.smart car

I recently saw a Smart car on the freeway and have been researching it. It is much cuter than a Prius. Besides it being small is there any reason mechanical or somewhat logical that makes it not a good choice for a second car? I commute six miles on city streets and have a 1994 Volvo station wagon for dump runs etc.

The smart car is great in city traffic. That’s why it is so popular in Europe. It’s easy to park in the smallest space. However, it’s not really an economy car, aside from being easy on gas. Maintenance is expensive (don’t forget, it’s a Mercedes/Smart Watch joint venture), reliability unproven, and I would not venture on a high speed freeway with it.

If I really wanted to save money I would buy a Hyundai Accent hatchback selling for $4000 less, it has lots of room for groceries, a backseat, and is more stable on the highway.

I agree 100% with Docnick.

Unless your major criterion is being able to parallel park in the tiniest urban spaces, the Smart car has no real advantage over much lower-priced cars that also come with much more room for people and cargo.

It’s fine for city driving, but don’t take it out for high speed drives. It just is not powered for that. If you want to save gas money, consider a Honda Civic Hybrid. It gets 40 City and 46 highway compared to the Smart fortwo’s 33/41. The Yaris is the best rated nonhybrid at 29/35. The Civic lists for $22,600, the Yaris S for $14,650, and the fortwo passion starts at $13,490. Note that the fortwo does not have a fully automatic transmission.

IMO there are too many compromises made with the Smart, there are many other cars that are cheaper, get equal or better fuel mileage, are more comfortable, handle better, accelerate better, and won’t cost as much to repair.

Every review that I have read has commented on the extreme “lurching” of the transmission as it upshifts and downshifts. In this day and age, that is just not acceptable to me.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy a smart just for the mileage, unless you really like it as a toy. I also wouldn’t touch a Prius without a very extensive test drive (I was riding around in a rented one a few weeks ago and was very unimpressed). From a cost point of view you are probably better off keeping what you have because of the very low miles you drive, it will take a very long time for any car to pay for itself in fuel savings. If you do want something more efficient, consider a low priced used conventional economy car.

Also consider the insurance premiums that you’ll be charged. After you’ve researched and hopefully looked at a few of your “possibles”, write down the ‘extras’ that are on/in each vehicle. Call your Ins. agent for quotes for ins. on each vehicle. As others have said, it’s not just the fuel economy. That specific make and model might be “cute” to you, but that has very little bearing on all of the other costs associated with any vehicle. Do some comparable shopping. You might be surprised at the savings that you realize between makes and models. You might want to check with consumerreports.com for reliability ratings, also. And if you’re only going 6 miles/day, I’d take it out for a ride until the engine reaches full operational temperature. During your weekly trip, turn on the A.C., too. It gets the A.C. oil circulating and helps keep valves and seals lubricated.

I do not think buying a Smart is a good idea. You can get a larger car, that gets as good gas mileage, is safer and has time tested reliability for the same cash. Yaris and Fit come to mind, and for only a few fewer mpg, Corolla/Matrix/Vibe or a Civic are options. The Smart is a joke IMHO.

Even Consumer Reports says it’s a dog and one of the worst cars they have tested in recent memory, although they don’t say it is dangerous!

Agree…it’s a struggle to come up with a reason not to buy a used something else instead…and be much safer with similar economy. Wait awhile.

SMART is a contraction of Swatch-Mercedes-Auto and a few other French-German words. Yes, this is a car conceived by a throw-away watch company!! They don’t build or design cars in Switserland, so it’s a German design built in France. In Canada it’s sold and serviced through Mercedes dealers who include it in the CAFE fleet average calculations, allowing Mercedes to sell more big cars without getting penalized. Smart servcie is Mercedes priced with $100 for an oil change. As pointed out by others, this is NOT AN ECONOMY CAR.

Suitable mainly for the well-heeled Shriner.


The most logical reason not to get a Smart is that you can buy a bigger, more common, car for less money that gets about the same mileage. The Smart is way overpriced in the US. If you buy one, just admit to yourself that the reason is more style than practicality and you’ll be fine. Yes, they are kind of cool looking, and I’ve seen them slicing and dicing on the Italian Autostrada, but in Europe they cost about 1/3 less than here.

If you buy one, just admit to yourself that the reason is more style than practicality and you’ll be fine.

Sorta like most people who buy hybrids.

Actually true for a lot of cars. Corvettes come to mind . . .

Go to Canada and buy one. They get 88 mpg there. I don’t understand why they are made differently and get crap milage in the US. Is this from the DaVinci code? Marketing only? There is no reason to buy a smart car that is sold in the US. The europe models are different.

I almost bought one but cancelled out because:

  1. I didn’t like the way the transmission shifted. When I was a kid my father had a Case farm tractor that I could shift easier and it was pre-syncromesh, maybe even Paleolithic. 2) There is only one dealer in Georgia, an hour away through bad traffic. 3) The body panels reminded me of a friend’s story about a little German Lloyd he owned in the early 60’s. It offended him in some way and he punched the dashboard. He punched through the dashboard. At least that’s what he told me. He was a big guy and I didn’t have reason to not believe him.

Last year Consumer Reports tested a Canadian (also Europen) version, and concluded that this car, with a tiny diesel engine would be totally unacceptable to Americans used to lots of power. The company apparently had the same idea, and made it a souped up “economy car” for the US market, with a gas engine.

If I lived downtown Boston or San Francisco, I might be empted to own one. In the West, it’s a joke, although I don’t tell my dentist that; he just bought one.