Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
"Smart" Car For Two? Maybe not...
Old 06-28-2008, 04:25 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,069
"Smart" Car For Two? Maybe not...

I've seen lots of discussions of late on small, fuel efficient cars. Consumer Reports just published a mini-review of the new Smart For Two, the Daimler-Benz mini-car CR describes as "an ostrich egg on wheels".

Pluses:
+ Lots of glass provides good driver visibility
+ High seating position and good interior design gives the feel of a small SUV
+ Extremely short turning radius allows a U-turn in a typical driveway
+ Scored a 'Good' in frontal and side impact tests
+ Real world tests averaged 38 mpg.

Minuses:
- Cabin is narrow and makes for 'an intimate driving experience' for two occupants
- Ride is 'horrendous' and driving on choppy urban streets 'pummels occupants mercilessly'
- 'Handling is not very responsive and it takes a lot of wheel winding to coax the car through corners'.
- The engine is 'slow, noisy' and takes premium fuel
- The auto transmission 'shifts in an uncomfortable way, with pauses and heaves between gears'.

Bottom line: "A car like this should be fun and zippy. Sadly, the Smart is neither".
__________________

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-28-2008, 04:48 PM   #2
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
When a vehicle offers such a bad ride and isn't THAT much cheaper or more efficient than many of today's conventional econoboxes... what's the point of it?

A vehicle like this needs to either be MUCH cheaper or get MUCH better MPG than a more conventional small car of today, or else there's really no niche for it to fill.

38 MPG? My wife's '06 Civic gets that on the highway when we slow down to 60. Color me unimpressed.
__________________

__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 04:58 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
When a vehicle offers such a bad ride and isn't THAT much cheaper or more efficient than many of today's conventional econoboxes... what's the point of it?

A vehicle like this needs to either be MUCH cheaper or get MUCH better MPG than a more conventional small car of today, or else there's really no niche for it to fill.

38 MPG? My wife's '06 Civic gets that on the highway when we slow down to 60. Color me unimpressed.
With a MSRP of $15,355 I'd say there are better options. In an obvious play on words, CR suggests the Honda Fit as "a more intelligent choice".
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 05:11 PM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
I've been scratching my head wondering about this car myself. The more I see half baked ideas like this the more I am impressed with the engineers at Honda who made the Civic.

Lets see if the Volt lives up to the hype. It's well known most trips are short and close to home, a car that's all electric for trips under 40 miles is the best avenue IMHO.
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 05:47 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 212
I never understood the appeal of the Smart car, besides the ability to park 90 degrees to the curb (yes, the car is that short). It gets horrible mileage for a car that size - about the same as a Civic, Fit, or Yaris - and much worse than the Volkswagen TDI's. It doesn't carry much in the way of cargo or passengers. It's not a lot cheaper. And I shudder to think of the outcome of an accident in one of those.

There are bigger, safer, AND more efficient cars for about the same (or a little more) money. Still, the Smart car gets frequent mention in the press and a lot of praise for being so "green." I guess a lot of people think that because it's tiny, it must be efficient.

Yeah, I don't get it either.
__________________
SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 05:51 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ladelfina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,713
My niece in Italy has a Smart and loves it. For a while she even transported a cane corso in it!

The conditions that make it desireable are less common in the US: severe congestion and parking issues in larger cities, and the need for super-low consumption. There aren't really any other cars that are as small (that aren't modified lawnmowers), and while it's approved for highway use (unlike the modified lawnmowers) it's meant to be a CITY car, not a touring car. It does have the extra price of the marketing and Mercedes/Swatch overlaid.. it is "Swatch Mercedes ART" after all!

The Italian version gets more than 38 mpg: the diesel version gets 71 mpg, and the cheapest gasoline version here gets 50 mpg in mixed driving. Probably something was done to it on the US import end that reduced the mileage.

And if you saw the parking situation in Rome or Milan, you might well pay a premium for a car that you can literally fit head-on toward the curb into a half-space. It may be a "head-scratcher" for someone who lives in TX or CA (even I was stunned by the size of parking spaces in LA: sis said no one knew how to parallel park so the spaces had to be XXXXL) but it makes sense in its home market.

What I see around Rome in the (now) rich areas we frequent (due to family ) is that the Mini has overtaken the Smart as the "must have" car.. probably seems like less of a sacrifice.

Cheapest Smart = €9700 = $15.3k USD
Cheapest mini = €17k = $26.7k USD
Listino - Auto nuove - Quattroruote

Maybe this car will whet your appetite!
Who said US car companies aren't on the right track?

Quote:
The new version of Chrysler's most popular vehicle comes with satellite TV, a carlike ride and a bin in the cargo box for hauling 10 cases of beer. It's set to go on sale in September, not the best time for a pickup that gets about 15 mpg in city driving and can cost more than $40,000.
Bloomberg.com: Exclusive

Even if the Smart is not a US success, who is the "smart" one, generally?
__________________
ladelfina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 06:10 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,014
I first saw "smart" cars in Paris in 1992. The attraction then was parking in front of one's favourite salon or bistro.

Consider the result of an altercation between a smart car and an SUV: une personne pressée.....
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 06:12 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
ladelfina, I guess I'm missing your point. The car is a success half way around the world due to parking and congestion issues, that's great. But it's still a head scratcher to see why they would import it here! Should someone buy this car instead of a cheaper, larger, more fuel efficient car because it's a good deal in Italy when compared to a mini-cooper?

BTW, I didn't see anyone mention buying a big truck on this thread so I don't understand why you are posting the link to Chrysler's latest offering.

__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 06:31 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ladelfina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,713
as to importing it into the US at this point, laurencewill, I agree.

But I caught the tone as being incomprehensive of the vehicle itself.
Quote:
The more I see half baked ideas like this the more I am impressed with the engineers at Honda who made the Civic.
The Smart IDEA to begin with is not "half-baked". The Civic at this point in time may well be a more appetizing car to the US market, of that I've no doubt. Two different standards currently, that's all.

The reason I posted the new pickup link is to show how US car companies still haven't grasped what is happening all around them at this late date, although they've had plenty of notice. I know that's not entirely the topic, but it's just to offset the "Smart-as-half-baked-idea".. to show there are ideas that are far less than half-baked!!

If the US Smart got 71 mpg, then I think there would be a better market for it, don't you?
__________________
ladelfina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 07:33 PM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
I would agree, definitely. I just thought the Civic with the same gas mileage, better cargo and passenger space, better ride etc. is getting ignored while everyone is falling all over themselves for this smart car.
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 07:47 AM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 282
I think something about the Smart was lost in translation to American standards. They must have had to add safety features that make it get worse gas mileage, and are just hoping the trendiness will make it sell here.

I agree that as it is, it doesn't make any sense in our market.
__________________
igsoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 08:15 AM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,961
Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Minuses:
- The engine is 'slow, noisy' and takes premium fuel
Didn't know that, why on earth?
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 08:16 AM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
saluki9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by laurencewill View Post
I would agree, definitely. I just thought the Civic with the same gas mileage, better cargo and passenger space, better ride etc. is getting ignored while everyone is falling all over themselves for this smart car.
Also, don't forget that unlike the smart car the Civic doesn't look like a shoe with wheels.
__________________
saluki9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 08:24 AM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
stargazer08's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 164
With the price of gas and less people buying premium I'm fairly certain that this grade of fuel will eventually be phased out.

Do European cars have strict pollution control devices? Maybe that is the cause of poor mileage for US bound Smart cars.

If I were in charge everyone would ride horses instead of driving cars.
__________________
There is a fine line between a hobby and mental illness.
stargazer08 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 08:25 AM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
UncleHoney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Columbus
Posts: 769
In the past month I've seen 5 different Smart Cars driving around my local area. The first one was pulling into the grocery store parking lot and it drew a crowd in seconds after parking.

For the most part I think it's the cuteness that is the major drawing card, followed by the apparent economy. If you've been driving something that only gets 12-15 mpg, 35+ mpg is going to be a windfall. For some families in my neighborhood the Smart Car would solve the driveway parking problem. With 4 kids and about 6 cars it's a real zoo sometimes.

Not many Americans buy practical vehicles that only fill their actual needs. It's the arms race on wheels that had been the American way for the last hundred years.

Just waiting to see the first Smart Car tricked out with oversized tires, chromed wheels, maybe tinted windows and just for fun let's pop a V8 under the hood.
__________________
100% retired and working hard at it.
UncleHoney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 08:28 AM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
UncleHoney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Columbus
Posts: 769
Quote:
Originally Posted by stargazer08 View Post

If I were in charge everyone would ride horses instead of driving cars.
Then we would have a "roadapple" problem instead of a CO2 problem.
__________________
100% retired and working hard at it.
UncleHoney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 09:55 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
As I understand, it was the removal of a deisel option and the addition of some other pollution reducing/monitoring equipment.
I far prefer the more spacious Prius at 44/53mpg (winter/summer) than either the Smart car or Civic.
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 10:39 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,194
I saw my first smart car yesterday. Parked next to my roomier, cheaper, 44 MPG Echo.
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 11:02 AM   #19
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,494
Quote:
Originally Posted by stargazer08 View Post
If I were in charge everyone would ride horses instead of driving cars.
In NYC the arrival of the automobile was hailed as a cure for the problem of cleaning up after the horses and what to do with all that manure.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 11:13 AM   #20
Full time employment: Posting here.
UncleHoney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Columbus
Posts: 769
I knew it wouldn't be long.

transportTrends - Smart Forfun Monster Truck

__________________

__________________
100% retired and working hard at it.
UncleHoney is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Smart Partitioning TromboneAl Other topics 13 11-18-2006 05:42 PM
Smart or Lucky? Leonidas Hi, I am... 9 05-12-2006 04:56 PM
Think You're Smart? REWahoo Other topics 5 01-25-2006 05:45 PM
Car question for smart people Arin38 Other topics 11 11-15-2005 11:33 PM
Financing a car/car buying advice usc_et Young Dreamers 14 11-01-2005 11:59 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:22 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.