Smart Blog

July 14, 2008- Have I been gone that long?

Well, looks like I’ve taken a bit of time off. Actually, there was my week recovering from surgery, but still. OK, I’ve had about 40 people now stop and talk to me about the Smart. And I’ve had on of them put his name on a waiting list. And another was desperate for the sales material. And one guy in a Mangusta (when’s the last time you saw one of those that wasn’t made by Aurora?) slowed down--well yeah, I was doing 70 and he wasn’t--and gave me the thumbs up. How cool is that?

I had thought about driving the Smart like I drive my GTI for the month of June, but it proved unproductive. Most people that commute when I do have already slowed from 85 to 75, so my doing 70 doesn’t make me into a road boulder. And the extra effort to pull the 1800 lbs from 70 to 75 (from a 70hp engine) really makes mileage figure plummet. And I haven’t been able to figure out if it gets better mileage in automatic mode or in shifter mode. But it sure is more fun to drive in shifter mode...

The rear view mirror is starting to annoy me. It’s shaped like a triangle (pointing down), and because I’m tall, it obstructs my vision over the right fender just enough so I don’t know if anyone is there or not. I can probably get a new mirror. 

Here’s some missing mileage figures. The bold figures are totals. Gee, the price of gas has stopped climbing...



































May 16, 2008--I miss my cruise control

I’ve been consciously trying to keep my speed down. Usually I cruise at 75, but because this is an economy car, I’m cruising at 65. Or trying to. I find myself creeping towards 75 way too often, and the Smart doesn’t (yet) have cruise control. Hard to get a baseline economy figure if you’re constantly racing Mini Coopers down the interstate. Anyway...mileage figures (and notice how the price of gas rises so quickly):
















That’s about 44.6mpg right now. I’m hoping for better when the engine (70hp, by the way) gets bedded in.

We’ve had a couple of windy days recently, and the car did wander more than I’m comfortable with, but not enough to scare. And I’ve had about 24 people stop me to chat.

Last week I was at the dealer getting my LoJack installed. The (two) reps were too busy to handle all the walk-in traffic, so while I waited I chatted the tire-kickers up about the car and how cool I was finding it. I asked for a job. I’m an introvert by decision, but I can see myself doing this...

My GTI tends to hold interior heat very well. So well that the AC is on a lot in the summer. Not so the Smart. The first day I drove it to the office, I had the windows up and the AC off, and it stayed cool for almost an hour. No reason why, but it can only help with the mileage.

After I get my 65mph baseline, I’ll try driving it like I stole it...

May 9, 2008

I picked up my Smart fortwo today. Yellow with black. It’s going to be my commuter car (I work 75 miles from home). I’m retiring my 160,000mi 2001 GTI to weekends and for fun drives.

The Smart is not a tiny as you’d think. Yeah, it’s 8ft long and 5ft wide, but it’s also 5ft tall. Taller than a Nissan Sentra, a Toyota Camry, and a Ford Crown Vic. It’s the first car that I’ve driven that allows me to see through the front window of the SUV in front of me.

It’s also the first car I’ve driven that doesn’t require that I push the driver seat all the way back. I drive straight-arm style, and I’m 6ft3. Plenty of head room, too: at least 2 inches clearance.

Driving it takes some getting used to. Checking over my right shoulder when backing up is odd, because there’s nothing there. Really. You look over your shoulder and you’re looking out the rear window, and there’s no rear overhang. The car ends right there. Similarly, checking for cars that might be in the right-rear-quarter blind spot. Pretty much, if you don’t see it in the mirror, it ain’t there.

But I find that it’s very easy to get lost in someone else’s blind spot. This car is only 8ft long, and I have to be very aware that I need to pass that car quickly.

No problem with 18-wheelers either. The front end is a bit light,  but not scary light, and not lighter than some of the older cars I’ve driven. The 1liter engine has some decent pickup, too. I’m not a danger to myself or to others when I accelerate onto the highway. For a tall car, it corners remarkably well. There are a few corners that are on my daily routine that I take probably faster than they were designed to be taken, and where the GTI can negotiate them at 70mph, I’ve got the Smart up to 60. But I’m working on getting faster.

If you had the opportunity to take a test drive in a Smart about 8 months ago, in the European version, be advised that the Euro version had a 700cc turbo, which is considerably down on power to the US version’s normally aspirated version. That made me very happy...

No mileage figures yet. The tank is 8+ gallons, the sticker says 41mpg, but I was told that cars are loaded with 700lbs ballast for the test. Hmm, that would mean that two NFL linemen would have to be in the car...not likely, but possible.  I weigh 200lbs and am in the car alone almost all the time, so I expect closer to 50mpg. And gas here is $4.06/gal for 91 octane.

With tax, license, dealer prep, a LoJack system ($700)  and a 60/60,000 unlimited warranty ($1700), I wrote a check for $17,292.26 and took it home.

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