What about this car is Smart, exactly?

I know, I know, it’s been a few days since you heard from me last. I’ve worked for the past six days and I’ve been busy, but we’re back! I kind of liked the review I did of my new Galaxy Tab, so I figured that I would continue along that vein for a while. The other day, while I was out collecting material to blog about, I happened to stop by a car dealership. There’s a story here.

My mother’s Hyundai needed to have a weatherstrip reapplied to it, so one morning, I woke at the crack of dawn to drive it over to Hyundai for her. While I waited, I walked through the local area, and happened by a car dealership (whose name I will withhold, because I have no sponsorship deals, *cough* *cough*). I wanted to sit in a Smart Car. Not drive it, per se, and I’ll explain why later, but just sit in it.

So I made my way into the dealership, walked around a little, metaphorically kicked a few tires, and then found my prey. This…little number…was black, and looked like it was smiling at me. (I can’t be the only one who thinks that the front end of cars look like smiles, can I?) I walked around the car, taking all of two seconds to do so, and sat inside. I should just say now that they’re absolutely adorable. They can even come with moo cow stripes, and faux wood vaneer paneling (if you should ever want that…). This will be the last time I say anything positive about the Smart Car. But look at this one!

We're going off-roading!


The inside of this car was…well, was it the inside? I don’t even know, really. It was so small that I could have been sitting on the outside and have felt equally as comfortable. It was a very luxurious “interior”, I will say that, but I could really only fit myself and perhaps a backpack on the seat next to me. The “trunk” could fit maybe a loaf of bread and four litres of milk, but I’d be deeply afraid of exceeding the car’s weight capacity if I dared but that much into it at once.

The controls were relatively intuitive, all of the levers were in the right place and the display was clear. Surprisingly, the blind spots in that car are quite large; I was shocked by this because, again, there isn’t really much of the car in the first place, so how could there be blind spots? The fuel economy is astounding, though, at roughly 36 miles to the gallon (or roughly 6.5 litres/100 kilometres). Wait, hang on. My mother’s 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe gets nearly that many miles to the gallon (32), and it is a much, much bigger car. Am I missing something here? I know that it’s a hybrid vehicle, but does that mean that you can just give up on fuel economy?

There was a specification sheet posted on the window, so I got out again and looked at that, though it wasn’t really much to call home about. On the upside, should the owner of a Smart Car want to replace their entire engine, it would be relatively cheap, because all they would need is the engine from the newest Singer sewing machine model. (I actually have a whole slough of jokes involving sewing machines, I might whip that out again.)

I toyed with the idea of test driving it, but then caught myself. For those of you who don’t know, Kamloops is built almost entirely on hills. If you want to go anywhere in this town, you have to go up a hill or down a hill, and frequently, many of these hills are also highways! So, some older cars, or cars with less power may have a little trouble here and there. I have no doubt in my mind that this car would be unable to do highway speed at all, let alone up a hill. Furthermore, Kamloops, like most of Canada that isn’t Vancouver, has a vicious winter. There can be several feet of snow, thick ice, blizzards, you name it. Some quick questions: does this car even have a heater, or is that too heavy? Do they make doll-sized snow tires, too? You’d probably want more weight in winter anyway, so what does one do? If you have a Smart Car and drive it in winter, let me know.

So now that I have inspected the “interior”, the power and specifications, I want to know more about what really matters, price. This car dealership wanted to sell me this car for $15,000. Sorry, how much? Is the metal in this car even worth that much? I could get a new Honda Fit or a Hyundai Veloster for that price! The cost of this car must have come exclusively from the doll-sized tires. I imagine that I could likely build a Smart Car myself with only the following parts: a Singer sewing machine for an engine, four wagon wheels for tires, an industrial sewing needle for a transmission, a milk jug for a gas tank, some assorted rubber pipes for the various tubes, and plexiglass for the windshield and windows. There you have a brand new Smart Car for less than $1000.

Maybe I’m being too hard on this poor little car, but really now. If all you’re going to claim is fuel economy, and you’ve almost lost that to a car nearly 6 years older than you, you really ought to work on your innovation. Especially for $15,000.

I promise I’ll post again tomorrow, I need to sleep now. Rant coming soon!



One thought on “What about this car is Smart, exactly?

  1. I agree with you completely…Smart generally refers to clever, genius, brilliant, or anything related to the above. I have had opportunity to drive one of these, and I must admit that I spent the entire time in fear. I believe that what I felt was something akin to how a deer feels in a field of cougars…that is, I felt like a very wide open target…My eyes were at the level of most cars’ hoods…not very comforting (mind you, I AM short waisted). Nevertheless, I felt vulnerable!

    So Smart or not, as the old saying goes, “Size DOES Matter”!!

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