The Cool House: Smart Car comes to NY

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Smart Car comes to NY

I was driving through Huntington on Sunday when I saw my first American Smart car. The Smart fortwo (which I once read as Fort Wo until it dawned on me it was For Two. Yes I can be a little slow sometimes!) is available in three models, the Pure, the Passion, and the Passion Cabriolet, starting at $11,590. Billed as the answer to inner-city parking problems and rising fuel prices, I knew they were coming - we have two dealerships in the area so I'd seen the cute little dinky toys on the garage forecourts - but up until now I hadn't seen one on the road.
I have to say they look incongruous here. Maybe it's because the roads are so much wider than in Europe, or there are so many more SUVs and minivans, or the trucks are so huge but that Smartcar looked like a golf caddy that took a wrong turn at the 18th hole and found itself out on the highway.
Speaking of highways, I wouldn't take a Smartcar on an American interstate any more than I'd take a bicycle. Those bigger cars just wouldn't see you, not while the drivers are busy drinking coffee, applying make-up or reading the paper, which is what goes on here. A lot. I know this because we used to have have one of these and lots of just didn't see us.

I looked at buying a Smartcar when they were launched in Europe about 10 years ago. The local dealership was just up the road from my house and I was intrigued by the various models featured in the glass tower visible from the autoroute.

In the end though, the hype didn't measure up to reality. I couldn't park the thing any easier than I could the car I ended up buying, a Renault Twingo. The Twingo was also cheaper, had a similar gas mileage and was much roomier inside. (It was more a forfour than a fortwo) I also think it was better designed, resembling a cute baby carriage inside but a real car on the outside. The Smartcar? Stick a pole on it's back and it looks just like a fairground bumper car. But the Twingo isn't available here and the Smart fortwo is, so look for them on a street near you in the coming months.


Jean Martha said...

I want one!

I want one!

I want one!

I have a little toy model I bought in Europe. It's yellow and I drive it on my desk...

I want to drive one and flip the middle finger to the dorks who drive mini's.

modernemama said...

I want my Twingo back. Look he's smiling in the photo!