In the past I have written about how I feel Smart Cars don’t really live up to their name. Some readers have taken this to mean I dislike the car. While I don’t hate Smart cars I do feel that some people who drive them might be misinformed or hypocritical. My original Smart article pointed out that this vehicle isn’t the gas saver many customers may think it is. I also pointed out that a purchase shouldn’t be based upon celebrity marketing. Many consumers bought the Toyota Prius because of marketing alone. I’d venture a guess that many of these people didn’t look at other options. Granted these are limited in regards to high gas mileage or alternative power sources. Even today there are more announcements of super fuel efficient vehicles than actual production models on the roads.
What I tried to point out previously is that if you are buying a Smart Car with the intention of getting better gas mileage you might not be spending your money on the best car for that. Especially when you take into account what you have to give up as a Smart Car owner. When comparing price with miles per gallon there are many large cars that come close to or match what the Smart offers. So my opinion stands firm that if you are looking at value for money the Smart may not be the best selection of vehicle. If the conversation was about the Smart Electric which may finally start to be sold to customers in the United States my thoughts would be different.
Although the Smart Electric will have it’s own negatives. These are shared by many of their competitors in the all electric market. But the value for money does go up a bit when we start talking about an electric vehicle. But again we would have to come back to value for money. If the Smart Electric holds to it’s release schedule. The car may reach consumers at a time when much of the competition is suppose to release their electric cars. Many of these vehicles will have similar range but a larger size for a comparable sticker price. So we are back to how much value are you getting for your money?
Why would I purchase a smaller car when a larger one is available that offers the same or close to Smart gas mileage for a similar amount of money? That just doesn’t make sense. Unless you’re just wanting a small car to zip in out of traffic. The Smart owner with the convertible I photographed locally was doing just that. Driving like a mad man through traffic. This is what sold many consumers on the Mini Cooper. It’s a cute small car that zooms through congestion. There is no arguing that Smart owners might suffer from the same syndrome.
It should be noted that Smart Cars are manufactured in a more environmentally kind way. Or at least this is how the company markets the vehicle. The manufacturer also states that the vehicle is an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle do to how the exhaust is designed. So at least in theory less toxic crap should be coming out of the tailpipe of a Smart Car. This may be one of the few saving graces of this vehicle. With each passing day and new car announcement this slight marketing advantage is dwindling.
I think someone recently stated you drive your car I’ll drive mine. This is exactly why we are in the mess we face now. Everyone is driving their big gas guzzling automobiles without a care in the world. Even if you don’t care about environmental effects. It’s just common sense that relying on a finite resource that is supplied by other countries is just plain stupid. This also makes our country less independent. Some might argue that the Smart at least reduces gasoline usage while releasing less toxins. What I would say is the Smart is just reinforcing stereotypes and giving ammunition to those who say you have to drive go-karts / golf carts to be green. This makes the job of creating positive change even harder.
When buying a gasoline Smart or diesel with no plans of running biodiesel in affect this is defeating the cause you may feel you are supporting. Not to mention the fact that for the money you spent less of a car has been purchased. I know Smart owners will say you don’t have to give up much. The man who owns the local Electric Comuta-Car states the same. But you do give up a lot in regards to space and how many passengers you take along for the ride. Which brings up another key consideration. Isn’t conservation a process in which we use our resources wisely? Is it not better usage of fuel when that material is transporting as many people as possible?
I’m more than aware that many Smart owners have wanted an electric version for years. While I’ve never come across anyone who runs biodiesel in their Smart. I’d venture a guess that some owners do run their Smart diesels using this fuel. So in some small way these people are trying to lead by example. I just feel there are better values for your money that still support the same principles. As I said above it also hurts the cause of fuel efficient alternative vehicles when the general public feels you have to compromise and drive a micro car. Years ago this may have been true but it is becoming less and less. Smart cars however just reinforce the negative concept.
I’ve not come across any local auto dealers selling Smart Cars. But I’m seeing more and more of them driving in our area. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get a picture of each vehicle. So there are many people who don’t agree with me in regards to other cars giving you more for your money. I’m not sure how this can be if they really did research before making their purchase. In the past I’ve seen some reviews state there are handling issues with these vehicles as well. I think I remember reading something in regards to shifting and braking. I’ll look to see if I can find that information and link it here.