The picture above is the first time I can remember actually seeing a smart car in person. This photo was taken at a rest stop located somewhere in Montana on our way out to Seattle this year. As I stated then loud enough for the owners to hear. I just don’t get why anyone would own a smart car. Especially when there are better alternatives for the consumer to purchase that get better or equal gas mileage and you don’t have to compromise on space. Granted from a look at the smart car website it does look as if prices for this vehicle have come down since the last time I looked. But I still don’t feel you’re getting any major advantages for having to give up so much space compared to the other options.
On the smart car USA website I can’t seem to find an option for the diesel model. The vehicle above is a diesel. So if the car is running some type of biodiesel then it is in fact doing a bit more in regards to it’s impact on the environment. Looking at the model year 2009 technical specifications I can’t see any reason to buy this vehicle. With 33/41 MPG EPA 2008 your not getting much more gas mileage for the amount of space you’re giving up. In most cases I couldn’t put most of our monthly purchases in this vehicle. But I could purchase something like the Chevy Aveo which has a decent amount of space but a little less in regards to gas mileage. I’m sure you could even find some vehicles geared more towards eco-friendly at a slightly higher price with more person and cargo area as well.
While some argue that a smart car is a great vehicle for everyday travel and getting back and forth to work. I would argue that once again this is a shining example of what environmentally friendlier shouldn’t be. Not to mention the fact that this vehicle does nothing to move us away from petroleum based fuels. One of the major reasons most car buyers in the United States won’t consider purchasing a vehicle that is better for the world around them is because these consumers feel they will have to make compromises in how they do things day to day. This thought process is continually reinforced by vehicle manufacturers that insist on making mini cars. The majority of the car buying public in the US is not interested in purchasing a car such as the smart fortwo. However if you give those same consumers a midsize option that reduces their need for gasoline such as the Toyota Prius we have seen that a large number of the car buying public in the USA will in fact put their money down to make a purchase. Why? Because they don’t feel as if they are in fact having to make compromises to their current lifestyle and way of doing things.
Yes I’m more than aware that you wouldn’t have to make all that many changes in your daily routine if you owned a smart car. But as I stated above it would be hard for my household to fit our monthly groceries in that vehicle. We also wouldn’t be traveling long distance in a smart car either. Do to the fact that we can barely fit our luggage and cooler in our 2004 Chevrolet Aveo now. This doesn’t mean the smart car won’t travel long distance. You just won’t be able to fit to much more than two people and a very minimal amount of personal items. Looking at the license plate on the smart car pictured above I’d say this couple were definitely making a long distance trip. However you don’t see much packed in that small compartment behind the seats do you?
By now it’s obvious I’m not a fan of the smart car. It’s not an electric so there is no real benefit to having to compromise on space. Your average family definitely isn’t going to be able to put this vehicle to use. That being said the story related to the smart car above is worth telling.
During our trip to Seattle we pull into this Montana rest stop. I was actually excited to see a smart car in person for what I’m pretty sure is the first time. I’m definitely taking picture after picture of the vehicle all while criticizing the purchase. I had a fairly good idea that the couple seated a little ways away from me owned this car. Cheryl kept telling me to be quite and not make a scene. I kept say that I would state my opinion and I didn’t care who heard. I’m sure the owners had many good reasons for their purchase. One of them might have been trying to do the right thing for the environment. I’d tend to bet they were more worried about their pocket book though. As I was coming out of the restroom one of the owners was throwing some garbage away. Odd glances were exchanged but no words. The smart car story does not end there by a long shot.
Later that evening we are in hills of some national forest. It may have been in Idaho. Our Aveo is fully loaded and of course on it’s fourth year taking this Seattle journey. As we are slowly chugging up the hill along comes the smart car from the rest stop just zooming by. I’d tend to bet the driver was saying something along the lines of see my purchase wasn’t so bad after all. All the while laughing and maybe even giving a middle finger as they passed. It would have been interesting to have a live webcam in the passenger compartment of that vehicle at that moment. Of course we never caught up with that smart car and our paths never crossed again. With that in mind I can now hear all the smart car owners stating – see we aren’t so stupid after all. Personally I don’t think smart cars are the answer to the fuel resources problem. These type of vehicles just reinforce stereotypes and misconceptions. This gives car buyers who won’t consider doing the right thing an even bigger excuse to avoid making a better choice.
By the way. Just because Gene Simmons daughter Sophie owns one is no reason for the buying public to head out and buy their own smart.