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Smart Cars in the U.S.

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
linky

Well its about time. I for one think this will be great for larger urban areas where parking and traffic jams are an issue.

Hopefully they can thrive in the U.S. where big SUV's and trucks are the norm.

So, given the option, would anyone here consider buying a Smart Car?
post #2 of 54
I would get a Smart Car the instant that I could afford one. It's so cool that they are coming to the US.
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post #3 of 54
Yes, and not because I live in an urban/city enviro. I live way out in the woods. Here's why it's makes sense:

For those occasions where I actually HAUL people or stuff I have a 91 Mazda King Cab Pickup. This amounts to < 5% of all annual 'trips', and I get about 27 mpg. A person does have to haul a canoe and fishin gear on occasion!

Am retired with no kids or pets. I don't normally to haul much more than a bag of groceries and a 12 pack. The closet retail establishment is a 16 mile round trip. And trust me, it aint a full service WalMart. It's Joe's Country Store, and yea, you can by gas, beer, cigs, bread, milk, and rent a movie, but little else. So if I drive my truck, it costs me $2 to get there to spend $5 on a six-pack. That's a heavy cost.

The nearest town of any size is either 30 miles or 50 miles, round trip. That means $3.50 to $5 per trip. To get to a CITY is a 100 mile round trip. At $2.70 per gallon, going anywhere from a rural enviro is costly.

I might miss a ten-block trip to the store, but wound'nt live in a city if ya paid me.

Paz
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post #4 of 54
How much is a cheap hybrid? It seems a lot more viable than a smart car, with better city fuel economy to boot.

Quote:
Originally posted by rufusswan
Yes, and not because I live in an urban/city enviro. I live way out in the woods. Here's why it's makes sense:

You're going to have to make a lot of trips to make up for the $15k price tag, plus insurance, plus tax. Additionally, the energy cost of building the vehicle itself is much, much more costly to the environment than the added emissions from your truck.

If you want to get a smart car, that's fine, but getting one as a second car is not in-line with any environmental or economic logic.
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post #5 of 54
Splinemodel,

Your points are certainly accurate, but I was not attempting to 'make the case' for the purchase of a SmartCar. {How the hell do you haul a 17' canoe on a 8.33 foot long auto? Very delicately, I suppose!} I did answer YES, but that was a courtesy to the spirit of the thread.

Let me be more specific, and tell you why I posted.

Normally, when folks talk about smaller, more efficient, nimbler autos, they IMMEDIATELY conclude that they would "make sense" to urban users. I can't argue with this, but it seems to me that they don't stop to consider also "make sense" to the rural user.

As I attempted to allude to, the urban driver goes 10 blocks to the QuickTrip. A rural user might go 10 MILES. The urban driver may drive 4 miles to a BestBut/CircuitCity/Walmart,etc. The rural driver may go 30/40/50 miles to find a burg that big. Ya begginin' to see a pattern here?

On a per trip basis, guess who is using the most petrol?

Do you think it is the urban/liberal/pinko/soccer mom who is haulin 8 kids to the local ballfield?

OR,

Is it the lone redneck/conservative/coon-huntin'/chickin fightn'/rural dude headin miles down the road to the fishin hole?

Paz
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post #6 of 54
Hey rufuss, despite the evidence to the contrary, it was nothing personal. I was making an example, and you happened to walk right into it.

I think your point is well made, although I will say that the urban appeal of the smart car is that it's small and nimble, and also that traffic in cities is not fast enough to expose the weaknesses of the smart car, which are top speed and cargo space. In a rural environment, the smart car will almost always be a second vehicle. On pure economics, a vegetable-oil burning diesel would be the best option. I'm not sure how bad they pollute.
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post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Splinemodel
How much is a cheap hybrid? It seems a lot more viable than a smart car, with better city fuel economy to boot.



Most hybrids I've seen are too expensive and not thrifty enough with the fuel. I fail to see why we aren't driving 100mpg vehicles by now. Or at least, people should look towards small 4 seat cars like the Lupo of Deisel Charade.

Me, I'll stick with walking, cycling, buses, trains, scooters and on occasion, private taxis. That combo works out so much cheaper, and just as flexible to me.

Same definitely applies to the Smart Car, but they are lovely.
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post #8 of 54
The Smarts are cool. There are quite a few of them in the city I live in in Japan; I can see two every day, and there is a dealer just down the road. One of my co-workers has one and loves it.

 

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post #9 of 54
I would consider it, but let's face it, it would be more of a fashion statement than a real jab at economy. Even at 50 mpg city, I'd have to drive a lot to make up the extra puchase price over say, and Aveo or a Yaris, of for that matter, for the paid-for Civic I drive now. No to mention the bus that I take to work and shanks mare I use to got to the grocery store.

But if 100 people in LA decide to ditch the Excursion and buy one of these, great.
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post #10 of 54
Ever since I saw them in person all over Rome a year or so ago, I've loved Smart cars. The question is: will Mercedes follow the lead of the Cooper mini and handle it's introduciton to the US in an intelligent manner, or will they apply their usual lame-ass marketing team? Time will tell. For me, they can't get here soon enough.

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post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by belfast-biker
I fail to see why we aren't driving 100mpg vehicles by now.

Because heat engines aren't very efficient by nature, and there are limits to the chemical energy in gasoline. Hybrids are only helpful due to the fact that braking charges the battery. Sometimes I wonder the feasibility of creating a very small Thorium reactor which could be used in things like cars, buses, trains. If it would be possible to encase it into a very stable enclosure, it would make for a very long-life battery.
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post #12 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by rufusswan
Splinemodel,

Your points are certainly accurate, but I was not attempting to 'make the case' for the purchase of a SmartCar. {How the hell do you haul a 17' canoe on a 8.33 foot long auto? Very delicately, I suppose!} I did answer YES, but that was a courtesy to the spirit of the thread.

Let me be more specific, and tell you why I posted.

Normally, when folks talk about smaller, more efficient, nimbler autos, they IMMEDIATELY conclude that they would "make sense" to urban users. I can't argue with this, but it seems to me that they don't stop to consider also "make sense" to the rural user.

As I attempted to allude to, the urban driver goes 10 blocks to the QuickTrip. A rural user might go 10 MILES. The urban driver may drive 4 miles to a BestBut/CircuitCity/Walmart,etc. The rural driver may go 30/40/50 miles to find a burg that big. Ya begginin' to see a pattern here?

On a per trip basis, guess who is using the most petrol?

Do you think it is the urban/liberal/pinko/soccer mom who is haulin 8 kids to the local ballfield?

OR,

Is it the lone redneck/conservative/coon-huntin'/chickin fightn'/rural dude headin miles down the road to the fishin hole?

Paz

LOL

Post of the year! Did nobody else enjoy this bit of comedy

Fellows
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post #13 of 54
We need a pic:

Taken from Paris France October 2005







Some more Paris Pics
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post #14 of 54
well, we are finally moved into ottawa (and out of louisiana), and this thread is of interest because i have seen a TON of smart cars, as well as all of your smaller cars like the yaris, matrix, aveos, etc. (even beetles, so my wife and i have two of the most popular cars in the area -- matrix and beetle -- whereas we were dwarfed by the constant barrage of suburbans, hummers, escalades and the like in our old neck of the woods).

small cars pay for themselves in one area, as far as i am concerned... finding city parking. so many times, a spot between two badly parked cars will go unused because you'd have to be a stunt driver to pull off the parallel, but smaller autos like the ones described above can fit in a friggin' phone booth. the time i waste trying to get into and out of downtown areas quickly for errands is ridiculous when i am in a slightly larger rental car.

heck, i'd even consider a vespa if it wasn't unusable 3-4 months of the year up here (weather).
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Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

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post #15 of 54
Thread Starter 
Fellows,

I like dem 'rimps' on da first car. The second one could use some pimpin'!
post #16 of 54
I'll try to stop by a dealer (in Japan) in the next day or two to take some photos... they have red and green and blue and some colors the original iMac didn't come in... theY's sho iz good loookin'.

http://www.smart-j.com/index2.html

 

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post #17 of 54
The Smart cars are great, we've had them in the UK since they where first released. We now have the fortwo, forfour and roadster, with all models available with Brabus conversions.

Some engine info:

the suprex turbo engine

Complete with turbo charger and air cooler, the 3-cylinder rear-mounted suprex engine weighs in at just 59 kg. Capable of delivering up to 74 bhp (BRABUS), it delivers excellent fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions.

low consumption

When we say low fuel consumption, we mean low. Would you believe, over 49 miles to the gallon (or London to Edinburgh on one tankful)?

low emissions

Our new suprex turbo engines dont just comply with todays stringent emission standards, they already meet tomorrows even tougher standards. In fact our HC, CO and NO emissions are 50% lower than the standards currently required.

electronic accelerator

Inside the accelerator pedal is a piece of electronics called a potentiometer. Put your foot down to accelerate and the engine gets the message faster so you feel the power faster and more directly. Its a little thing learned from grandprix racing.

dual ignition

Every cylinder has two spark plugs for reliable cold starting with low emissions.
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post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by Porkspeare
low consumption

When we say low fuel consumption, we mean low. Would you believe, over 49 miles to the gallon (or London to Edinburgh on one tankful)?[/B]

Pssssh. The guy from Top Gear went from London to Edinburgh and back on one tankful in an Audi Diesel V8. (40mpg)
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post #19 of 54
I've been driving a smart car for the last three years. I use it to putt around Zurich as finding a parking place is a real chore, (you can park on the sidewalk with a Smart). Its not my main car but a defiant welcomed secondary that gets lots of use. I highly recommend one to anyone whos living in a beach community or a compact city like Portland Oregon or Zurich Switzerland.
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post #20 of 54
Those cars are a mere speck on the road next to my Dodge Cummins Diesel Dually MegaCab, I would stay on your side of the road.
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post #21 of 54
There's no way that an average size American could fit into one of those Hot Wheel cars. I'm six three, and couldn't do it. One of the reasons that I don't own a Corvette Z-06 is because of that.

Plus, if a ten speed biker hit you, you'd be toast in that smart car.
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post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by His Dudeness
There's no way that an average size American could fit into one of those Hot Wheel cars. I'm six three, and couldn't do it. One of the reasons that I don't own a Corvette Z-06 is because of that.

Plus, if a ten speed biker hit you, you'd be toast in that smart car.

I have two friends over 6' 3" that own Z06's and they fit in the fine. Plus, when they release the Z06 with super charger next year, I would vasoline myself up and use a shoe horn to get me in that thing!
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post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by His Dudeness
There's no way that an average size American could fit into one of those Hot Wheel cars. I'm six three, and couldn't do it. One of the reasons that I don't own a Corvette Z-06 is because of that.

Plus, if a ten speed biker hit you, you'd be toast in that smart car.

This is a German car, and Germans, I believe, are on average taller than Americans. Not as overwhelmingly fat, but then again that appears to be a uniquely American problem.
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post #24 of 54
i just don't understand people who think the road is some sort of 24/7 monster truck rally, where anyone gives a flying poo how big your respective car is. same thing with morons who have calvin urinating on (insert logo of other generic truck manufacturer that no one other than you really cares about) on their back window. i mean, what the hell?
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

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When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #25 of 54
ah, never mind... (post edited because a post just annoyed me... need to think before i reply)
When you're lovers in a dangerous time,
You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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You're made to feel as if your love's a crime.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.
Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight.

-...
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post #26 of 54
Smart previewed a diesel electric hybrid that gets 2.9L/100KM or about 80-100MPG depending on which gallons you're using. They're both faster/quicker than the current models and more economical...

I wonder if they'll come to the USA
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post #27 of 54
I've been wanting a Smart car for about a year, but in South Florida, the way people drive is likely to kill me. Tough decision...
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post #28 of 54
I just saw a smart car in little 'ol Melbourne, Florida.

It should be called the "small car," for it is extremely small. The pictures don't really illustrate how small it is. Now, more that ever, I hold that a cheap hybrid is a much better value than a smart car for any sort of American driving aside from intra-city transportation in some of the northeastern cities. Of course, in New York you're probably better of using the Subway and in Boston you're better off not driving at all. It would work well in Washington DC, though, as long as you didn't have to use the Beltway.
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post #29 of 54
Saw a smart car here in CT the day after this was first announced (two-three weeks ago?). Remember those from when I was in Germany in '98.
post #30 of 54
Smart cars don't give you the freedom of real cars.. It's nice just being able to be sitting in my apartment in Phoenix on a saturday morning and haul ass to Las Vegas with 4 passengers for a weekend vacation.

Smarts are probably great for cities with high population density, but for the southwest US, I'd have to say no.

Even SUVs get good milage in phoenix because our road system is actually efficient. Amazingly enough, the addition of this "light rail" system (which we supposedly got world-acclaim for choosing) will increase emissions dramatically.

Perhaps better mass transit and more efficient roadways are the key to lower emissions in our 'sprawled' city.

EDIT:
I just realized I made a typo that makes my apartment look like a 4-door sedan... I'm not changing it, either.
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post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailmaster308

So, given the option, would anyone here consider buying a Smart Car?

I would absolutely buy one! They are sooooo cool!
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by His Dudeness

There's no way that an average size American could fit into one of those Hot Wheel cars. I'm six three, and couldn't do it. One of the reasons that I don't own a Corvette Z-06 is because of that.

Plus, if a ten speed biker hit you, you'd be toast in that smart car.


Actually, that's not true. I've spoken to people who have sat in them and they say they have an amazing amount of interior space.

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post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by slughead

Smart cars don't give you the freedom of real cars.. It's nice just being able to be sitting in my apartment in Phoenix on a saturday morning and haul ass to Las Vegas with 4 passengers for a weekend vacation.

Smarts are probably great for cities with high population density, but for the southwest US, I'd have to say no.

Even SUVs get good milage in phoenix because our road system is actually efficient. Amazingly enough, the addition of this "light rail" system (which we supposedly got world-acclaim for choosing) will increase emissions dramatically.

Perhaps better mass transit and more efficient roadways are the key to lower emissions in our 'sprawled' city.

EDIT:
I just realized I made a typo that makes my apartment look like a 4-door sedan... I'm not changing it, either.

This is exactly the kind of resistance the Smart will be facing in it's intro to the American car buyer. These small, efficient cars represent "unsafe at high speeds, sluggish, unable to travel long distance, unable to fit my giant butt in it". It'll be interesting to see how consumers warm up to these cool little vehicles.

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post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by slughead

Even SUVs get good milage in phoenix because our road system is actually efficient. Amazingly enough, the addition of this "light rail" system (which we supposedly got world-acclaim for choosing) will increase emissions dramatically.

Uh.....? But, uh, well....uhhh, what?
post #35 of 54
Smart's seem liberally sprinkled throughout Toronto and surrounding burbs. They seem fine on the highways too, so I don't see why they wouldn't work for long commutes actually.

I do think that anyone looking at a Smart should probably look at a Yaris as well -- if the want a, quote, "real car"

But the fact that the smart is much smaller than a conventional car, is what makes it so interesting a proposition for some. Very easy to park and manouver.

In Canada we see a lot of the cdi versions -- which get very good mileage, but again, not leagues better than a Yaris or Prius...

Keep in mind though, that the drive-train of the Smart is entirely conventional. The next gen engines, possibly available next year, will up the milaegae -- the diesel-electric hybrid looks to be the winner there -- uping both power (esp torque) and range. Will be in the 80-100mpg range.

Smart has axed the forfour -- which was really just a conventional compact with (unsuccessful) smart car styling cues-- and is rumoured to be studying a three seat version for the next evolution of the car.

I wonder how they might lay out the seating in a 'forthree' model?

If the car gets too big, it ceases to be a smart, so it really has to stay within a 2.5 to 3 meter length.

They could seat one sideways behind the driver, who enters passenger side into a full size seat.

They could seat the driver alone up front, like a Mclaren F1 or BMW Z13 microcar concept. The pasengers travel behind you on either side, their footwells on either side of you. Personally, though I think this a departure from the smart philosophy, I'd love to see it. I think that's the ultimate Walter Mitty seating layout -- like being at the controls of a LeMans racer... Maybe that's the way to bring back the smart coupe/roadster?

look here

And finally they could seat two up front and one in the back, centrally. Essentially seating the rear passenger on top of the engine bay, facing forward, but if there's enough length to accomodate one, they could probably just fit two back seats.

Toyota's European design studio fit 4 seats into a concept only 50cm longer than the smart. The Endo,see here
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post #36 of 54
I dunno, I'm saving for one of those insane nought-to-sixty in four seconds electric coupes.
post #37 of 54
Smarts will be a failure in US because they're too expensive and will never be able to compete with the Japanese in terms of practicality and reliability.
post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by skatman

Smarts will be a failure in US because they're too expensive and will never be able to compete with the Japanese in terms of practicality and reliability.

We shall see. Japanese cars aren't as cheap as they used to be. If you want decent, cheap wheels it seems as though the two options are Korean and American. For the price of a smart car, a lot more American or Korean cars can be bought. If you're like me and you put on about 50-60 miles per week, with occasional weekend trips, the Smart would do for the day-to-day stuff, but I'd have to rent a car for any serious driving. So from a financial, practical, and environment perspective, there's not much sense to get a smart car for anyone living in a suburban setting, or even a town setting (like me).

It's too bad Corbin Motors went under, because I would much rather buy a Sparrow than a Smart if I were in that market. I think it's a much better day-to-day vehicle than the Smart is, particularly for the American market where it can be expected that an owner of a Smart (or Sparrow) would also own a normal car. I guess it was just too much, too soon.
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post #39 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel

It's too bad Corbin Motors went under...

I agree, and I applaud the attempt to change the way we think of 'transportation' in America. We are still using the "throw the kids in the wagon and hitch up the team of mules" concept. All we have done since then is chrome it, and replace the mules with cast-iron, aluminum sleeved V-8's. The advent of land yachts.

I goggled Corbin and loved the Merlin. It reminded me of the original really-cool car, the Morgan 3-wheeler, just a little jazzier.

Paz
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem to lightly...it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Thomas Paine
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post #40 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by rufusswan

I agree, and I applaud the attempt to change the way we think of 'transportation' in America. We are still using the "throw the kids in the wagon and hitch up the team of mules" concept. All we have done since then is chrome it, and replace the mules with cast-iron, aluminum sleeved V-8's. The advent of land yachts.

I goggled Corbin and loved the Merlin. It reminded me of the original really-cool car, the Morgan 3-wheeler, just a little jazzier.

Paz

Dude. The Corvette, Camaro, & Trans Am have had aluminum block v8's that get more than 30 mpg and over 320 hp at the wheels since 1997. No one, I am mean no one, has a better cylinder head design than Chevrolet. Quality of their cars is another story.

The problem is that we have failed to get smaller. Reduce weight and gain fuel mileage. Instead, we are freekn waste hogs and we like everything big. Imagine how much material we could have saved by having cars 2/3 the size they are now on average.

Even me, I have a 99 Z28 (400 hp at the wheels/29 mpg) and a dually dodge ram cummins turbo diesel (21 mpg on interstate). Both are pigs 2800 lb. and 8,000 lb. respectively. Not bad mileage for those weights. Just imagine if they were half as heavy. :-) I could really fly at the drag strip. hahaha

The Chineese are about to blow up on this concept of bigger is better crap. Maybe they will get over sooner than we will. Btw, how long can a government censor the web and everything they see? I would have figured it would not have lasted this long. Commie bastards.
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