I would like to know your impression of this vehicle. I really, really want one because it is so darn cute!

Cute is about the only thing I can say for it. It’s also easy to park, if that is important. Consumer Reprts will do a test of the US version shortly; the Euro/Canadian version they tested last year was primitive in their opinion, in terms of handling, ride, comfort, and many other categories. One of the lowest rated cars they tested in many years.

Thsi vehicle was jointly developed by Swatch, the throw-away Swiss watch company, and Mercedes, and is built in France. It was designed as an urban runabout that was easy do drive and PARK, the biggest problem in Europe. It was not designed as an economy car.

The US version, with a much larger gasoline engine, will not be economical on gas; there are other econoboxes that do as well with much more space. Since it is a Mercedes, it will have Mercedes priced serve bills, like $100 for an oil change.

If you live in NY City, downtown Boston or San Francisco, this car could have some merit since EASY PARKING is its primary virtue!

Hoever, you should drive one and also the good econoboxes, such as the Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, and Suzuki’s small hatchback. All are much better vehicles.

My main impression is that the fuel economy is surprisingly low. I’m thinking this may be a fatal flaw.

Ask about the AC before you buy !

I test drove one and it was quite nice for a car with such a short wheelbase. The interior is roomy and that’s a big deal for me as I’m 6’1 with a 35 inch inseam. It basically feels bigger than it looks. The fuel economy isn’t that great because I think the engine is actually overtaxed and you wind up flooring it a lot. However, I guarantee in stop and go traffic it will do better than pretty much any car except a Prius. It’s Mitsubishi engine in a car with a simple design in many ways, so repairs won’t be outrageous like a Mercedes. Oh, and forget anything you know about them from the older Smart cars-I saw the original when I was in Italy years ago and they are completely different cars. Good luck getting one though-quite a waiting list in many areas.

Consumer Reports is in the process of testing one, and prior to the full test report, they recently posted some capsule comments. Essentially, this “improved” version of the Smart still suffers from EXTREME lurching every time that the transmission shifts. Also, they said that it struggled to accelerate to highway speeds, although it was able to maintain highway speeds after it reached crusing speed.

As Docnick already noted, the gas mileage is actually not very impressive for something that small, and as CR mentioned in their capsule review, the Smart car (at least the US version) REQUIRES PREMIUM GAS. If fuel economy is what one is stiving for, there are certainly better choices–with fewer compromises–than the Smart.

If you plan to use this car strictly in congested urban conditions, its incredible ease of parking would be a great advantage. However, since you could buy a car like a Hyundai Accent for less $$, and since the Accent would get equal–probably better–gas mileage while allowing you to carry 3 passengers + cargo, I just don’t see the point of the Smart except in solely urban conditions.

Also, you have to consider the poor condition of the pavement in many cities. The tiny tires on the Smart, coupled with large urban potholes, would likely make the car prone to suspension and front end problems–in addition giving it a jarring ride.

Being a very practical person, “cute” just doesn’t do it for me, and this vehicle has so little going for it besides the “cuteness factor”, that I would avoid it.

And the price surprisingly high.

Don’t forget the Honda Fit, which is the best of the small econoboxes.

People keep citing cars that are a perceived better value than the Smart such as a Honda Fit or a Hyundai, but none of those cars are available as a convertible. If anyone can name me a cheaper convertible for sale in the U.S. I’m listening.

Don’t get one…wait for the Toyota IQ if you want to drive a high quality roller skate. The fuel economy of the Smart is disappointing for it’s size. And if you get one plan on not being comfortable on the freeway. Also you will pay a premium for repairs at the Mercedes dealer. The Smart is a half baked under performer. In the mean time, the Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris are superior vehicles.

We have speed bumps on my road, all I’m waiting for is somebody’s smart to do a face plant coming off of one of those. To be honest, save yourself $20 grand, go get a 91 civic or something, way cheaper, and not a hell of a lot bigger. Plus you won’t be the laughing stock of the road.