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Smart Car death wish

True story.

Drove today (Thanksgiving) from Boston to NY on I-95. In the center lane, doing 70, I was passed by a Smart Car in the left lane doing maybe 75-80.

Its rear license plate said:


Driving a Smart Car in the fast lane on I-95 is probably a good way to get his/her wish. But I hope he/she got home safely and enjoyed some turkey and mashed potatoes first.

That safety cell can only do so much, at that speed in a smart car you are asking for trouble. Particularly around Boston (my aunt moved there many years ago, returning to the west coast for a visit 65mph seemed too slow all of a sudden)

The problem with a smart car is that even if the frame doesn’t buckle in a serious crash, there just isn’t much there to absorb the impact. Having the frame stay intact is important, but airbags and belts can only do so much–you need some crumple zones between you and what you hit (or hits you) to absorb the kinetic energy so you don’t. It doesn’t do much good if the car is mostly intact if the driver is pulp on the inside.

The other problem with such a tiny car is that, if hit with sufficient force, it is likely to travel much further–possibly airborne–from the point of impact before it comes to rest. If that travel path puts it in front of…let’s say…an 18-wheeler…that safety cell will be crushed, along with the people inside.

As an example of what I am talking about, several years ago, I was a passenger in my friend’s 2003 Accord sedan–a decently mid-sized car. While we were attempting to exit from a gas station, some crazed woman in a Lexus SUV careened off the highway, barreled onto the gas station property, and hit us more or less broadside.

Even though we were about 10 feet from the roadway at the time of impact, our car spun around and wound up partially in the right lane of US-1. I am convinced that, if we had been in a so-called Smart car, instead of spinning around and being pushed about 15 feet, we would have become airborne and wound up much further away–very possibly in the left lane of the roadway, or even over the divider into the opposing lanes.

Statistically speaking, that driver was probably safer on the freeway in the fast lane going 80 than he would be on a undivided highway going slower.

Like every car sold in the U.S., the Smart had to be crashworthy, but nothing can overcome the laws of physics. It has no chance against almost anything else on the road…including fixed objects.

As to the specific car mentioned; Smart car, not-so-smart driver!

I once saw a video of a staged smart car crash. I think it was for NHTSA or something like that

The front deformed somewhat, but here’s where it got interesting.

The powertrain was pushed down, so that it didn’t really intrude into the cabin

The car didn’t flatten into a pancake

The car bounced back, like it was made of rubber

That said, I still wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those things

The newer smart cars look like they are smiling,but what really gets me,is the fact that the mileage isnt better then it is.But that aside the little critters are easy to park,I would not want to be in a collision with something else while driving one,the sudden stop or reversal of direction would really be dramatic.
Do they make an electric version of this car? Seriously,dont think I would drive one on interstate,{just my 2 pennies}-Kevin

To me, both the mileage and the PRICE are both way out of line.

I think I remember reading that there was an EV version of this available in some parts of Europe. Not sure.

I seen a SMRT car yesterday as well, the oddest thing about it, to me, was that it had Alaskan plates on it.
One would think that Alaska would be a worse environment than the freeway for one of those things.

The very thought or hitting ice in one of those things gives me the willies. With a wheelbase that short, those things must spin as easy as a golf ball!

They also require premium fuel.

I feel for that Alaskan guy with the smart car. His neighbors that drive 4x4 trucks must be giving him grief every day.

Perhaps @bscar2 saw him, because they kicked all smart car drivers out of Alaska


This post is an update on a post about Smart cars that I mentioned a while back. A local insurance company bought a small fleet of Smart cars for their sales people and adjusters. When they finally hit the streets the people that had to drive them found out that they were lacking in safety and some other areas. When several of them had been damaged in accidents a local newspaper got wind of it and an article was published. I had the chance to go down to that insurance office the other day and I noticed a pristine Smart car parked right out in front with the insurance company logo plainly visible. When I asked the lady at the counter how it survived…she replied that it was owned by the company’s owner and he never drove it. In fact, she said that he never even knew where the keys were and didn’t care to know.

And I see the super short wheel base as a potential problem in a high speed manuever such as a blowout swerve or obstacle avoidence.
At 80 mph in one of those…just imagine.

Even if it could tumble end over end like a beach ball and stay intact…would you want to take that ride ?

The SmartCar was basicall designed as a big city commuter car for Europe; not necessarily an economy car. It is easy to park in Paris, London and other old cities with narrow streets and parking at a premium. The Ford Ka, not available here is a small hatchback with the backsesat cut out and is similar in size.

Why environmentalists buy this vehicle is beyond we; a stripped Hyundai Accent gets better mileage on regular gas and is far more useful. The brother of one of my wife’s friends, who lives on the wide open prairie, has one (a Smartcar), and 300 miles in this thing is pure punishment. This guy’s other vehicle is a Harley so go figure.

Basically, it’s an urban golf cart. The shape is great for parking in small spaces. It’s an awful shape if a low coefficient of drag is your goal. If you want low drag, look at the first generation Honda Insights. At 60 mph, they probably need less power to maintain cruising speed than most motorcycles do.
The SmartCar is a billboard going through the air broadside.

Seen a Youtube video on the Smartcar once it was pretty funny,I dont know if it had been modified in any way,but the Driver had that thing all over the place and was able to maintain control,the Driver was doing " Fronties" and all kinds of stunts-Kevin

There’s a Youtube video entitled “Mercedes S-Class vs. Smart”. Watch that and determine which one any sane person would want to be in during a collision… :slight_smile:

Physics 101 was right: F = MxA, or A = F/M. If M (mass) is small, than A (acceleration) is large for a given F (impact). And big ‘A’ is very BAD for one’s body.