according to the belgian smart site.
a micro hybrid drive version is available wich basically seems to be a fancy name for auto engine cutof at stops and while rolling slowly, wich brings the fe for the petrols up to 53mpg....
than again my car already has a "manual micro hybrid drive" (on/off buttons... so sure it's a good idea, but nothing to boast about...some opels had this as an option in the 80's but high price and technical issues made this an unpopular option so it was dropped soon)... but it proves the idea is valid, so i hope this will become standard on all cars at some point.
by 2009 a EV version should go into production that's said to be currently tested in london.
also interestingly a footnote disclaimer states "fe figures are for comparion only etc etc... and dependant on tire size"... again.... nothing we don't know, but apparently carmakers are actually aware of this....
the smart is a smart idea and cetainly proves cars can be something different than the average sedan, but i think, especially in europe, there's a broad choise of small city cars that don't take up that much more space than the smart, but can actually seat 4 people or cary something in the trunk when needed, especially when the rear seats folded... and they cost far less than the smart...
i thought the smart roadster was a neat car... looked better also seated two, and was more sportsy... and more aerodynamic...but i think what killed them was they where to uncomfortable to be used as a normal car, and not sportsy enought the compete with real roadsters...
still i like it that the smart is around on the carmarket rather than just an idea on a drawingboard...
The smart fortwo gets poor mpg (for its size) for two reasons: I checked the technical data sheet on smartusa.com
1) Four valves per cylinder full time.
2) Final reduction is 4.529. With the other gear ratios, this little car is at 3400 rpm at 70 mph. There must not be enough power from the 1 liter at 2500 rpm at 70 mph. Premium fuel too? I'm not buying one.
The answer is 'no'. I'm not impressed at all by ANY of the new vehicles that get 40MPG. And I have NO idea why people are clamoring for them.
I just keep saying to these people, in the 80s there were PLENTY of 40MPG cars, or get a 50MPG diesel Rabbit. The reason they're not around now is safety. Now I haven't looked at the figures and such to know how many less people are killed now a days and how much of the less deaths are associated to crumple zones and air bags, etc. But I'd like to see them. I mean the main reason people don't feel 'safe' in these cars now is because of SUVs, WHY does these things called SUVs exist? I live in a rural area and I can understanding wanting AWD but many cars have this now a days there's no reason to drive an aerodynamic brick and danger everyone else because it's too heavy and you can't control it.
On the other hand, I LOVE tiny cars. I'd love a Honda Beat or Mazda Autozam. And I don't think they get much over 40MPG either as an average. I'm not too sure why, probably just too small for proper aerodynamics and the engine is just too under powered for the load.
Like the fact the US gets a 1L with an absurdly low ratio trans, I bet the 1L has enough power to go 70MPH at 2500rpm, but with a higher diff ratio it wouldn't accelerate fast enough for americans.
Lastly, cars can be designed right, I mean 40MPG from a smart car is stupid, 30MPG from a Honda Beat is also kind of stupid, but somehow with all it's safety features and weight my 2002 Lexus ES300 can get 33MPG at 65MPH and THAT impresses me. Yes a Prius gets more than that but 45MPG is NOT impressive. The problem is the drivers. Sure I can get 33MPG in my lexus but I bet most people get 25MPG, they probably go 85MPH instead too. Just like the Prius owners, it's been proven that most people that drive like us on the board here could get 50-60MPG out of them and then they start to look more impressive.
I'm not impressed with a golf cart with 40 mpg because I would expect a vehicle that size to get that much as a minimum. smart is an efficient car mainly because it is small. I think that it would be a much better car if they worked harder to squeeze something like 70+ mpg outta one gallon of fuel. maybe a diesel or something.
Until this moment all that I have known
Is death's attempt at imitating life
And for the first time I am truly alive
-Becoming the Archetype
I agree with theCheese429 small is a way to ease your driving experience but ugly dosent help. It should get at least 70 MPG taking in to acount that it is so light. also 16 years ago the Honda civic VX was getting way better milage than that and it weighed moore.
2006 Jeep Liberty CRD...Founder of L.O.S.T.
OME 2.25" Lift w/ Toyo Open Country HTs 235/75/16s
ASFIR Alum Eng/Tranny/Transfercase/Fuel Skids
2002 Air Box Mod...Air Tabs (5) on Roof...(3)each behind rear windows
Partial Grill Block with Custom Air Scoop and 3" Open Catback Exhaust
Lambretta UNO150cc 4 Stroke Scooter
Ease of urban parking is its main forte. Its gas mileage is a complete disappointment. When I'm cruising at 90mph (the Smart's maximum speed). I'm still getting 48mpg, well above the Smart's highway EPA. And this is in a 16 year old car with 4 seats and 3 to 4 times the interior volume, albeit extreme aero modded. Curious what the Smart's Cd is?