"Smart" cars

Why can’t we get the 70MPG European diesel engine version?

Most of Europe has pretty lax emissions laws compared to the US, most of those diesel engines can not meet the EPA requirements.

Horrible POS, unrelaible and uncomfortable. And, they don’t even really get that good gas mileage. At least the Fiats are cute.

A spot is a spot. The Smart is about the same width as many subcompacts, so you have no better luck squeezing into a spot where there’s some huge SUV taking up more than a space. Sure they are shorter, but that doesn’t help when lot spaces are measured by width and street spaces are marked out. Legally, even if two Smart cars would fit lengthwise into a street spot, they would get ticketed anyway.

Yup, it’s all about the parking. I’ve got a friend who lives on the Balboa Peninsula who owns one and parking is a real bitch. I’d consider getting one if I lived there, San Francisco, or NYC.

I’m guessing you haven’t parked in San Francisco neighborhoods very often. Parking is not metered or marked, and it’s all about finding a space that your car will legally fit into without blocking any part of a driveway, hydrant or crosswalk, lest you return and find you’ve been towed.

More than once, heck, probably more than 100 times, I’ve wanted the ability to push some inconsiderate #%?&'s car a couple inches so mine would fit.

A Prius is not much more money, but gets better mileage and can carry about 2.5x the people and (I dunno) 3x the cargo (or the same mount of people and 10x the cargo*, ). Takes up more parking room though.
Brian

  • I can carry my 17+’ Kayak on my Prius, I don’t think that would work with a smart car

The US emissions regulations for diesels are different, but it’s hard to say they’re really “stricter” anymore. The issue is that a comparably-performing diesel engine is a fair bit more expensive than a gas engine and the car makers don’t think that American new car buyers are going to be interested in them with our low fuel prices.

I would agree with this. We had a couple on the used car line a couple of years back. Horrible cars IMHO.
OH, and before everyone goes ga-ga over 70MPG, remember two things

  1. That is Imperial gallons that are a fair bit bigger than the gallons us 'Mericans use.
  2. Europe does not use the same test cycle as the EPA, so any comparison is apples to oranges.

I drive a heavy full size sedan. With me driving and all the crap in the trunk, it’s probably over 4k. And it has a tall and wide profile so I don’t really feel other vehicles unless I get passed by a semi going way too fast.

Wasn’t there an issue, a few years back, where the diesel fuel itself wasn’t the same in North America vs Europe? So that an engine that was clean-burning in Europe would pollute more in N.A. ? There was talk of adapting the North American refineries, but of course there’s little incentive to invest in a refinery that will improve the fleet’s fuel efficiency…

ETA: Did a quick Google on that, apparently it’s the sulphur levels which were unregulated in North America 10 years ago. Regulations have apparently improved since then so that it may no longer be an issue.

Current Eurozone emissions laws let a diesel engine produce 0.18 grams of nitrogen oxides per kilometer, (Cite,), dropping to 0.08 grams per kilometer in 2014. California (the largest car market in the US plus a bunch of other states that follow CARB’s rules) only allows 0.2 grams of NOX per MILE, (curses on them for mixing standard and metric) which works out to 0.124 grams of NOX per km. Given that diesel are generally bad on Nox production, I would say that is a lot stricter.

It’s not that it’s stricter, it’s that it has a different goal. The primary aim of European emissions regulations is to reduce carbon dioxide production.

And the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons are slightly stricter in Europe and the particulates very much so. Like I said, they’re different. This is an issue not because the US’s standards are especially difficult to meet, but because they can’t just use an off the shelf international version of an engine/smog combo. Since they don’t think they can sell many of them, they don’t want to bother with the expense of creating a US-spec diesel version.

My mom’s 15-year-old Saturn station wagon gets better mileage than a Smart, was cheaper, and can carry four or five people, a dog, and some luggage. It seems to me that parking space is the only thing that the Smart has going for it, and it’s hard for me to accept that that’s worth the price and other incoveniences.

I’ve had a smart for 4 years next month. In Omaha. In the snow. Love it. I’ve driven it lots on all types of roads, but for the most part do 99.9% city driving since I live downtown. Would buy another one if I needed to, but will probably upgrade to a Boxster for the next car (I love the Porsches!)

My 2010 4 door Honda Insight hatchback gets better mileage than those little 2 passenger sardine tins.

2013 Smart Car: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymake/smart2013.shtml

2010 Honda Insight: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bymodel/2010_Honda_Insight.shtml

Or for that matter if you do mostly highway driving, a $20,000 Honda Civic gets 39MPG highway, and there is no hybrid system to worry about.

Hey what about the Fiat 500? I’m starting to see that almost as often as the Smart car.

I absolutely love my Scion XB. The square shape is actually the best thing about it, because it means that you can have a small car and still have plenty of room. I’m a big guy and I need my space. I don’t find Corollas or Priuses or even a Jeep Liberty to be very comfortable. I feel great in my Scion XB. I’ve also driven a Nissan Cube, which was okay but not as nice as my Scion.

The look has grown on me.

What about it? The 500 is an excellent small car, unlike the Fortwo. It’s also quite good looking, unlike the Fortwo.