Community Lounge, Introductions and General Discussion Discussion, Drove a Smart cabriolet at work, review. in General Discussion; I was so jilted from that little test drive that my subconscious had to make up for that the next ...
I was so jilted from that little test drive that my subconscious had to make up for that the next night. I dreamt that I had just bought a '93 Mustang SVT Cobra. (I've always quietly liked the fox body mustangs)
Smart is a good idea, just not a good execution (and not very smart for the American market).
What the Smart has going for it doesn't outweigh the negatives, in my mind. If it was fun and sporty, you could possibly sell it to that niche, but it's not. The demographic for people looking for a Smart has essentially dried up. Sure, it gets 40 mpg, but so does my coworkers brand new Hyundai Elantra (40 highway) with two extra seats and supposedly more peppiness.
For a smaller country, or even as a second car to zip around the city, the Smart isn't too bad a car. Hell, even Chad's powertrain assessment "slow and gutless" could be overlooked if you used it exclusively for city errands. That's why it was such a, er, hot commodity in Europe. But it doesn't translate well to America - the land of roving highways where the state of California is bigger than the entire country of Japan (not European, I know).
Other than that: Two seats. 40+ mpg. Is there any way to lighten up a Miata?
Yeah, in Europe, these are really popular because of their size in those tiny 1,000 year old towns. Out here in spacious, widespread America, they don't have the need for the tiny Smart car. That's probably why you don't see as many of them as you do other $15,000 econocars.
I have a customer that has one and she said she has to make trips to the gas station more often than her Accord because of the not-so-smart tiny fuel tank and maybe 30 mpg. She also said when a truck passes her she gets blown around in the draft.