Smart cars have been driving the streets of Europe for quite a while now, but when they first started to hit the United States in 2008, it elicited a lot of interest and also piles of questions. Those who seen this “highly-stylized” and to some…hilarious looking small car on the road and in parking lots, desired to know where the car arrived from and could it possibly be practical and safe?
This article answers a couple of the most common questions fielded about the smart car.
- What exactly is the smart car?
To start with, this tiny car is made to be a commuter car that is fun to drive and that gets good gas mileage. The smart for two is a very spacious two-seater hatchback with an extensive cargo area in the rear. Hilarious looking yes; but amazingly well-designed.
The smart car is designed out of a relationship between Mercedes Benz and the maker of Swatch watches in response the demand for a small European urban commuter car. The car was soon after adapted to American demands and mechanical requirements, as rising gas prices stirred more interest in fuel-efficient cars here in the U.S.
- Can such a tiny car turn out to be safe on U.S. roads with all the pickup trucks and sport utility cars?
The answer to this question is: “Yes, without doubt!” In actual fact, the smart car safety profile is a very positive one. The smart for two has a good number of safety features that are common on all 3 models marketed in the U.S. When Mercedes Benz created the American version of this car, their primary concern was safety.
From the Tridion Safety Cell, a kind of steel cage that surrounds driver and passenger, to a modern anti-lock braking system, everything in the smart is made to keep you safe on the highways, even in the event of a collision. The smart has obtained high safety ratings from independent safety testing authorities such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- What kind of mileage does the smart car get?
You would think about such a smallish car would obtain great gas mileage, right? In the end, is not that the point of down-sizing to such a small car? The smart car is rated at 41 MPG on the highway and 33 MPG in the city. While these figures are likely to be lower than expected, they are still a huge improvement over the mileage that your normal luxury car or SUV, pickup truck gets.
- Precisely how easy is it to drive a smart car?
In case you have heard that the smart car comes with something called a self-regulating (automated) manual transmission, you might be speculating how hard it is to drive. Is shifting involved? Have you considered a clutch? Here is the good news: Even though smarts do have the ability to shift gears manually, no clutch is required. It is truly as simple as pulling/pushing paddle levers on the steering wheel, or clicking the gear shift.
If even that is too much work for you, you can choose to let the smart car’s transmission take over. It will automatically shift gears up and down for you as you quicken and lessen the pace of on the road. Putting it into automatic mode is likely to make shifting a little bit sluggish nevertheless, so nearly all drivers go for the manual route.
- How can I buy a smart car of my own?
When people first started discovering smarts in the U.S. back in 2008, they were difficult to come by. There was an 18-month waiting list at the few smart car dealers that were open. As time goes by, though, increasingly more dealerships came on board and the manufacturing involved with the waiting list. Gas prices also dropped a bit, so that substantially eased the demand.
At this moment, there are somewhere around 70 dealerships across the USA. Virtually all states in the south, east, west coast and mid-west have at least one dealership. The rest of the west is a lot more sparingly covered. As an example, if you resided in a small city like Idaho, Boise, it’s possible you have to drive 5 hours to Salt Lake City to come across your closest smart car dealer.