I am very interested in saving money at the gas pump and I am in the market for a new car. So why would I want to buy a Smartcar? From all reports actual gas mileage isn’t much over 30mpg. Why would I buy a Smartcar when I could buy a Honda Fit or even a Civic, or a Corolla and get almost the same mileage?? Even the tiny Fit is much larger than the Smart. What gives?? I wouldn’t buy a car as small as the Smart unless it got at least 60mpg.
People buy them because they like tiny, unique vehicles. You’re right, for the money one can get a lot more car with even better gas mileage. The mileage on my 2005 Corolla was an honest 38 mpg.
The mileage on Wifey’s '89 Toyota All-Trac wagon w/ 236,000 miles is still at 29 MPG, combined short trips and highway speeds of around 50-65 MPH. Honest! It’s a 5-speed manual tranny and very well maintained (by me, of course). So why get all scrunched up in one of those little toys for less than 30 MPG? Find something that gets 25-30 MPG combined and go for it. The determining factor here, I suspect, is reliability and cost.
The main appeal of the Smart Car, built in France, is the ease of driving and PARKING in the European cities. I spent 6 weeks in Paris and marvelled at these short cars (Ford builds the Ka, a car with no backseat) running all over the city and parked anywhere there’s a hole. A great car for New York City or Boston.
If you want to save money, buy a 2 or 3 year old Hyundai Accent with a stick shift or similar used econobox. The mileage is great, reapirs & maintenance cheap, and very little depreciation, since you bought it for less than half the price of a Smart car.
Exactly, it’s for a different market. The smart car is aimed at customers who want decent mileage/emissions but don’t want to drive a generic econo-box, not customers who are looking for cheap transportation.
As was said, the Smart car does not get gas mileage as good as some larger cars that seat 4 or 5 people. And, the reliability of it is an unknown. As I see it, the only real advantage that the Smart car has is the ability to park it in extremely small urban parking spaces, and that is precisely what has made it popular in Europe.
So, I guess that an urban dweller who feels that he must have a car might see this as a viable vehicle for his circumstances. I don’t see it that way, but I am not an urban dweller. But, then again, as gas prices continue to rise, isn’t it likely that more city residents will realize that they don’t really need a car?
Based on that theory, it is very possible that the Smart will not sell anywhere near as many units in the US as they projected. After all, if its only competive advantage is the ability to park it in very small parking spaces, isn’t this a very small, self-limiting market segment?
I just don’t understand why a car that small can’t get 50+mpg. 20 years ago there were a few cars that got over 40mpg that were larger than the Smart. It just seems so silly to me.
My understand is that the actual mileage is closer to 40 to 30 mpg, but it’s not really about the actual mileage; it’s just a different type of toy.
What reports? EPA lists Smart as 33/41. Fit is 28/34, Civic is 25/36, Focus is 24/35.
Actual experienced mileage. For instance read Car and Drivers review, they experienced 30mpg.
Part of the mileage problem on the smart is a rare case of an engine being underpowered and overworked. Most of the time you’re practically full throttle in the thing to maintain a pace you’re used to. I’d bet $100 that in stop and go traffic where you’re crawling at 5mph that little smart and its 1.0 litre engine will do better than practically anything for mileage. Once things gets moving and you’re doing the traffic-light-to-traffic-light flooring it thing-forget it.
In the last couple of days I have already seen two of them on the road.
These guys always get rotten mileage. They mash the throttle to the floor; do not drive normally. Driving normally and then writing about it does not sell magazines; too boring.
When Motor Trend I believe it was, tested the Smart in the Oklahoma panhandle a few years ago the best they could do on mileage was about 37. The panhandle is several hundred miles of flat nothingness with few towns so it was all pretty much open range as their test area.
The poor mileage could probably be attributed to the anemic engine which is causing the transmission to constantly shift up and down. They stated that every little rise in the terrain would cause the 6 speed automatic to start searching all over for an optimum place to operate in.
Well I drive a VW New Beetle diesel. I get over 40 mpg (I have never gotten less than 40 and on the highway I get about 60. The cars are available. However if most people were to drive my car, they would not get that mileage. If I drive more aggressively I don’t do as well. Every car I have ever owned got better than EPA (or prior to that the manufacturer’s estimated) mileage.
The real interesting point that so many people reference is along the lines of "you can get a larger car … " It appears that the assumption is always that everyone should or does want a larger car. I like small cars. Every car I have owned in over 40 years has been a small to very small. I much prefer them. I understand that some people like larger cars for various reasons, but many people prefer the smaller car. My experience is that in the US large is the thing, in Europe, people prefer the smaller cars.
Another point to keep in mind is the current mileage figures have been computed using a different, more accurate, formula.
It seems you are saying the same thing so many people say. “I want a big car.” Why? Do you really need a big car? I find small cars more fun to drive, easier to park, and I get more room in my garage. I once had three cars in my two car garage (a Sunbeam Imp, a VW Beetle and a VW Rabbit.)
I think a better explanation for this car’s mediocre gas mileage is in its aerodynamics. This car has the same frontal area of a regular sedan and the back is square, almost like driving a small billboard down the highway. Seen any birds, sharks, or dolphins shaped like that lately? If you want excellent highway gas mileage, cars are going to have to start looking like wingless airplane fuselages with fully faired wheels.
A Civic is not a big car.
The Civic sedan has become much bigger in the past couple of years. Compared to a Smart Car, the Civic is like a limousine!
My '89 Accord with over 455,000 miles still gets about 30 mpg. A lot has to do with driving habits, tune-ups, tire pressure, where you drive. I also think that my Accord is “broken-in” to the point that it rolls a lot better than a newer car . . . it will coast downhill a lot better than my '05 RX-8. I think that the SmartCar would be a good choice for urban parking and small street navigation. Rocketman