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Old 02-01-2008, 03:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Article: Smart car scores hat trick in Canada - now cheapest new car available

From the Ottawa Citizen: Three times a winner - Made-over Smart ForTwo is Canada's smallest, cheapest, most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car

The smart in Canada has been marketed since day one as a "premium" small car - the starting price for the base model used to be about $17,000 CDN.

But with the change of the Canadian buck relative to the $USD, and the $2k federal efficiency rebate, you can now walk out the door ... I mean, drive off the lot ... with a base smart for a tiny bit less than a Chevy Aveo.

The final price of the made-in-France Smart is effectively $12,990, just enough to beat the Korean-built Chevy Aveo/Pontiac Wave twins, which have a list price of $12,995.

This new price point is a significant psychological barrier. The Smart has always been seen as frugal and green, but its high premium over other entry-level subcompacts from Korea and Japan has limited its acceptance.
The rest of the review is pretty standard fare - digs at the automated manual transmission, etc.

This bit made me chuckle though:

While 0-100 km/h acceleration times have improved [with the bigger gasoline engine], down to about 13 seconds, it does not seem that much faster. Then again, if you are buying a car for its gas mileage, would you care how fast you can go?
A mainstream publication asking the general public such a question? Sacrilege!

While a low price is desirable in any economy car, the 2008 Smart ForTwo impresses with its combination of its extremely low fuel consumption, low emissions footprint and compact size for urban use.
What I find most satisfying about the situation with the Aveo is that when the federal efficiency rebate program began, GM was asked if they were considering modifying the Aveo to improve its efficiency & get the car into rebate territory: "Nope."

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Project MPGiata! Mods for getting 50+ MPG from a 1990 Miata
Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
Mitsu mods: 70 MPG in my ecomodded, dirt cheap, 3-cylinder Mirage.
Ecodriving test: Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown

has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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