A Smart Ride

OK, this isn’t ground breaking news or anything, but the new Smart cars are really cool. These are officially known as the “smart fourtwo”. Yes, the non-capitalization and combination of the words “four” and “two” are intentional. That is what some marketing person, no offense Maggie and Sarah, came up with for a name. Despite the odd phraseology of the name, these are awesome little cars. I only wish I could get one.
smart fourtwo

They are due to go on sale here in the U.S. in January of 2008 although they have been available elsewhere for years. Made by Mercedes in a totally automated factory in France, they are quite advanced pieces of machinery. They get upwards of 40 miles per gallon with their three cylinder engine, but manage to accelerate quite nicely. The automatic transmission can be switched into manual mode and then you can use the wheel mounted paddle shifters to pretend you are a race car driver. And believe it or not, they are very comfortable.

So, at prices of only about $12,000 why won’t I be getting one? Basically because of the size. And no, as a former owner of all things small, it is not because of safety or any such concerns. (As an aside, these cars are very safe with integrated roll cages and multiple air-bags.) No, basically I now have two large children and we must have a car that I can haul every with in case of emergency where our other car doesn’t work. Since there is not even the wish of a back seat in this, there is no way. Additionally the rear luggage area would be fine for groceries and such, but I don’t believe it would be up to snuff for much of the computer junk, and other crap, I drag around.

So, they are cute, drive well, economical, and downright inexpensive, but I can’t have one. When the time comes for me to get a new car, and it looks like it may be coming sooner than later, I will either have to shell out quite a bit more to go back to my MINIs or, more likely, I will find something a few years used that will suite. Hmmm….. maybe a gently used BMW 328is? That would be cool.

And for in order for you to know more about what I am up to, at the moment I am listening to When I Die (You Better Second Line) from the album “French Quarter Festival 20th Anniversary CD – offBeat Magazine” by Kermit Ruffins.