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Smart Car Coming To the US In Jan. 2008

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the noisier-than-a-hybrid dept.

Toys 575

Blahbooboo3 writes "After many delays and missed promises, the Smart Car is finally coming to the US in January 2008. Smart Car uses a specially designed crash cage to protect the driver and gets upwards of 40 miles per gallon. Crash tests are very positive. The car is deceptively large inside, as showcased by this great ad from the Smart USA site. The second-generation Fortwo will be offered first, starting around $14,000. Unfortunately the slick roadster isn't coming any time soon."

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575 comments

Rather get one of the scion models or even a yaris (2, Insightful)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533491)

For some reason when I look at the price all I think is that there are better cars for that price. Why would I buy one of those when I can get a yaris or scion that gets the same milage?

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (3, Informative)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533525)

Firstly, you can change the bodywork easily for different designs. Secondly it's a Mercedes, Thirdly it can park in small spaces in cities which other cars can't.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533681)

Yeah, being able to park nose in between two parallel parked cars on the street would be great for cities. But what the crash test video didn't show was what happens when you get hit by someone in a big SUV. The biggest selling point of the big cars these days is still safety for the people inside. Soccer mom don't give a shit about gas milage when it comes to protecting their babies.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533723)

Soccer mom don't give a shit about gas milage when it comes to protecting their babies.

That's okay; the Smart Fortwo only seats two people anyway (hence the name), so it can't carry soccor moms' "babies!"

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533867)

No no no, I didn't mean that the soccer moms would be driving the Fortwo, but that the Fortwo would have to contend with giant SUVs. And do not doubt SUVs are killers.

For every one life saved by driving an SUV, five others will be taken. Government researchers have found that a behemoth like the four-ton Chevy Tahoe kills 122 people for every 1 million models on the road; by comparison, the Honda Accord only kills 21. Injuries in SUV-related accidents are likewise more severe.Part of the reason for the high kill rate is that cars offer very little protection against an SUV hitting them from the side -- not because of the weight, but because of the design. When a car is hit from the side by another car, the victim is 6.6 times as likely to die as the aggressor. But if the aggressor is an SUV, the car driver's relative chance of dying rises to 30 to 1, because the hood of an SUV is so high off the ground. Rather than hitting the reinforced doors of a car with its bumper, an SUV will slam into more vulnerable areas and strike a car driver in the head or chest, where injuries are more life-threatening.
http://www.alternet.org/story/14839/?page=2 [alternet.org]

Just look at Fortwo, taller than it is wide, and figure out what happens when someone runs a red light.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533933)

Just look at Fortwo, taller than it is wide...

Well, considering that, you'd think it'd be safer than other small cars in side impacts, because the door reinforcements are higher off the ground. Also, because it's so short, the side impact actually hits the A and B pillars, the front and back wheels (at the same time!), etc -- the stuff that's rather more solid than the doors.

In a side-impact crash, I would expect the Smart to be more likely to roll and get less smashed-in, meaning that the occupants would be at greater risk for whiplash but less risk for entrapment or getting crushed.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (3, Funny)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534027)

That chance that it gets hit is only half as large as with a regular car!

Bert

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (-1, Flamebait)

Sitnalta (1051230) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533799)

Secondly it's a Mercedes Mercedes are cock-mobiles for alpha monkeys who have lots of money to spend on repair bills. And the smart car? 40MPG? That sucks. There are cars you can buy in the US that are three times its size that get better MPG... and you won't get laughed at in them either.

Mercedes - not so good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534061)

Check out the Consumers Union car reports. Check out LemonAid. http://www.lemonaidcars.com/ [lemonaidcars.com]

Mercedes isn't the most reliable car. It's not particularly good value for money unless all you care about is the fact that it's a Mercedes. Even in terms of status, Mercedes is slipping.

Toyota (makers of the Yaris), on the other hand, is fantastic for reliability. So, given the choice between a Smart and a Yaris, I would go for the Yaris. Unless gas gets to be a zillion bucks a gallon, the Yaris is a far better investment than the Smart or any hybrid that you want to name. The difference in the purchase cost between a hybrid or a Smart and a Yaris will never be made up by a savings in gas.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

Archimonde (668883) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534091)

bodywork easily for different designs
Dunno about US but here in EU if you change the design of your car you have to get new documents. Btw, those bodywork parts are not cheap in any case, and I haven't seen anyone actually changing the color of their car by buying new bodyparts. Probably the most expensive color change ever.

Secondly it's a Mercedes
Reliability-wise I would own a Toyota over a Mercedes any day of the year.

t can park in small spaces in cities which other cars can't.
Valid point though. Even though, Yaris isn't that much bigger than a Smart.

So what are the benefits of Yaris over Smart?

Much better gear changing.
More powerful engines.
Better handling.
Better safety. (5 star rating against 3, great difference)
Better acceleration, deceleration, greater top speed.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

e-scetic (1003976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533555)

Do yaris or scions have the same protective cage?

Scions and the Yaris DON'T get the same milage (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533583)

The Smart gets more than 40mpg; the most efficient Toyotas (in the US) get up to 36 (manual Yaris according to fueleconomy.gov).

If you want a Toyota comparable to the Smart, you're looking at an Aygo [wikipedia.org] , which is even smaller than a Yaris and not sold in the US.

By the way, about those Scions: although the first-gen xA and xB had the same 104hp, 1.5L engine as the Echo and Yaris, the new xB and xD will have larger ones and will probably get less mileage.

Re:Scions and the Yaris DON'T get the same milage (1)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533767)

The Smart gets more than 40mpg; the most efficient Toyotas (in the US) get up to 36 (manual Yaris according to fueleconomy.gov).

The most efficient Toyota would have to be the Prius which according the same site gets around 46 mpg [fueleconomy.gov]

Re:Scions and the Yaris DON'T get the same milage (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533795)

Yeah, I forgot to qualify my statement with "non-hybrid." Also, I should have checked fueleconomy.gov more thoroughly: strangely enough, the Corolla actually gets up to 37mpg, edging out the Yaris even though it's a bigger car.

But it doesn't really matter, because the Prius (or any other current Toyota hybrid) is obviously not in the same size class as the Smart Fortwo.

Re:Scions and the Yaris DON'T get the same milage (1)

ls -la (937805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533831)

the most efficient Toyotas (in the US) get up to 36 (manual Yaris according to fueleconomy.gov).
Might as well get a Honda then. My combustion-only Civic gets 30/35. You sure you looked at the hybrids and not combustion only?

Re:Scions and the Yaris DON'T get the same milage (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533891)

I meant non-hybrid only, although I didn't say it, as I was only talking about cars of a similar size to the Smart (and Toyota doesn't make any hybrids that small).

Of course, you aren't kidding about Hondas: why would anybody be impressed by the Smart car when they could have gotten a 70mpg Insight any time in the past 8 years?!

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (2, Informative)

Bluefirebird (649667) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533611)

Simply because it is cool! The Smart is the equivalent of the MAC.
It is mostly used by young people that creativity related careers like architects and designers. It is also quite common as a company car for innovative dynamic companies.

Besides, you can park perpendicularly in a street that only allows parallel parking.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533691)

Besides, you can park perpendicularly in a street that only allows parallel parking.

You say that as if it's somehow difficult to parallel park any of the other cheaper small cars in the US (e.g. Hyundai Accent, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, etc.).

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533829)

No kidding. I swear, parallel parking is like a lost art in some cities.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533897)

The Smart is the equivalent of the MAC. It is mostly used by young people that creativity related careers like architects and designers. It is also quite common as a company car for innovative dynamic companies.


That might be the stupidest statement I've ever read at Slashdot, and I browse at -1.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533971)

I've seen them used by pizza delivery businesses (not exactly innovative or dynamic), I suppose the easier parking does help with that too.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533721)

You can park it sideways in a parking space, for one, so no more parallel parking. :)

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533857)

Because it's beautiful, and they are different things.
A Yaris is not a beautiful car, and a Smart is.
Buying a car is not about saving mney in gas, if that was the issue, the only sane way to buy cars would be following a TCO study of each model, because the price of the car is an issue in fuel economy.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533871)

Luxury, I'd guess (must have something to do with being related to Mercedes).

According to a coworker who bought a Smart for his wife (I'm living in Europe so we've already seen them around for some years), a Yaris and similar are sardine cans compared to a Smart.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (2, Interesting)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533943)

You've obviously never seen what happens to a Yaris when it t-bones a Volvo XC90 at 45mph. Just happened here in town yesterday, scared the heck out of me. The Volvo had some bent metal, and the driver walked away. The Yaris was scattered across the intersection, and the driver was pulled out on a stretcher and taken to a hospital by helicopter.

The Smart car has Mercedes engineering behind it, and crashworthiness is superior to anything put out from Toyota.

Re:Rather get one of the scion models or even a ya (1)

LoneGNUman (882696) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534011)

Good gas mileage - What is the price of diesel in your area?

In 2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533531)

I've seen them driving around Seattle for quite a while now.... Imports maybe?

Re:In 2008? (1)

leerpm (570963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533587)

They've been around here in Canada for at least a year or more. Could have been someone from BC down to Seattle for the day.

Re:In 2008? (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533697)

I see one on Marine Drive in Tulalip, WA about everyday. Washington plates on it.

Re:In 2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533893)

I've heard that a lot of people come up to Canada to buy them, and that importing them personally isn't illegal - it is just that the dealerships aren't allowed to import them for sale yet. So the ones you see daily in the states were probably purchased in Canada.

Re:In 2008? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533685)

They sell them down here. I know of at least one dealer, I-5 Motors in Fife (just north of Tacoma), who has them on display and for sale. I see them driving around in the Seattle/Tacoma area all the time.

Re:In 2008? (1)

Big Jason (1556) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533821)

I was in Weatherford, Texas recently and noticed a dealership exclusively devoted to selling Smart Cars. Their website [whatasmartcar.com] suggests they are modified imports.

Forget smart cars... (1, Offtopic)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533547)

We need smart drivers. My Dad told me a story this afternoon about a woman who bought an RV, drove it on the highway, set the cruise control, went back to make breafast, and, of course, the RV crashed. The woman sued the RV maker for not explicitly stating in the manual that she needed to be behind the wheel when on cruise control and won a million bucks. Whatever happen to common sense?

Re:Forget smart cars... (4, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533597)

My Dad told me a story this afternoon

(John Stewart voice) Gooo on...

about a woman who bought an RV, drove it on the highway, set the cruise control, went back to make breafast, and, of course, the RV crashed.

Yeah, stupid people are funny.

The woman sued the RV maker for not explicitly stating in the manual that she needed to be behind the wheel when on cruise control and won a million bucks.

Of course she did! The system is out of control, I tells ya.

Did you ever consider that your father might be telling you an urban myth?

Read Snopes lately? (2, Informative)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533613)

I guess when it's your parents who tell you these whoppers, you wouldn't bother to check up on this urban legend with Snopes [snopes.com] . You can take some consolation in the fact that Snopes points out that false rumors of this variety have been circulating since the late 1970's.

We need smart posters... (-1, Redundant)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533623)


My Dad told me a story this afternoon about a woman who bought an RV, drove it on the highway, set the cruise control, went back to make breafast, and, of course, the RV crashed.

Or at least ones who don't believe every story dad tells them. There's no evidence to suggest any of this story is true, and every reason to believe it's flat out untrue.
http://www.snopes.com/autos/techno/cruise.asp [snopes.com]

Re:Forget smart cars... (0, Redundant)

Red Samurai (893134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533645)

What we really need is smart posters. That little story is fake, and your post is off-topic.

Re:Forget smart cars... (0, Redundant)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533647)

Your Dad needs Snopes [snopes.com] .

Common sense includes not believing everything you hear!

-Peter

Re:Forget smart cars... (0, Redundant)

RustNeverSleeps (846857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533655)

Of course, that's not a true story [snopes.com] .

Re:Forget smart cars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533659)

With all due respect to your Dad, that's an Urban Legend. Send him the link to snopes.

Re:Forget smart cars... (4, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533705)

We need smart drivers.
And in Europe we really need smart Smart drivers. Having lived in a few European countries -- especially in Switzerland and Germany where the Smart is popular -- one thing is noticeable about most drivers of the Smart... they are all psychotic!

I can only assume that the extremely small size of the Smart leads to an attempt to overcompensate. Most Smarts are driven as fast as the can go, whenever possible (which isn't very fast, but far faster than safe for the size of car). They will cut you up at junctions, they will race you, they park in a manner that is often extremely selfish.

It seems that in Europe, only total dicks buy the Smart.

Re:Forget smart cars... (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534033)

one thing is noticeable about most drivers of the Smart... they are all psychotic!

Hmm... In Canada it's Volkswagen drivers that invariably, and yes I mean always, ride your bumper, cut you off, and come flying at pedestrians as if there is a God given right that nothing on Earth shall impede their right to Fahrvergnügen.

VW people scare me more than taxi drivers.

Re:Forget smart cars... (2, Funny)

xs650 (741277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534101)

In the US the total Dicks drive big SUVs and 4wd pickup trucks that are never driven off pavement.

We need to get them to convert to Smarts.

$14,000 too high? (2, Informative)

Bluecobra (906623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533549)

While I am all for more small and fuel efficient cars here, a $14K price tag seems like a bit too much. Why would someone spend that much on a car when they can get 4 door Toyota Corolla for around the same price with the same fuel efficiency? I would think that the $10K range would be more reasonable.

Re:$14,000 too high? (3, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533639)

Why would anyone buy any new car at all? They're all over priced and instantly loose a considerable chunk of their "value" the moment you drive them off of the lot.

re: Why buy a NEW car at all? (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533973)

I used to think the same thing, but guess what? I'm driving a brand new Mitsubishi Eclipse right now. The argument that they "immediately lose a bunch of resale value, the minute you drive them off the lot" is technically correct. But realistically, it doesn't mean as much as people pretend it does. In reality, MOST people buying a new car plan on keeping it for a while. The initial loss in value only affects someone who makes a poor purchasing decision and tries to trade the almost new car back in after only a few months through maybe the first year or two of ownership.

Meanwhile, loans on new vehicles tend to have much better interest rates than loans on used vehicles, so you're not giving as much of your money away to some bank as you pay off your car....

My new car also included such "bonuses" as free roadside assistance during the warranty period. Used car owners generally don't receive benefits like this, and have to pay for a "motor club" membership like AAA to get the same thing.

The warranty itself can be a factor, too. You may or may not get one with your used car purchase, depending on its mileage and all. But it could easily "make or break" the overall "value" of your purchase if something major like a transmission fails 2 or 3 years into the vehicle ownership.

Ultimately, for me, the assurance that my new car doesn't have some worn out part just waiting to fail and greatly inconvenience me when I need my car the most is the *best* reason for buying new. I only own one vehicle, and I count on it daily. If I'm supposed to go to a customer site and can't make it because my car breaks down, that costs me income from both ends at once on a used car that's not in warranty. (Loss of income on a job I can't do, AND loss of income paying for a car repair.) Generally, the dealership will even give me a free rental car while repairing mine under warranty - which they'd never do on used car repairs.

Re: Why buy a NEW car at all? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534133)

It's not so much about the resale value, because you're right, most people won't resell it. But when you can save 20% by buying a car that's 2 years old, the odds of making that much up with things failing anytime soon are sufficiently low that it's usually a good deal. Sure, there's a tiny chance something will fail quickly, but personally the only cars I've known that needed bigtime repairs were several years old. If you think there's a good chance, maybe you should be buying a different car.

Being sexy worth the money (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533673)

Who in th world would consider a Corolla sexy?

Re:Being sexy worth the money (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533753)

For that matter, who in the world would consider a Smart car sexy?!

Now, if you were talking about the roadster or the Crossblade, you might have a point, we'd only be getting the ugly ones in the US anyway!

Re:$14,000 too high? (2, Informative)

SlashChick (544252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533713)

The Smart "pure" model starts out at "under $12,000" according to their site. Also, to test your theory, I went to toyota.com and configured a Corolla. Once I added in an automatic transmission and power windows/door locks (which is a $500 option on the Corolla!), my MSRP was $16,325. I would imagine that the Corolla will still be a more popular car -- but it's certainly not cheaper.

Bacause people think they are cool and hip... (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533717)

"Why would someone spend that much on a car when they can get 4 door Toyota Corolla for around the same price with the same fuel efficiency?"

Because people think they look cool and hip and fun. People buy cars as an expression of their personal taste as much as anything else, projecting an image, etc, not just on rational aspects like price/fuel efficiency. If that was the case we'd be following Henry Ford's line about having any car we want as long as it's black, we'd all be driving identical vehicles. Just go into a car showroom or auto shop and see how much money gets spent on accessories which do nothing but change the look of the same model cars.

Smart cars are purchased as much as a fashion statement as anything else in Europe, just as much as any other car.

In the UK the road tax on them is much lower than most cars because they have a smaller engine (0.7 litre), and they are pretty handy for urban parking as well :-)

Re:$14,000 too high? (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533759)

You have to parallel park a Corolla. You can just drive the Smart into an on-street parking space nose in, and the back end won't extend past the SUVs you're parked next to.

Re:$14,000 too high? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533947)

Does a Corolla come with standard ABS with braking assistance, ESP, and automatic transmission for that price?
I didn't think so.

Someone mentioned that they behave so well in the Canadian snow: that's the ESP at work.

Fortwo (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533563)

I dont think that means what Smart think it means in the US.

Coming January '08? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533565)

They've been selling these in Portland, Or for a couple months now.

Already quite popular north of the border (4, Interesting)

KeithH (15061) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533575)

These have already been in Canada for a year or so and judging by the number on the road, they've been selling well. I've spoken to a couple of owners and they love them. Apparently they cope well in the snow (not that we had much in Ottawa this past winter) so they should be perfectly viable in the northern States. Mind you there is something ludicrous-looking about them, especially when you see them next to the ubiquitous SUVs. People thought the same thing about the Morris Minor and the Mini Cooper 40+ years ago. Now, the Cooper is trendy!

Re:Already quite popular north of the border (1)

FreeKill (1020271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533901)

I was going to say the same thing. It's pretty rare that something hits Canada before it hits the US. I see these things everywhere in downtown Toronto. I think they're really popular.

Re:Already quite popular north of the border (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533911)

My GF said her parents drove from Vancouver down to the US in their Smart car, and it nearly caused accidents from people looking at it.

They sold theirs last year, since it didn't have enough leg room -- not good for some knees out there.

Now all we need to do (0, Troll)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533581)

is to ban SUVs. Even with a protective cage, I still don't think that a smart car could really withstand the impact of an SUV, esp. considering the SUV would probably drive right over it if the SUV was coming from behind. And given my experience with SUV drivers, more likely than not they are at fault for accidents.


SUVs are WMDs, lets ban them and we will save countless lives(of course those with small penises will be upset, but hey)

Re:Now all we need to do (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533657)

esp. considering the SUV would probably drive right over it if the SUV was coming from behind

No, an SUV would drive right over something like a Corvette. A Smart fortwo is way too tall (even awkwardly so) for that to happen. I've seen pickup trucks that are shorter!

Re:Now all we need to do (3, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533725)

Have you looked at the videos illustrating how safe they are? Or how about the one in the UK where they ran the thing against a wall head on. These things are incredibly safe!

Mercedes has safe cars. I know, I have seen a Mercedes roll on the German autobahn (the guy was doing about 170-190). His Mercedes end up upside down. The guy walked out without being hurt. Ok he was shaken, and he looked like, "I survived that?"

Re:Now all we need to do (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533907)


Have you looked at the videos illustrating how safe they are?

I saw a video of it smashing into another car, but not one smashing into an SUV (which is what we're talking about here)

  Or how about the one in the UK where they ran the thing against a wall head on.

Didn't see that one, but when you're smashing into a wall you only have to consider the mass of the vehicle you're riding in, not say the mass of an SUV that's 2-3 times heavier.

These things are incredibly safe!

Well, I'll believe that when I see comparisons of this thing hitting a typical SUV and a regular sized car hitting an SUV. I suspect the mass of an SUV is going to overwhelm the design of this tiny car. My understanding is that SUVs are far less common in the european countries where this thing is popular, so people might not have much concern about that.

Re:Now all we need to do (2, Informative)

spoop (952477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533995)

I wouldn't exactly call a Smart "safe," at least compared to larger cars. It might have a spiffy protective cage so that cabin doesn't deform in a crash and smoosh the occupants, but you can't argue with physics. And I'm not talking about mass and collisions with large SUVs. The tiny size means that when you hit something there is less time to decelerate since the distance between the front bumper and the passenger cabin is so small. This means that the force acting on the occupants in a crash is multiple times greater than in a normal sized car. It may be safe for a car its size, but compared to any run of the mill small car it's *NOT* safe.

About the Mercedes driver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534069)

I would've stopped by and shot him in the head. You know, just to give mother nature and Darwin a helping hand.

Re:Now all we need to do (1)

dugn (890551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533749)

Not that I'm saying a Smart car would survive being crushed by an SUV, this is an impressive video (correct paste this time): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s [youtube.com]

Ooooh, shiny! (0)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533629)

Wow, a new car! That's so totally amazing that someone would... sell a car. What will they think of next?

Re:Ooooh, shiny! (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533737)

RTFA, its not new. lolz

Re:Ooooh, shiny! (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533769)

How can that be so? If it's new to the US, then it must be new, and can't have existed anywhere else before. Didn't you know that the US is the only place that matters?

misleading? (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533637)

I see nowhere where it says Jan 2008

Maybe 2006? (1)

AlienBrain (664728) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534089)

Could be because they've been around here for a while now. Seen them at the dealer nearby and on the road occasionally for the last year or so.

Smart indeed (3, Funny)

joss (1346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533665)

You can stick it in the back of your truck for when you need to get somewhere
inaccessible by normal means - like closer to the mall entrance than a
regular parking spot.

positive crash tests? (1)

__NR_kill (1018116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533699)

The crash tests show that the driver would have not survived, or he/she would have survived with the legs being completely smashed, which guarantees a wheel chair or a bed for the rest of the life. However, this is a nice car to paint it with the logo of the local pizza delivery restaurant because it catches the eye with it's absurdly small size. and blonde girls will have an excuse to park it perpendicular and not sideways to the road as it will not stick out.

Re:positive crash tests? (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533791)

If you hit a concrete barrier at 70 mph in an SUV, the results are pretty much the same.

Re:positive crash tests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534067)

It was actually designed to be parked perpendicular to the road, so your blond knows far more about it than you. In that case two drivers of two Smart cars can utilise just one parking space - bingo, twice as many cars in your city bringing people with money to spend. Of course, this has worked perfectly in European cities where space is at somewhat of a premium, style is important, and cost is a secondary factor. In places like Australia where space is a non-issue, style means a new pair of flip-flops and the people like changing things as much as they like hot beer (yes, I am Australian, so I do know!), of course the authorities used it as a chance to ticket folks for parking illegally instead of rewarding them for reducing emissions and the congestion added to by pointlessly large vehicles.

Personally I'm all for the Smart but until Escalades, Yukons and the other super-sized-burger'n'fries "cars" in the US are kept off city streets I won't be using a Smart any time soon. I can see the jocks picking up a Smart car and walking it out of a space so they can park their mega-jumbo-Canyonero 2008 closer to the door of Best Buy right now. I can see them going "hey dude, did you feel a bump?" whilst tooling down Market St (SF) ogling summer girls and turning MTV up a bit louder (all these things distract one's attention). And I can really see fat jocks beating the shit out of people who drive them. Yes, Smart cars are great, but I think other than the Castro here in SF, America just isn't ready.

Re:positive crash tests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534099)

Here is the car crash test..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s [youtube.com]

2008? (1)

Sterculus (1116355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533743)

I've seen SMART cars on tractor trailers around Fife, south of Seattle. I think that Mercedes dealerships (or at least the one there) have been selling them.

This is soooo 2005 (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533745)

I've seen these cars in Europe a long time ago already... Nice to see the US catching up.

No. This is soooo pre-2000 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534179)

The car was introduced in 1997 and I first saw one in person in 1999.
I've been waiting for it to be on sale in the US ever since. But after 2 car purchases myself, it's still not available.
Man.. we're talking about 11 years here.

I thought this car was a joke... (0, Flamebait)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533773)

When I saw it in that awful Ashton Kutcher movie. Since then I've found it's a real car, and not a large rollerskate.

I can't imagine buying one of these things. It looks totally freakish, and with it's tiny size you're get about zero respect from other drivers on the highway. And the milage is ONLY 40 mpg? What the hell? My Metro gets at least 34 on the highway, sometimes upwards of 38, and it's got 4 doors, is fairly roomy, and isn't even a hybrid or anything special. Maybe if it got 100 mpg and gas prices were twice what they are now, but no way I'd ever buy one otherwise.

Re:I thought this car was a joke... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533885)

You drive a Metro and are making fun of any other vehicle on the planet? Balls.

Re:I thought this car was a joke... (2, Funny)

SaDan (81097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533935)

Welcome to the iPhone of the automotive world. Except it's already out in 36 other countries. :-)

Re:I thought this car was a joke... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533975)

I can't imagine buying one of these things. It looks totally freakish

Thanks, but yes, I do feel confortable with the size of my penis. ;-)


with it's tiny size you're get about zero respect from other drivers on the highway.

Who needs respect, when you can "merge" into the space between any two cars on the road, even ahead of a tailgater?


And the milage is ONLY 40 mpg? What the hell?

I'll give you that point... 40MPG really doesn't amount to anything special. For a car so tiny, I'd expect quite a lot better fuel efficiency. Oddly enough, the relevant Wiki lists them as getting 50MPG in Europe, so I have to wonder which number holds true.


I agree it looks ugly, but if they offer the TDI version in the US (69MPG! Of course, most state DOT/DMVs seem to have sticks up their asses regarding passenger diesels, so that will never happen), I'd buy one when my current car dies.

Re:I thought this car was a joke... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534017)


Who needs respect, when you can "merge" into the space between any two cars on the road, even ahead of a tailgater?

Sounds like a dangerous, idiotic thing to do that only pisses people off because you've engangerd their lives. Sorry, but respect IS important on the road, as it's a shared resource and thus cultural.

As far as looking freakish, people WILL judge you on the way your vehicle looks. I don't want to be the freak who drives the freak mobile.

I think they're available now in Portland (1)

sdpinpdx (66786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533775)

In the last couple of months I've seen a few new ForTwo's driving around the suburbs of Portland, including one in my neighborhood with a dealer plate on it.

And how is this better than my civic? (1)

mr_zonules (896518) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533837)

I have a 1992 Honda Civic VX. It was rated 45/55mpg at the time of purchase. The worst it actually gets is 38. That's in the winter, driver over mountain passes with lots of acceleration, with over 200K miles on the car. The best it got was about 60 (just over 635 miles with 10.5 gallons). This is a 15 year old car, with 15 year old technology. It would smash the crap out of these smart cars, and its probably faster, too. My parents drove one (we have 2) on their anniversary to Mt. Rainier, and some large boulders fell on it (an one rolled underneath). Neither one of them got a scratch. The civic is stronger, faster, bigger, bets better gas mileage, has double-wishbone suspension, and doesn't look stupid. The original price was about 22.5K after tax and licensing and all that in Feb. 1992 dollars. I don't see ANY advantages to this smart car over my civic, except for the parallel parking thing (which I don't parallel park much anyway). I especially don't see all the hype with this car.

It is good, however, that small cars are back in fashion. Hopefully this will put pressure on the US market to include great high-mpg cars that are already sold in the EU (the GM/Opel Astra diesel hybrid comes to mind; I think it gets about 110mpg).

-Z

Joint Venture between Mercedes-Benz and Swatch? (0)

saturndude (609090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533873)

<sarcasm>

So if I understand this correctly, we'll have the styling of a Mercedes, which many USians regard as unattractive, and the noisiness that Swatch watches were known for. Now all we need is the peeling paint job from the early years of the Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge Neon, and we've got a real winner!

<sarcasm -- it's just a joke, people!>

Re:Joint Venture between Mercedes-Benz and Swatch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534049)

Actually its not painted, its plastic body work so its v. difficult (impossible?) to scratch and definately impossible to have a peeling paint job.

</pedantic bastard>

I've driven one for a while (0)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533879)

It's a friggin 2-seat vacuum cleaner. Well, at least it wont fit *both* me, the wife and mother-in-law. 40 miles a gallon seems sweet (not gonna do the conversion to km/liter right now) but with a tank fitting no more than around 4 gallons of fuel you're *still* driving back and forth to the gas station all the time. Glad I never bought one.

Re:I've driven one for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534045)

The conversion can be found on the web, it's already been done for you.

The low-end engine drinks 1 l every 30 km (or 3.3 l/100km) and produces 88 g of CO2 per km, which I think is even better than what's advertized in the US. That engine maybe isn't available in the land of cheap gas.

Not for the Energy Conscious (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19533951)

The "SmartCar" is not a car for the energy and environment conscious population. While they get great fuel economy, they run on diesel fuel as opposed to gasoline. Diesel combustion engines release far more harmful byproducts into the atmosphere such as sulfur dioxide and other nasty stuff.

If you're looking at fuel efficiency for the sake of saving money, its great; but if you're looking at it for the sake of saving the environment, then either buy another, lobby for a gasoline version, or ride your bike.

Aikon-

p.s. This is at least the case in Canada; the situation could be different in other countries, and I really can't speak to that.

Your info is out of date. (5, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534157)

The amount of sulfur content in the exhaust is entirely dependent on how much is fuel - it can removed during refinement, it just costs a little more. Europe has had strict requirements about sulfur content for quite some time, and the US and Canada both passed laws last year to do the same [wikipedia.org] . As far as the other nasty stuff, catalytic converters and in-engine burn efficiency on diesels have improved to the point where that is really no longer a concern. The only downside that I know of is that some diesel vehicles still have problems getting started in very cold climates, and until the engine warms up may have higher particulate concentration? This might be a concern in canada - I haven't looked into it much myself as I live in the US SW.

Diesel is a great fuel for the economically minded as it is more energy efficient than gasoline, and can also supplemented with biodiesel to the extent it is available (which in turn is much much more efficient than ethanol).

Re:Not for the Energy Conscious (5, Interesting)

hbp4c (315334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534177)

You're right about diesels - in the 1970's and 80's that is. Modern diesels are far cleaner, and the US mandated low sulfur diesel this year for all 2007 and later cars.

BMW and Merc both have developed a european-spec diesel which if theoretically driven in the LA or DC areas where smog is a problem, the air going into the engine is dirtier than the air coming out of the exhaust. You're actually CLEANING the environment, just a little bit. The Mercedes engine passed the 2007 US diesel emissions standards as is, so is currently on sale here already. BMW will begin offering the diesel in their SUV models in 2008. All other manufactuers (including Volkswagen, the only other company that currently produces a small diesel for sedans) are currently refining their engines to meet the new US standards for low sulfer fuels.

In all seriousness, mile-for-mile, a modern diesel engine using low sulfur diself fuel is cleaner than a gasoline engine of the same displacement. Get over it.

we don't need smart cars ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19533989)

we need smart drivers and smarter officials

the biggest problem with roads is a lack of them

They're already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534001)

I live in the Tigard/Beaverton are of Oregon. I see these cars on the roady every couple of days and am aware of dozens of them and know several dealerships I can drive past and see them on the lot for sale. Anyone know the story of why it still keeps being said 'coming to the US in '08?

It's already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19534057)

I've seen a few driving around Portland, Oregon.

smart cars? (1)

scooviduvoctagon (801935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534093)

... sorry, but I think what we actually ) _need_ are smart DRIVERS.

Hell, the inflatable auto-pilot from Airplane had more skill than most of the morons on the roads these days.

montana has a a dealership for a few years (1)

k2enemy (555744) | more than 7 years ago | (#19534127)

montana (of all places) has had a dealer for a few years in bozeman.

http://www.ecoautoinc.com/smart.php [ecoautoinc.com]
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