DaimlerChrysler's Smart Car to Go on Sale in the U.S.

Sales will start early next year, and bookings can be made on the Web now, according to this story. Prices will start below $12,000.

Check out the customized version that Swiss confectioner Lindt & Spruengli ordered for its Easter bunny promotion!

40 mpg really isn’t that good for that small of a car.

I’d be flattened if I tried to drive one of those around here!

It’s not that small. It’s almost 6 inches taller than the Mini Cooper.

It’s a 2 seater with limited cargo room. It’s small.

But those two seats are reasonably spacious. Which is more than can be said about some other ultra-compact cars.

Anyway, 40 mpg “in everyday driving” is pretty good, isn’t it? Is there a non-hybrid car sold in the US that does better?

There are many cars that get 40 mpg on the highway. Think 4 banger Japanese cars like the Camry and Civic. It depends on what exactly they mean by everyday driving, but it looks like any gas mileage advantage will be slight.

They are the cutest cars EVAH. I have to resist the urge to pet one when it’s parked right in front of me. Perfect little beasties for city driving. Parking is a laugh.

Hmph. That’d be the perfect car for me, seeing as how my telecommuting means the only other driving I do is to bring my daughter to day care. So it sucks that it doesn’t have a back seat. Not a family vehicle, it would seem.

The car looks like a M-B 190-a model that has been available in Brazil for the past 2 years. I’, surprised that the car doesn’t do better-my 1992 SATURN (manual 5 speed) got 42+ MPG on the highway, I thought it would be an exotic hybrid.

Of course it’s nothing new. It’s been sold in Europe since 1999.
They haven’t done official EPA mileage tests, but the 40mpg is an average, not just highway.

This article says the Smart got 40mpg average in real-world testing, and up to 50mpg on freeway trips.

Having driven the original Smart model since 1998 in my local car sharing club, I am somewhat apprehensive about the redesign making it longer. The new model doesn’t fit at right angles into a normal parallel parking spot anymore :frowning:

The ‘old’ Smart is pretty roomy for the two occupants - more so than four-seater small cars. When I was obese it was by a large margin the most comfortable smallish car for me to drive. Due to its short wheelbase it’s not a comfortable car to drive on bad roads. The first few software versions were apt to lead to fishtailing when driving on ice, but the current ESP is much better IMO. (This customization wasn’t really necessary).

I had a 1985 Chevy Sprint. It would get better than 50MPG on the highway and about 40MPG in town. It could seat 5 people. It seems this Smart Car hasn’t come very far.

Brewha, I keep think my wife’s 1989 Honda CRX two-seater was fun and got 55 mpg. BTW, it really got 55 mpg in actual use and ran to 200,000 miles without much maintenance. Honda never should have stopped making those little wonder cars.


Well, too bad they don’t make those anymore. If GM hadn’t stopped making fuel-efficient cars, maybe they’d be selling more cars…

Neither the 1985 Sprint nor the 1989 Civic would meet current crash and emissions standards. The Sprint had a 1.0L Suzuki engine that produced 48 hp (~35 kW), and Chevy claimed 60 MPG highway (FuelEconomy.com says 50 MPG combined). The turbo diesel Smart offered in Canada is 800 cc and generates 30 kW (~40 hp), and is rated at an average fuel economy of 3.4 L/km (about 55.8 US MPG; FuelEconomy.com is offered by the US Department of Energy, and so doesn’t include the Smart yet).

All this and still no mention of price. I just heard on the radio today that because this model is something of a rare commodity right now, it’s selling at an import dealer in Chicago for upwards of $25,000. My jaw hit the desk and nearly broke my keyboard. They’re not supposed to sell for much more than $12,000. The latest Kia and Hyundai subcompacts, amazingly, look ten times better than this used bedpan on wheels and cost just as much … if you’re not buying them at Tiffany’s & Co. Auto Boutique of Chicago, that is.

I’m just shocked at the progress the Korean manufacturers have made in both design and engineering and I never thought I’d see the day when they’d be making attractive cars. This thing is the opposite of attractive. If that’s not enough, there’s this Top Gear clip to help make a case for what a piece of junk it is. Even a Toyota Prius and a Perodua Kenari (a Malaysian washing machine on bicycle tires) can out-steer it, but that’s probably because it doesn’t actually steer once it hits 40mph. Yes, I know it’s the old model, and I don’t care … the whole idea of the car from design to execution is a joke and it’s gonna flop.

This makes it such a huge surprise that Chrysler is going south like a duck in winter. Daimler can’t get rid of them fast enough now that they’ve molested the product lines to the point of absurdity. The new Sebring is a bit of a design flop, the 300 is cool but a decidedly niche product, they’re cancelling the stillborn Crossfire roadster this summer, and they have no decent entry-level models except for these clown cars and the Dodge Caliber, neither of which has any mainstream appeal.

Any word on its ability to get through snow?

Amen to that. I had a 1990, and I could drive from Chicago to Minneapolis on under 10 gallons of gas. It was comfortable. It hauled an amazing amount of stuff. It ran like a dream, until someone forced me off the road. If Honda started making these again, I’d turn on my Saturn in a heartbeat.

It’s actually really really hard to find ANY decently constructed car in the US that gets much over about 33mpg on the freeway. I’ve been looking for the last 5 years.