A smart car.


Andy Singer is a cartoonist. Andy singer hates cars. He really hates them. He has published a book of his anti-car cartoons aptly titled CARtoons. The book costs $10 and you can order it here. The book is published by Carbusters Press which is a project of the World Carfree Network. His stuff is really great and he makes a very compelling argument against the steel and plastic boxes so many Americans live by.

If someone had to have a car., a smart fortwo from smart USA would be a clever choice. Having been available in Europe for nearly a decade, the smart is finally coming to the USA. The smart fortwo will be available Q1 2008 but reservations can be made right now at smartusa.com for a refundable $99 deposit. For the US market, the smart fortwo will come in three flavors, all powered by a 71 hp 1.0 liter three-cylinder gasoline engine. The base model ‘Pure’ starts under $12,000 while the ‘well-equipped’ Passion starts just under $14,000 and there will even be a convertible model sold for $17,000.

Six Reasons why I think the smart fortwo is really great:

  1. This thing is tiny. Just to give you an idea of how hilariously small this car is, take note: two of these suckers can be parked end-to-end in a normal parking space. Three can be parked in a normal space if parked sideways, side by side! (Yes, they are that short. 8.8 feet short.)
  2. These things come standard with an electro-hydraulic clutch. This means the internal machinery is akin to a manual transmission, however to the driver the car behaves like an automatic transmission vehicle. This allows the fortwo to have the efficiency of a manual with the convenience and ease-of-use of an automatic. A few years ago, these transmissions were only available on Ferraris, BMWs, and Porches. There is no clutch pedal, as a computer automatically actuates the clutch hydraulically and shifts when appropriate. A manual mode is user-selectable and the Passion and Passion Cabrio models come with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel for use when in manual mode.
  3. Four airbags, ABS, and Stability Control are all standard.
  4. Power steering is a $450 option. (save $450 and build upper body strength)
  5. Manufactured by Mercedes, so quality of build and materials should be superb.
  6. An all-electric fortwo EV is being tested in the UK right now and may eventually be sold in the US.

As my parting gift to you, I leave you with some of my favorite photos of the fortwo.


photo: Godofgta42



If it’s good enough for Snoop, it’s good enough for me.

2 responses to “A smart car.

  1. Love these things. I fell in love with them when I visited London in ’03.

    My concern is that American motoring habits are too entrenched with the frontier mythos and burden of masculinity that goes along with it. To embrace smart cars would be a serious social and cultural hurdle for most of the populace I think.

  2. Smart cars have become a common sight here in the UK and lots of companies use them as travelling sign written company cars. A few people have bought the larger sportier version too and now there’s an LPG and soon an electric version (though the G-Whizz electric car is popular in London). I know detractors are always looking for the large wind up key on the top but I’m always getting passed by one zipping along the motorway. A real object of desire and very practical in our overcrowded island.

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