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Old 12-13-2010, 08:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How About a Smart?

Has anyone on here used a Smart as their daily driver? I was really interested in these vehicles because, for one, they just look different. Also, when I start my commute to school (95 mile round trip), I will be the only one in the car. I have also found that there are a lot of aftermarket parts for them (even though some are outrageously expensive). I was wondering what some people have gotten their Smarts to achieve.

I also have a hybrid question. If I decide to get a hybrid, I am split between the Civic Hybrid, the Insight (main choice), and the Prius. For those of you that drive them, how do you like them. Do you think they will be a adequate commuter car and is it enjoyable driving them? Do people pay attention to you on the road?

When I drive my wife's car, a 1987 Ford Escort, people basically ignore us. I really do not like that and her horn doesn't work. I realize I will have this problem in a Smart, but have any of you hybrid drivers noticed this? I have noticed that a lot of drivers disregard the hybrids as unimportant.

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Old 12-13-2010, 08:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi, Lacole. Besides the For 2, there are "normal" cars from the recent past that regularly get mileage in the same general class, and even have a back seat. Not to put you off on Smart if you happen to like them- just know that it isn`t the only option for getting good mileage from a strictly gasoline powered car.

People ignore you in the Escort? I`m not sure I understand. You mean that they tend to cut you off or get too close because they don`t see you? If that`s the case, I think that`s just life with a small car. If you use your imagination, you can come up with a few methods to stand out more, but other than bright paint, most wouldn`t be mileage friendly. Still might be worth it if you`re uncomfortable or feel that you`re frequently in more danger than necessary, though.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdesj View Post
Hi, Lacole. Besides the For 2, there are "normal" cars from the recent past that regularly get mileage in the same general class, and even have a back seat.
That list is pretty short IMO.

There's the Toyota iQ, Prius and Auris hybrids, and the Honda Insight and Civic hybrids.
Got any more that ?

Then there are some small gas-fueled cars that I don't think have made it to the US market.
Kia Picanto, anyone ?
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I meant Geos and the 90s lean burn Civics that seem to do so well, not cars unavailable in the US. The list might be a short as that, I don`t know for sure. I must admit you probably have more knowledge of what is and has been available here than I do. Anyway, the Smart might be a good fit for the OP, but it seems to me like quite a sacrifice for not so much gain if the buyer would otherwise be making use of that rear seat, so not for everyone.
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Also consider the VW TDIs ... certainly more noticeable, and fairly decent FE as well... especially the 2 door Golfs
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If your primary mode of travel is going to be HWY, and not city, consider vehicles that do well in those environments. The VW diesels will do really well. Hybrids will not be utilized in the HWY travel to their benefits. The primary reason they tend to get better FE hwy is a combination of gearing and smaller engines to boot. There are also some gasoline vehicles that have great FE without the downsides of Hybrids (a statement that I dont regret, although some will argue "what downsides?") All together, you need to figure out what you want the vehicle to do. If too small is not right, then look at compact/midsize, not micro or subcompact. So, what do you want this car to do?
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Smart if mostly a show-off car in a lot of countries, I would definitely not classify it as fuel-efficient means of transportation because it has only 2 seats, not much space if at all for luggage, fuel-consumption is quite high for such a small car (albeit in USA there's nothing much fuel-efficient wise to compare it with).

Here in CY for example, Smart is a hot toy for boys and girls , a lot of specially built BRABUS, etc.

I would like to get my hands on the turbo-diesel model if I would use it as a commuter but surely that's not available in the US.
Although I'd take the Audi A2 1.2 TDI any day or the more recent 1.2 TDI VW Polo BlueMotion...

You can probably find a 1gen Insight for the same price range of a used smart. That's definitely making a eco-statement.

Have a look here as well: Link
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm not a fan of the Smart because it requires premium fuel, which is a 7% extra cost item. That means a vehicle getting 33 mpg combined on regular gas will cost no more to fuel up than the 36 mpg Smart with its premium requirement.

I agree that all small cars get dissed more in comparison to larger cars. Bottom line, I'd buy a Prius. They're capable of 60 mpg at 60 mph, with proven reliability. Honda's hybrid battery issues give me no similar confidence in the Insight's reliability.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I guess I was thinking more along the lines of new vehicles, as you were mentioning the smart which is only a few years old in the USA. If that is the case, what about the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Cruze Eco, Dodge- um nevermind, Honda Fit or Civic, Toyota Corolla, Scion etc, Nissan sentra or versa, Subaru Impreza (EPA Hwy est is wrong, brand new getting 28-31 hwy per lady friends result, she is no eco modder), and any other car in this sizing. I imagine that you are looking for something reliable, having a pretty serious drive every day. Even if you buy a 1st gen hybrid, you will likely pay out some serious money. On ebay they are looking for $5k for 10 years old. As I teach my students, you need to set up a price limit, a needs list, a want list, and what you are willing to sacrifice on. If you set your boundaries before you start you will be successful in picking a vehicle that best fits you.

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