With gas prices comfortably past the $3.00 mark in most
regions of the United States, many drivers and auto manufacturers are looking
for ways to consume less gas. Drivers are looking to cut down on unnecessary
trips and turning their attention to more fuel efficient offerings when it
comes time to purchase a new vehicle.
Auto manufacturers -- for their part -- are trying to
accommodate the eco-conscious consumers with efficient
gasoline engines, turbo-diesel
engines, and a vast
array of hybrids.
The Smart Fortwo, however, doesn't use expensive
turbo-diesel engines or a hybrid powertrain to achieve its fuel economy
numbers. Instead, its diminutive dimensions, extremely light curb weight (1,804
lbs), and tiny 1.0-liter (70 HP) engine allow it to return fuel economy numbers
of 33 MPG city/40 MPG highway.
The similarly-priced Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris achieve
ratings of 28/34 and 29/36 respectively. Those vehicles, however, look like
giants compared to the Fortwo. The Smart Fortwo measures just 106.1" from
bumper to bumper -- to put this into perspective, the Fortwo would fit within
the wheelbase of a 2008 Toyota Camry. Likewise, the vehicle is only 61.3"
wide -- five inches narrower than a Mini Cooper.
The diminutive dimensions allow the Smart Fortwo to fit into
tight spaces that other seemingly "small" vehicles wouldn't dare
venture. Parking space too small? Just park head first up against the curb. The
Fortwo makes compact parking spaces at malls look like an exercise in excess.
The Smart Fortwo's small size and miserable performance
numbers (60 MPH is reached is achieved in a lethargic 14.1 seconds from a
standstill) hasn't stopped people from lining up to purchase the vehicle.
Penske Automotive Group (PAG), the U.S. importer for the Smart Fortwo, reports
that the vehicle has surpassed all
sales expectations. Over 15,000 Fortwos were originally projected to be sold in 2008, but Penske is now on track to receive 25,000 units this year -- all of which are spoken for. Penske says that he could sell 40,000 units if he had the supply.
Buyers are also loading up on options with the average buyer
dropping $1,600 on accessories for a vehicle that starts at $14,235 including
"This is not a customer who is buying a car because it
is cheap," said PAG CEO Roger Penske. "People are interested in its
urban friendliness and its fuel economy," he said. "It is the total
of what we offer."
Traditional hot beds for "quirky car" sales like
New York and Los Angeles have seen booming sales for the vehicle. Cities not
typically known for their hip car culture are also seeing lots of interest.
"In Pittsburgh and places like that, the dealers are dying for the
cars," added Penske.
Drivers used to driving "normal" family sedans or
SUVs may balk at the idea of a tiny "tin can" vehicle roaming the
streets, but it appears that many buyers are willing to put up with the
downsides in order to make a statement.
quote: But all else equal, occupants in a heavier car will survive more than occupants in a lighter car. No question.
quote: But if the current trend of SUVs gaining market share continues
quote: Main thing I'm getting out of your post is ignorance. Live in more than just one country and then you can open your mouth.
quote: In the end, it's for people to decide what they want to spend thier hard money on, not for someone to allow what they can buy. No need to live in any other country to know that.
quote: Money talks - wait till gas is over $4 per gallon, you'll see even more small cars on the roads.
quote: Ironically, RV sales are at the highest level in 28 years.
quote: Any rate, my point is that RV's are not inherently bad. Like any tool, it's what you do with it.
quote: I agree. This car is 33/40 and the Yaris is 29/36. Frankly I'd go with Yaris because its a 4 door car and doesn't look like this after a crash:http://images.dailytech.com/nimage/7688_large_smar...
quote: if brought over here and sold (expectedly well) all the US would have LA Smog within 2 years
quote: My sister's Aveo is too small for me, but it costs about the same and gets about 34 MPG, which is respectable especially head to head with the Smart car.
quote: I leave all my racing on the track
quote: beating up German cars on the highway .
quote: you can't even keep your story straight.
quote: On the straight line, everybody can put their feet on the gas pedal and yell "Hell yeah power!" and go faster than many other cars. Does that satisfy you?
quote: I'm not talking about smaller or nimble european cars are handling better. If you keep the size similar when comparing eauropean and american cars european cars still built better, handle better, use higher quality materials and have fewer reliability related problems in the long run.
quote: There are still new cars manufactured here in US with fixed axle rear suspension and leaf springs. How do you expect a car like this to handle on a corner and even consider it safe in a near crash scenario? It'll wobble like hell and possible spin and endanger everybody near itself.
quote: More info please???
quote: FIT you just said you drive a Cobalt SS. My 4cyl '06 Accord can blow the doors off that POS as well as hold a tight corner at 50mph+. And, just to rub it in, I average 31mpg if I stay below 75mph on the interstate.
quote: The only real difference here is the weight.
quote: Congrats on your success.
quote: Regardless, I really don't care. Neither car is fast.
quote: And don't even make me start that all American cars do not have proper handling capabilities like European cars do; they cannot go around corners, they are built extremely cheap, workmanship and quality of interior materials sucks and they have a tendency to start having serious problems after 40,000 miles.
quote: I'm not one for big cars. Don't have much need. Course at the same time, neither do many Americans.
quote: The current-production "HEMI" combustion chamber is not truly hemispherical; it is flatter and more complex than the 1950s-'70s Hemi V8 chamber.
quote: Returning for its fifth consecutive 10 Best Engines win, the Hemi’s intrinsic goodness and legitimate effort to improve efficiency transcend this year’s fuel-price scare, in the minds of the competition’s judges.
quote: I'm aware the Focus replaced the Escort, but when's the last time you heard someone complain about their Escort's dependability?
quote: owhere near the standards of handling and performance of a BMW/Merc/Audi and even a Volvo or a SAAB is better made.
quote: So remember, when making an argument compare like for like.
quote: It's based on the same previous generation Mercedes EClass chassis (dubbed LX),
quote: London cops have them from Mercedes for testing and they drive like scooters! 0-60mph in about 7 seconds.
quote: Unfortunately they will not be sold in the US, too much high-tech for average US consumers. Too expensive when compared to the ususal GM or Oldsmobile.
quote: looks like a great thing for a place like New York, or maybe some small planned communities.
quote: Americans "don't want" electric cars (according to the oil and auto industry) but people are lining up for anything with high mileage.
quote: It's a cool little grocery-getter for the trendy soccer moms out there with more money than sense, sure, but it's really not a practical vehicle for the majority of the population, IMHO.
quote: Given the diminutive dimensions of the ForTwo, I wouldn't go shopping for groceries in it for any family larger than two.
quote: Drivers used to driving "normal" family sedans or SUVs may balk at the idea of a tiny "tin can" vehicle roaming the streets, but it appears that many buyers are willing to put up with the downsides in order to make a statement.
quote: "This is not a customer who is buying a car because it is cheap," said PAG CEO Roger Penske. "People are interested in its urban friendliness and its fuel economy," he said. "It is the total of what we offer."
quote: perhaps soon i will see some smart ads on tv too ?
quote: The tour was so effective that the company's first two years' allotment is spoken for, reports Smart USA President David Schembri. Because of that, Smart will not engage in conventional advertising through the usual outlets, but will continue to engage in non-traditional brand-building activities, he said.
quote: oh ! so now at least big americans cowboys wake up and admit that a efficient little car is really smart ?
quote: and that the "vroom vroom i'm bigger than you" is overpass ?
quote: sorry but it is like this since decades in europe lol.
quote: perhaps soon i will see some smart ads on tv too ?
quote: Miatas and Solstices are a niche market just like the " smart car ".
quote: The Miata continually sells about 16k per year,
quote: Ok you must be european, because you obviously know nothing about American culture.
quote: but history shows that European has not been a trendsetter for the USA.
quote: You probably would on the BBC, but the fact is that the majority population of the USA is not interested in this car.