Smarter Smarts: 2008 and Beyond

Smart_CO2_champ.jpg

For years, American tourists in Germany have gawked and photographed Smart Cars, which are as novel a sight for most as the castles, cathedrals and cobblestones. The question now is: can the two-seater become an everyday sight in American cities or on the American highways?

The first reviews of the 2008 Smart Car on American Roads are hitting the presses. Safety next to the monster trucks on American streets is being raised as a serious concern, and all Smart drivers will benefit from the consideration of American safety standards in addition to the already high standards of the Daimler group. One point which Americans deliberating a Smart fortwo should consider: the Smart cars hold their own on the German autobahns. The little car is a common sight, zipping around the "elephants on parade" (freight trucks) and ducking the giant Mercedes and Audis plowing down the left lane without an upper speed limit.Only a limited number of Smart fortwos will be offered in the USA, and Daimler is taking advance orders if you want to reserve yours. Although a lot of people can't justify a vehicle without a back seat, the Smart is the perfect choice for a second commuter car, ideal for the bachelor or bachelorette who can rely on friends with bigger cars at party time and for the empty nesters. Think about this for a minute: when the grandkids come to visit, you can rent a bigger car for the week with the money you saved on gas driving Smart.

The image at the top of this article is the Smart diesel, smart fortwo cdi. The Smart diesel will not be coming to America, which is a shame, because the smartfortwo cdi is a true CO2 champion with only 88 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometer (0.6 miles). According to the manufacturer's information, that makes it the lowest emitting mass produced car.

Another development is the smart micro hybrid drive (mhd), which claims to bring the fuel efficiency of the smart car in line with the Toyota Prius. However, this is not what you traditionally think of when you think hybrid drive; in fact, it is more of a "hybrid stop" than a "hybrid drive". The Smart mhd motor simply turns off when the brake is pressed at under 8 km/hr. As soon as the brake is released, the engine springs back to life. Net result: less fuel use.

For a fun look at Smart in the TreeHugger archives, check out: Halifax to Vancouver in a Smart or Smart Cars Doing Dumb Things.

Thanks to Kyle R., for the tip on the road reviews of Smart fortwo in the USA.
Via ::Car Connection

Tags: Germany

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