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Saw a Smart ForTwo

ForTwo Smart CarReturning from Turning Stone Resort & Casino on Sunday, Carey and I saw a Smart "ForTwo" car. It's tiny and looks like a death trap, but it apparently gets about 60 miles to the gallon.

I thought the car cost about $12,000 - and I told Carey that at that price, it'd almost be worth buying for quick trips here and there - but it turns out they're quite a bit more than that and you can't really buy them anyway.

This article mentions a "ForMore" car, a four-passenger SUV-like Smart car called the ForFour. But the darn thing would probably have to cost no more than $25k to sell 30,000 like they hope.

11 Responses to "Saw a Smart ForTwo"

  1. The ForTwo and the ForFour are nice cars. They're maybe deathtraps compared to armour plated SUVs but they're not for the freeway. They're for running around town, picking up "the kid", getting shopping and finding really small parking spaces.

    The ForFour is just a subcompact. they look good though. Nice to have a car designed with economy AND environment in mind.

  2. I don't know - for twelve grand I'd rather have a Hyundai or Kia that can go on the highways. Heck, the Mazda Protege that is my only car (and highly-rated by CR) was only $13.7k when I bought it new four years ago.

  3. The ForTwo is not really a death trap because engineering-wise, it uses some clever tricks to provide the maximum safety for such a small car. They did almost everything possible to leave the passenger cell intact during a crash, and I have already seen crashed Smarts - it's not as dangerous as one would think at first sight. Everything from the dual-floor sandwhich chassis to the small crumple zones they call "crash boxes" and even the wheel of the ForTwo are used to absorb energy in order to ensure that the reinforced safety cell remains intact. The only thing that happens sooner than with other compact cars in an accident is that they rotate more, some fall over if they are hit badly, but Mercedes has done a pretty good job regarding safety (and they are, in fact, the manufacturer).

    The Smart ForFour / ForMore is a co-project with Mitsubishi (it really is a Mitsubishi Colt with a different exterior design. European manufacturers have gotten into the habit of cooperating and reusing as much as they can (just like with the Volkswagen Tuareg / Porsche Cayenne / Audi R7 - it's really the same car with some other parts, engines and a different brand name on it).

  4. Oh no! Ralph, you mentioned the manufacturer! 🙂 I saw one at the Pittsburgh Classic Grand Prix and the people they had there (who worked for a company called Zap who is trying to import them) mentioned that Mercedes was reluctant to introduce them to the US as it might cause harm to their luxury image.

    I think they'll sell fairly well around cities and suburbia, but I don't see myself getting one. I've already picked out something for $12k that is small, gets great gas mileage and is fun to drive.

  5. They're everywhere around here (Montreal, Trois-Riviéres, Québec). We see a lot with company lettering on them. They're pretty fuel efficient for that use.

    I don't see myself getting the groceries though, especially since sitting in one, my seat is backed up to the engine, my feet are right up under the front bumper and my head's stuck in the roof... 😉

    Seen some crash tests and the actual cell was not affected at all.

    The basic version goes for 16700$ Canadian (which is about 14500$USD).

    Now if only Toyota would bring the Scion line-up up north...

  6. Hm, I didn't mean they couldn't be used on a highway...

    but they're designed for city driving.

  7. Hei,

    the FourMore has been canceled as well as the Roadster and the Coupe (they had a few protos of the coupe with a V6 (made out of two smart engines)).

    Smart is currently struggeling a bit, as the do not sell so many cars here in europe.

    Smart once started as a project from that swatch-watches-guy and was ment to produce very revolutionary cars. Then MercedesBenz got cold feet and kicked that swatch-guy out.

    While the ForTwo is still kinda revolutionary, the ForFour is not. It's just a piece of ugly crap.

    Currently DC is thinking about selling the whole smart company, at least the will slim it down.

    @Ralph: While VW and Porsche SUV are nearly the same care, the Q7 is not. Any way... those three cars have two things in commeon. They are ugly and stupid.

  8. I just got back from Italy and these things are all over. They do fly them down the freeway. I have personally had one pass me on the Autostrade and I was doing 160km/h. The forTwo is by far the most often seen Smart car and is also one of the nicest cars on the road in Italy. Better than some old Punta.

  9. @MatzeLoCal: "the same car" and "a different car" is all relative, especially if you only consider the exterior design - and while the Q7 uses the same platform as the Tuareg and provides an optional hybrid powertrain, it shares the same platform.

    From talking to people who work at Audi in Ingolstadt, I gather that we always _think_ a car is "totally different" if it looks different, and these people are pretty proud of their cost-saving platform strategies. You'd be surprised what Volkswagen can do with the Golf platform - there you go, it's the Golf, the A3, the Seat Leon, the Seat Altea, the Volkswagen Touran, the New Beetle, the Jetta, the Skoda Octavia, and it even serves as the basis for the Audi TT - yeah, _that_ Audi TT - just a glorified Golf, a Golf IV to be exact.

    @Aaron: yes, I know - but they still offer the A-Class under their own brand, and have you ever looked inside a first-generation M-Class? Or the current C-Class before the facelift? The "quality" they used for those interiors have nothing in common with the 1981 200 E-Class model that was my first car. It's a shame, really. And even now, you get nicer interior designs from BMW and Audi... Globalize here, save another penny there, and there goes your legendary quality.

  10. I think the main reason they haven't appeared in the US has been the exchange rate with the Euro (at least that was M-B's excuse). They sell the Smarts in Canada out of M-B dealerships and while I know the sales people can sometimes be a bit clumsy selling them, I have seen quite a few on the streets here in Ontario. That said, I don't think I would be taking one of these out a highway.

    Ralph, I think that M-B has had some issues, but their new compact B-class seems pretty solid, like their cars of old. It does incorporate a lot of the safety features of the Smart, like the crash zones and the sandwich floor. Certainly not a luxury model, but a nice balance between space, safety, economy and price, and available in Canada (looking forward to getting one soon!).

  11. Good blog. fortwo sighting is nothing… if you see a brabus thats something to go crazy about 🙂 Check out