Oh darn, my post somehow crapped out, anyway...
I'm a future owner of a smart fortwo and have done at least 2 years of research of the smart inside and out, this information is 100% accurate.
- To start off the smart has some of the lowest insurance costs in all of the USA.
- Traction is very good in the snow (especially with snow tires.)
- It got some of the highest crash test ratings of all subcompacts
- It is owned by Daimler and Mercedes
- Some drivers with a feather of a foot can reach around 50mpg
- EPA Estimated 33/41 mpg
- Parks anywhere
- Great when gas prices are a killer
- Speed limited to 90mph
- 0-60 in about 12.8 seconds. The fastest recorded was by Motorweek at 12.2 seconds.
- USB 2.0 Upgrade makes the transmission shift faster and smoother.
- Tridion Safety Cell
- Exchangeable body panels that cost not even a fraction of the cost of traditional body parts
- ESP - Uses Bosch Stability Control systems to help keep you from losing control of your smart.
- Hill Start Assist - so you don't fly back when starting up a hill
- Roomy - It fits some of the biggest people (Shaq bought one)
- Luxury - cabrio model - pano roof - A/C - iPod compatible stereo with optional subs - on 08 and early 09 models had Automatic headlights and automatic wipers
- Halogen Headlights provide the path through the night
- Rear mounted engine - helps to provide better traction to the road. It also eliminates the need for the extra bulky parts required for a front engine. Also without a front engine, the front end of the vehicle could be as space saving as possible
- Side airbags - an add on to the already rigid NASCAR quality safety cell
- Turning radius of 27ft
- Uses synthetic oil
- Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV)
- low MSRP sticker price
- custom made for you or pick up an orphan
There are 4 US trims available, all current model 451 smart fortwo?
-The pure - $11,990 ? all the essentials, nothing else, not even AC
-The passion coupe - $13,990 ? the smart in its luxury form, options go on from a premium sound system with tweeters, mid-range, and a subwoofer to the comfort package with leather seating, seat heating, power steering, and fog lamps, panorama roof designed by Bayer Material Sciences is included.
-The passion cabriolet - $16,990 ? this smart comes with everything that the passion coupe can have but with a cabriolet roof. One touch and the roof will open like a sun roof. Another touch and it?ll move into a full convertible position. This can be done at any speed. To add on, you could remove the upper Tridion Cell bars to full the effect.
-The BRABUS coupe and cabriolet - $17,990-$20,990 ? BRABUS is just one of Mercedes Benz?s most famous modifiers. The US versions come with an upgraded exhaust system and suspension upgrades along with the BRABUS styling and body kits.
There are more models one could obtain in the USA by the ?grey market? These are:
-The smart city coupe ? this is the original smart fortwo, made for Europe and is imported to the USA by G&K. These come in very limited numbers and are actually shorter than the USA model.
-The smart roadster ? this is the fastest smart to come off the production line. These had a limited production of only 5,000 models. These were never imported to the USA and got here by other means (military, etc.). These are extremely rare to find in the states and as the numbers aren?t solid, there?s probably less than 50 of these roadsters in the USA, making it a very rare find. They don?t have an electronic limiter so they?re top speed is whatever your red line is in 6th gear. Stock red line is at 125mph.
As for safety the smart has received the highest ratings of all subcompacts. And the smart has received the IIHS highest rating of ?GOOD? overall.
In roof crush tests the smart beat the competition by a mile because roof crush is over 9,000 pounds. It earned "GOOD" in this test as well.
'The smart brand (spelled in lowercase by the manufacturer) is a combination of Swatch, Mercedes and ART. The Swatch company had the idea for removable body panels, but is no longer involved with the smart'. The smart brand continued this idea of low cost, high quality removable body panels to this day.
And because of this, the smart was the only car to pass the IIHS' 2.5 mph bumper test. The damage caused to the vehicle would have to cost less than $500.The smart's body panel totaled around $190. All others had failed because of their poorly designed and expensive bumpers.
The smart has received the overall ratings in these categories:
Some smart owners have already gotten into a crash with their smart and have shared their amazing stories which add to the smart's credibility. That site is here: www.safeandsmart.com
There's a video that had surfaced on the internet recently about how small cars fail at safety. In the video they had tested a Yaris, a Fit, and a smart. The Yaris and the Fit's passenger compartment had buckled under the force of their heavier counterparts and the Yaris driver's head even hit the other Toyota's hood. indicating serious head injury. The results of both cars indicated serious if not fatal injury to the driver.
In the smart's test the smart crumpled to the passenger compartment, rebounded, and spun off into the corner. Results indicated high possibiliy of broken legs and a possibility of head injury. The smart still scored higher than the competition and the driver would still most likely live, and the legs would heal.
There's another video from Fifth Gear and they smash a smart into a wall at 70mph. And then they test a four door compact at the same speed. Both cars did exceedingly well at keeping their shape.
Without even considering that the smart did about the same as a car larger than it is, people stuck to the conclusion that the car is a deathtrap.
Another is that the shear force of an accident would kill you in a smart because such car with little crumple zones would mean a higher deceleration rate. The smart compensates with this by not only dissipating force through the wheels but with seatbelt tensioners that act with just enough force to not dig into your neck.
Fifth Gear described all of the smart's safety systems that reduce those forces on your body. Crash testing reveals that the seatbelts limit the force on the body and makes it feel as if the car didn't stop as rapidly. Some other conventional cars don't do that.
And about injuries? Quote on quote from that video: "The cars may have stood up to the severity of the crash surprisingly well but the humans inside, wouldn't".
Here's the video.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU?
So yes, the smart is just as safe as some larger cars. No it is not a deathtrap and you cannot use a 70mph crash as an excuse because the car's opponent did just as bad.
The smart plant in Hambach, France opened its doors in 1998 rolling the first city coupe off the line. But smart?s roots go all the way back to around 1996 when ideas were rolling and the first ?smarts? were on the road.
Additionally, according to Gizmag, the smart brand is the 5th "most reliable" car brand available in the USA. And this is just after only 11 years after smart opened its doors.
Here's how the smart compares to other fuel sippers:
Through long term testing, the little smart has proven to cost less in the long run than any other full petrol powered vehicle.
Here are my equations for how much I'm saving with a smart compared to a Yaris and a Prius:
smart fortwo: 41mpg after break in (EPA estimate for highway) equates to a 357mi range on one 8.7 gallon tank. At current local gas prices ($2.70 Premium) the smart gets that 357mi with only $23. Not bad, weekly lunch costs more than that.
Okay now to a Prius, estimating 48mpg (EPA estimate for highway) after break in and with an 11.9 gallon tank this equates to a range of 571mi. And with gas ($2.50 Unleaded) it would cost $30. Not bad either, for ten more bucks you could go 200 more miles.
Now to the Yaris, estimating 36mpg after break in (EPA estimate for highway) and with its 11.1 gallon tank it has a range of 399mi but it requires extra gallons to reach that and with the gas ($2.50 Unleaded) it will take $28 to fill up a Yaris.
Here are the standings:
Prius - $30 - 571mi - 48mpg
Yaris - $28 - 399mi - 36mpg
smart - $23 - 357mi - 41mpg
-Now let?s consider buying price and later purchases (batteries):
-smart fortwo pure - (automated manual transmission) $11,990 - no A/C - no power accessories (excluding locking), no radio. side airbags included
-Yaris - (manual transmission) $12,205 - CD player standard, A/C, side airbags NOT included but are "optional" (receives "POOR" for side impact safety without it (08? models only))
-Prius - (automatic) $22,000 - CD player standard, Eco A/C, side airbags included
-smart fortwo cabriolet (convertible) - (automated manual) $20,000 - Navigation with Bluetooth and iPod control, leather seating/heating, fog lamps, security system with immobilizer, power steering. Etc...
-Yaris (2 dr coupe) - (automatic) $22,157 - iPod compatible stereo, power upgrades, style upgrades, safety upgrades, security system.
-Prius - (automatic) $35,173 - eco friendly materials, navigation, remote start, solar panel cooling.
-Prius battery change - every 100,000-200,000 miles/ 8 years at a price of $2,500.
Yearly costs (if driven 1,000mi a month):
Prius - $612 @ 1.7 fill ups a month @ $30 a fill up @ $2.50gal
smart - $773 @ 2.8 fill ups a month @ $23 a fill up @ 2.70gal
Yaris - $843 @ 2.51 fill ups a month @ $28 a fill up @ $2.50gal
With those $194 gas savings it'll take a Prius 94 years to offset the cost of a smart. And that does not include the 100,000-200,000mi/ 8 year battery change.
Parts cost of the smart: (these high strength body panels awarded the smart "GOOD" for bumper crush resistance tests)(this is if your insurance company does not pay, out of pocket etc.):
$190 for single body part
$1,000 for whole new body replacement (including installation)
Parts cost on "traditional" cars (Prius, Yaris, F-150):
$1,000 - $2,000+ for single part
$8,000+ for full body replacement
Parts cost of the Prius (3rd gen)
Body is painted with a paint that releases oxygen
$3,000+ for single part
$10,000+ for full body replacement
So overall, the smart is the cheaper car. It does offer a bit less performance and 2 less seats than other cars but the payoff is great. The combination of safety and design makes the smart a revolutionary car. And driving it does nothing but put a big smile on your face.
Maintenance is so easy a toddler could do the basics, your smartcenter would do oil changes and scheduled maintenance for a small fee of about $120 as compared to $300+ that other companies offer.
Although you can just do your own maintenance if you know how, and online manuals would show the simplest ways.
Say if your dealer screws up and you're unhappy, you could call the President of smartUSA and talk to him and not a person in an outsourced country! And he'll set any issues straight.
So if you want more bang for the buck (and more fun!) I highly recommend the smart car.
To find out more, please go to my sources: